Local students are giving back to residents at Dr. James Hemstock and Hearthstone Place Assisted Living Residence.
At the start of the school year, grade six students at Father Gorman received photos, taken by Jason Whiting, of residents giving them advice for the year. In return, the students sent back photos with their own advice.
On Tuesday, October 22, the class visited the residents at the home. Grade six teacher, Paige Fulkerth, says it was cool for her students to see the community invested in their learning.
“Initially, the first week of school we connected with the seniors, and they gave us some great advice and we replied. We wanted to take it one step further and meet them in person; so, we had the opportunity to come here today and get to meet all of them.”
When the class arrived, six students read their poems written in their English unit, Growing Up. After, students and residents introduced themselves. Students read their poems, asked them a series of questions and played cards.
Jason Whiting wanted to capture special moments when he initially thought of the idea. He believes that each photo is unique. Whiting says he didn’t expect this project become so popular.
“It’s been fun to see something, a little project that kind of just on a whim happened and turned into something bigger than I guess I could have believed or a lot of people here believed. It’s some simple messages to students going back to school and turned into something where we are all here a few months later.”
While interacting with the students, residents looked happy and seemed to enjoy themselves. Marcel Lukan, a resident, says he had fun and enjoyed talking to the students. They compared the differences in the schools because Lukan went to a country school.
“I thought, I’d join in and do the best I can. I’m an old timer but I’ll do the best I can,” explains Lukan with a laugh.
The project was interesting for him because his wife used to be a teacher.
Amanda Fisher, Marketing Manager at the home, believes the residents love when students get to come in. Fisher says when Whiting initially brought up the idea, she didn’t expect it to become so big.
“It’s really honoring to them, that they are allowed to do that; that somebody would take that advice to heart, that it actually made an impact on somebody. So many of them said to me; if we can affect one student, make an impact, that’s all we ask for.”
The grade six teacher, Paige Fulkerth, says she will continue to remind her students of the advice they received from the photos and during their visit.
“Jason came and printed the pictures out and we actually have them hung-up in our classroom. It’s been kind of cool not only to get advice that first week, but relate back to it through the school year.”
Fulkerth is hoping to be able to do the Advice Generation Swap again.