Students, senior citizens work together on projects throughout year

Students from Fairview Elementary School recently visited the Plymouth Care Center to make

a Thanksgiving project with residents, part of a year-long relationship between the youngsters and the seniors.

Each year, for the past dozen or so years, a resident of the Plymouth Care Center is paired with a firstgrader from Donna Rabe’s class and a third-grader from Mary Vanderkin’s class.

“Many of the first-graders are then in my class for the third grade, so they get to do it all over again,” Vanderkin said.

Students prepare for the visits by reading books so that they are not afraid of the wheelchairs, hearing aids and other items residents may use.

The students walk to Plymouth Care Center once a month to do activities with the seniors, such as decorating Halloween cookies, making a Thanksgiving project, putting on a Christmas concert, and interviewing residents for a writing project that is turned into a book.

In January and February, the seniors visit Fairview for a tour and cookies and punch with the children.

“The students bond with their resident and learn a lot from them, especially from the interview they do on their resident's life,” said Vanderkin. “The residents look forward to the kids coming and to visiting the school and seeing the technology and other changes since they went to school back many years ago.”

Parents help bring residents to the activity room at the center and serve food. “All the work in getting it set up is worth it when you see the children and elderly enjoying their time together,” Vanderkin said.


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