A group of energetic students from around the world got to brighten the lives of dozens of seniors in the St. John’s region recently.
Rather than spend their mid-term break sleeping in or lounging on their couches, the group decided to spend some quality time with residents of several personal care homes in the capital region.
It was all part of a unique program, facilitated by Memorial’s Centre for Career Development and Experiential Learning, known as Make Mid-term Matter.
Organizers wanted to design a unique opportunity to allow the students many of whom come from countries on the other side of the globe and cannot afford to travel home during the break to connect with the community.
In total, 21 undergraduate and graduate students from places such as Greenland, Mexico, Sierra Leone, Bangladesh, India, China, Hong Kong, Russia, as well as Ontario and this province spent the afternoon of their first day of mid-term break at Saint Luke’s Home, the Agnes Pratt Home and the Masonic Park Nursing Home.
“This activity targeted international and out-of-province students,” said Kim Kelly, experiential learning co-ordinator. “Mid-term break is a time when students often go home for a few days to spend time with family. However, due to the cost of travel and time required, many students are unable to go home for the break. Therefore, Make Mid-term Matter seemed to be a great way for these students to connect to the community, meet and work with others from diverse backgrounds, have fun and discover the learning that can take place from a service opportunity.”
The students did everything from engaging in some light exercise with seniors while listening to their favourite songs, to singing and dancing, to baking some cookies and treats.
Ms. Kelly said both the students and seniors got something out of the afternoon they spent together.
“Visiting the seniors brought me so many memories about my grandparents,” said Sergio De Leon, a master of employment relations student from Mexico whose grandparents have passed away. “It was great to enjoy some time with seniors, learning from them and from the given experience.”
“A touch of care, an ear to hear is all…they need,” added Simeran Arora, a bachelor of science student from India.
Ms. Kelly said the seniors were very appreciative of the visits and she hopes they can organize future events. She was joined in the visits by several other colleagues at Memorial including Kathleen Wall, SWASP co-ordinator, CDEL; Denise Hooper, senior career development co-ordinator from the Faculty of Arts; Rhonda Pittman, the co-ordinator of the Student Volunteer Bureau; and Social Work student Bradley Richards.