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The Gift of Time

December 27, 2011

Students from the Jay/Westfield School make their weekly visit to the Scenic View Residential Home in Westfield. Above, one student calls out the bingo numbers while another helps a new friend with the tags. Photo by Christopher Roy

WESTFIELD – Fourth to sixth grade students from the Jay/Westfield School take time from their busy schedule every week to visit with residents of the Scenic View Residential Home. Last Thursday, the students presented each resident with a holiday gift packet, which included greeting cards, popcorn and ornaments. The students also played bingo with the residents.
“We do this so the children have a chance to get out and do something nice in the community,” explained Eva Lemieux, after school site coordinator from the Jay/Westfield School. “They (the students) also learn social skills.”
The program is voluntary, takes place after school and has a large educational component.
The students know that once they enter the facility they have to slow down, be calm, lower the volume of their voices and know that what they’re doing is for the residents.
The students are very delighted to give of themselves. Just ask sixth grade student Brook Gentry. She signed up because she thought it would be something fun to do.
“It’s interesting learning from them (the residents),” said Gentry. “Everyone here is really nice.”
Fifth grade student Allura Rayne Reynard discovered one of the residents knew her grandmother years ago. She said some of the residents get few visitors.
“To do things with the residents,” said sixth grade student Tyler Amyot on why he takes part in the program. “It’s fun to play games with them and help them out.”
The residents are pleased to have the company. Leslie Churchill looks forward to having the young visitors.
Mildred Bicknell also enjoys seeing the students and playing the games.

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