Children bring a little love to local seniors
Todd Elvig photo / STSPN.com
Lynne Victoria (right) takes joy in a card that Jasmine Mikesell, 8, produced while Matthew Cassels, 9, hands over a gift.
SNOHOMISH — “What would we do without you kids,” said a delighted Lynne Victoria as her young visitors handed her gift after gift.
The kids in question were a merry troop of three 3rd grade classes who had ventured over from Emerson Elementary to the Snohomish Health and Rehabilitation Center
on a special Valentine’s Day mission.
They came laden with presents assembled with care in candy apple red bags. Dozens of the “Have a Nice Day” and heart-emblazoned bags were filled with goodies and, remarkably, not a single item fell out during their spirited trek.
The project wasn’t a simple one, but the third graders and teacher Kim Moritz, fueled by a bounty of love, made it look easy.
Moritz applied for a grant to fund the Valentine’s Day celebration of what she and the children called their senior friends.
Their thoughtfulness was not just a one-day occurrence:
the gaggle of third graders trek to the center each week to read to their senior
friends, Moritz said.
So the children knew well what their buddies would like as they brainstormed a gift list to fill what came to be known as buddy bags. Moritz purchased some and the students hand-made others, more than a dozen little
gifts in total for each friend.
“I thought it would kind of make them happy so they could always remember us,” said Emmily DeLeon, 8.
The gifts were varied and plentiful, a blend of whimsy and practicality, sometimes both in the same item.
One highlight was pairs of white socks with brightly painted lines of fabric paint on the soles to prevent the seniors, many of who had mobility issues, from slipping. “The socks are my favorite,” said DeLeon, because they can “keep them
Other pocket-sized presents included sparkly Seahawks decorations, U.S. flags, cherry Chapstick and stuffed animals.
Eight-year-old Dylan Ellis chose his favorite with his nose rather than his eyes: he figured the seniors would like the shampoo best because of the smell.
“Oh, isn’t that nice,” gushed Victoria as Jasmine Mikesell, 8, and Matthew Cassels, 9, carefully removed each gift from the bag to show her.
“Did you make that?” she asked about an artfully drawn bookmark and chuckled as Cassels, with spotless integrity answered “no.” The children all made crafts and helped pick gifts for the seniors, but the one Victoria received wasn’t the one he had made.
The third graders made approximately 70 buddy bags, enough for every resident. It was a flurry of activity as they assembled the gifts on Feb. 5. As the children filed in the piles of lotion, star shaped stress balls, crossword puzzle books and many more items shrank as the bags filled.
“Exposure to that kind of stuff really sets the foundation,” said parent volunteer Kari Mikesell who chaperoned the trip.
The foundation was clearly set for the young volunteers as they worked on Valentine’s Day cards.
“I just can’t wait to read to you, it’s so much fun,” read D.J. Hunt’s card.
“It’s gonna make their day, they will be excited… it’s from the heart,” Hunt, 8, said.
Victoria could tell. “It’s wonderful,” she said.
While the children chattered excitedly once they got to the center, one thoughtful little boy only said “Shhhhhh!”
His buddy was sleeping in a wheelchair.
After a short visit, the third graders filed out of the rehabilitation center, with empty hands and full hearts.
They were already planning their next visit. Books on their top reads list included “Chester,” “Pete the Cat,” and “This is Not a Picture Book!”
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