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Humber Valley Terrace intergenerational program bonds students and residents
The students of St. Dorothy Catholic School in Toronto have been making regular visits to Revera’s Humber Valley Terrace for many months now, as part of the home’s intergenerational programming; however this holiday season the students did something extra special to bond with the home’s residents.
“Although the students from St. Dorothy have been coming to our home for more than a year now, interacting with our residents and doing different activities with them, in November I started thinking about how great it would be if each resident received a personalized holiday card from one of the students,” explained Emily Raguro Viray, Recreation Manager at Humber Valley Terrace.
Raguro Viray reached out to Anna Zampella, one of the teachers at the school to share her idea, and before long Zampella had other teachers and students involved, excited at the thought of doing such a kind gesture for the home’s residents. Before long Zampella let her know that they had 158 students working on making personalized cards as a special holiday surprise for each of the home’s 158 residents.
On December 23, 2016, a group of 30 grade 6 and 7 students made their way over to Humber Valley Terrace and presented the residents with their special holiday surprise.
“Our class was so happy to share these personalized cards with the residents of Humber Valley Terrace, even though the entire school contributed to writing the wishes into the cards that we delivered,” said Cherie Zuzarte, another teacher at St. Dorothy Catholic School. “The students all said they enjoyed talking to the residents and hearing their stories, and what’s more, they really seemed to make a personal connection to the residents they visited with.”
All of the students agreed that it was nice to share a smile and a kind word, and to receive the same in return. They also enjoyed singing some Christmas Carols for the residents before their lunch hour.
“The residents’ reactions when receiving their personalized cards meant everything to me,” said Raguro Viray. “Some asked the students to read it to them, while others shed a few tears. It was obvious that such a simple gesture made them feel special, important, and loved – something all of our residents deserve.”
The idea was so well-received on both sides that the students are looking forward to making cards for Valentine’s Day and Easter, and Emily is looking at setting up a pen-pal program between some of the students and seniors.
In photos: Students from St. Dorothy Catholic School present three different residents from Humber Valley Terrace with their personalized holiday cards.