Cathedral students bridging generation gap at nursing home

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 15, 2000

Middle school students at Cathedral School have no aversion to bridging the generation gap with local nursing home residents. The seventh and eighth-graders routinely visit nursing homes to talk with the residents and deliver flowers.

&uot;It’s fun meeting old people and talking to them,&uot; said Robert Mahoney. &uot;They’re really nice.&uot;

Cathedral teacher Leigh Anderson said she began taking students to local nursing homes about six years ago as a Make a Difference Day project. The activity evolved into a regular service project. &uot;These kids make a difference all the time,&uot; Anderson said.

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The students volunteer for the service and make the trips after school.

Anderson collects leftover flowers donated by Wal-Mart for the children to distribute.

&uot;They do a wonderful job,&uot; Anderson said. &uot;It just makes you feel proud of our young people.&uot;

Many of the students said they could see the benefit they are bringing to the residents.

&uot;It makes them happy,&uot;&160;said Haley Whittington. &uot;You can see it in their eyes how happy they are when you come see them.&uot;

Hannah Loy said she enjoys hearing the residents tell stories. &uot;We can learn so much from them and they learn from at us at the same time,&uot; she said.

From the experience, the students learn how giving of their time can be a great gift. &uot;I like seeing how happy they are when you come and just talk to them,&uot; said Mary Kate Byrne.

Anderson said she often finds it surprising that more boys than girls sign up to participate.

And sometimes those students who are known in school as being troublemakers actually shine when visiting with the elderly, Anderson said.

&uot;You hear so many bad things about children,&uot; even though they often volunteer with projects like this, she said. &uot;They’re beautiful and wonderful and that’s what people need to know.&uot;