XENIA — Grace Jacobs had one mission when she walked into Elmcroft of Xenia Feb. 9: Spread some cheer to the residents.
“Some of them have visitors, some of them don’t,” she said. “My goal is to make them smile.”
It didn’t take the bubbly freshman and the rest of her Cedarville High School brethren long to get those at the assisted living and Alzheimer’s Care community grinning during their visit as part of the school’s spirit of service week. They started with a hula hoop presentation and helped make Valentine’s Day decorations, played trivia and even painted fingernails during the 90-minute stay.
“They’re loving it,” said Tonia Leonard, health lifestyles director for Elmcroft. “Absolutely loving it. Especially the hula hoop. It brings back memories. It makes them feel young again.”
During the week, students have already dropped in on House of Bread and Hospice of Dayton.
“Every day they’re doing a different service activity just to give back to the community,” said Cedarville teacher Danie Mollette.
While they weren’t required to participate at all or attend a specific place, Jacobs specifically wanted to visit Elmcroft.
“I actually had a (great) aunt that went here,” she said. “These people are so wonderful.”
For senior Wes Williams, it was a chance to do something different.
“I don’t really come to places like this too often,” he said. “It was something that would push me out of my comfort zone. This seemed like a really good way to help people.”
Cedarville has traditionally had an assisted living or nursing home facility on its spirit of service week agenda. This is the first time it has included Elmcroft.
“Our students love it,” said guidance counselor Rachell Tingelstad.
Leonard joked that the residents get bored with her and it’s nice to have others helping around the facility.
“It’s great,” Leonard said. “Some times I think our community forgets about our elderly. To see students step up … I think it’s wonderful.”
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.