This summer, students at the F. Donald Myers Education Center are spreading cheer to senior citizens. The residents of the Wesley Health Care Center in Saratoga Springs are receiving classroom-crafted sun catchers, refrigerator magnets, and cards from the Extended School Year students.
Coordinated by teacher Kim Ferguson and the social worker Maureen Forsyth, it’s an effort to connect the students with the community in a meaningful way.
“By doing this, they can see how they can affect, in a positive way, people in the community,” said Mrs. Ferguson of her class of 14. “A lot of the students already volunteer or work at Wesley through the school year. The residents miss the students when they are gone. This is a way to keep the connection going. The residents of the Wesley Center really look forward to the students’ visits.”
In addition to serving the community, the students work on their educational goals as well. They perfect their writing, for the inside of the cards and in the creation of a bulletin board on which they express, in writing, how they feel when they help others.
Mrs. Ferguson also links math skills to the crafting as the students count and measure in order to complete their projects. Students work on therapy goals as well.
Ann Watson’s summer school students are also participating in the project by drawing pictures for the residents. Their coloring creations of rainbows and other positive images will be given to the residents at Wesley to be displayed.
The community program is an extension of the classes’ efforts to be good citizens. Last summer, the student sewed and painted pillows and shopping bags for the workers of the backstretch at the Saratoga Race Course. They have also helped out at various locations in the community such as the Saratoga EOC garden and soup kitchen. The students have also worked to recycle discarded items.
In addition, Dawn Allen’s class is continuing its year-long efforts to collect pet food and toys for the animals at the Saratoga County Animal Shelter.
Finally, Isaac Labish students are learning math by selling coffee and donuts each morning. The money they raised, $125, went directly to the animal shelter as well.
One student, when asked to express why she enjoys community service, simply said “it makes people happy.”