Two groups of Primero students, including members of the National Honor Society and the elementary choir, made a special trip to the Trinidad Inn Nursing Home this December in order to serve the community by sharing a bit of holiday joy with the residents.
The NHS students spent their time visiting with residents and helping them with everyday tasks like getting food and drinks, while the elementary choir did a special presentation of their winter program.
According to NHS sponsor Ben Gandy, community service opportunities like these are a key component of National Honor Society membership. “One of the pillars for NHS students is service, and what better way to demonstrate that by spending time with our community’s elderly?
This visit will hopefully prompt these young people to think of other ways to volunteer and help their community in additional ways as they transition into adulthood. Students will see what life is like for elderly folk and the dynamics of a nursing home, and perhaps determine if being in health care or social services is a career path for them.”
“In my experience, nursing home residents enjoy spending time with our students because it is a break in the routine they are used to, and they can get a chance to share their experiences with young people,” says Gandy. “I think such outreach is beneficial for the community because it can give students a chance to bond with these elderly community members. Loneliness is a large problem in the elderly community, even for those not in a care facility. Also, the benefits for the students include having a better sense of community, increased social skills, and I believe that can be a fun activity for the students.”
National Honor Society president Michael Duran agrees. “Visiting the nursing home was very fulfilling because it brought so much joy to the residents. It is important to spread joy and happiness to others, especially during the holidays.”
According to music teacher Decker Gonsalves, the involvement of Primero’s elementary students in the special day of service at the Trinidad Inn Nursing Home was a natural consequence of the resurgence in music education within the district. “The original idea to visit the nursing home to put on a music program came from a parent suggestion,” says Gonsalves. “She told me it was something the school had done years ago and that it seemed very meaningful for both the students and the residents. Now that the music program was brought back - it felt like a good idea to again participate and contribute to the community.”
“It is important for the students to be involved in the community to strengthen their connection with people and build up intangibles such as pride and accomplishment,” Gonsalves says. “My hope is that it will have a positive impact on some of the residents, especially those that enjoy music, and create a purposeful interaction for the students.”