Last Thursday, Windsor Manor in Nevada was full of fun and activity.
Residents of the assisted living community were paid a visit by elementary students from the Collins-Maxwell School District, who were utilizing grant funds they had received to “pay it forward” and do something wonderful for others in the community.
Collins-Maxwell fifth-grade teacher, Deanna Davis, explained that she had received a message earlier this year from Adrian McMullen, an Iowa Realtor, informing her of a grant opportunity.
“The grant application was open to all fourth- and fifth-grade teachers/classrooms in Iowa,” Davis said. “Cheryl Fricke (C-M fourth-grade teacher), Heather Meinerts (C-M fourth-grade teacher) and I decided to apply for $250 grants, because we were wanting to do some type of service project with our students. We brainstormed ideas together and then decided on three (projects).”
The three project ideas were to visit Windsor Manor (Fricke’s class), make and deliver scarves to those in need (Meinert’s class) and give back to those in the community that have done kind things for us (Davis’ class).
“We were notified on Feb. 1 that each of our applications had been awarded the $250,” Davis said, meaning a total of $750 for Collins-Maxwell elementary students to give back to others.
Fricke’s class specifically wanted to visit Windsor Manor and do something with the residents who live there.
“The pay-it-forward project was a huge success,” Fricke said. “Everyone involved, bus drivers included, had a fantastic time creating an Easter wreath and playing Bingo.”
Students assisted residents to make the Easter Egg wreaths that could hang on their doors, and students enjoyed playing Bingo with the residents — helping keep a watchful eye on the residents’ cards, along with the cards in front of each student. Winners got to pick out prizes. When the first winner was determined, her student helper helped read off her winning combination, and as she picked out her prize, the student smiled and said, “I can’t believe you won!”
“Visiting Windsor Manor fit the pay-it-forward concept, because we were able to spend time with and bring joy to a group of seniors,” Fricke said. But the day was about even more than that. “Our students clearly benefited from the experience as well. This was evident as we watched them interact with the residents and (as we) listened to their stories once we returned to school.” She said some children referred to their “new friends” at Windsor Manor by their first names, like they had known each other for years. “The experience was certainly a highlight for all of us.”
The grant money was used to buy supplies for the wreath-making and prizes for the Bingo games. Windsor Manor even supplied snacks for all the kids and adults, and Alison Kapustka, executive director, said the Manor loved that the school reached out to them for this project. It was a fun day for the staff and residents of Windsor Manor, who were also dressed in crazy clothes and hats, because they were celebrating National Goof Off Day.
Margie Archambault, life enrichment coordinator at Windsor Manor, said staff at the manor “couldn’t be happier with how the visit went. It is always great to see generations coming together and having a good time. The residents loved being around the kids. We had a retired teacher that was enjoying being around students again. She was in her element for sure.”
This week Windsor Manor was anticipating a visit from some Nevada kindergarten students. “We will always be happy to have school groups visit us,” Archambault said.
Archambault enjoys seeing young people give back to the older residents in their communities. “I don’t know if the students and teachers realize how much these visits mean to our residents. It not only makes them happy and brings smiles to their faces, but it makes them feel young again,” she said.
As today’s newspaper comes out, Thursday, March 29, this same group of Collins-Maxwell students will be holding an event this afternoon at the school to say thanks to those adults in the Collins-Maxwell community who help the public with so many things. They have invited members of the fire and EMS teams, workers at the libraries, volunteers with the food pantries and museum and others who give back in the communities to attend a special get-together. Students will serve cookies and lemonade and present special gifts to those who attend.