An email from a volunteer sent to Dawnielle and Emily after visiting the nursing home –
It really did work out, against all odds. I took one look at that room and I thought, aye yi yi! Our 5th grade Josefina is absolutely fearless and full of love. She is willing and open. Our tablemates were the smiling lady who seemed as if she couldn’t talk, but who eventually did somewhat. Angelica told me that the lady even said something in Spanish, but then didn’t say anymore. She seemed content to watch the girls make their cards. Josefina tried to help her hold a marker herself, but she had no grip. I was busy talking to a woman who seemed very uncomfortable. She basically told us that she couldn’t accommodate us and urged us to move on. As I engaged her in conversation, different children would stop by. Pati just walked up to her and in the brightest voice said, “Hello! How are you?” My lady just beamed and smiled. It was as if she remembered how to be happy. Raul gave her a card and smiled at her, then Julio came up and let me introduce him and talk a little, then Omar came up and actually knelt down so the lady could look into his face. She really liked Omar and complimented him on his curly hair. He graciously said “thank you” and then I asked him to tell her about what he does at Kids club. He explained that he was learning to be a leader. The lady asked him what he had to do. He explained that he helped the younger kids with their homework and reading. She said, “that must make you feel good that you know so much.” She kinda came to life. This was her most coherent conversation. Then Josefina came over, gave her the card she made and read it to her. It said something along the lines of: “I wish you a very Merry Christmas. Remember, Jesus loves you. And don’t you forget it!” The woman listened, but didn’t really respond. Then a little later she picked up the card and smiled and said “and don’t you forget it.”
I know our group is chaotic and young and unpredictable but it is obvious that God is making a way. I loved hearing the spontaneous sing a long, started by the residents. When the children gathered around, clapping and listening, a connection was made. It was wonderful to see the children share with the residents the song they have been learning at Kids Club as well. It was so joyful.
My personal highlight was being able to do the patty cake part of the jingle bells dance with a lady in a wheel chair. I could see from the way she was responding to the music that she was a dancer. I know the feeling of wanting to dance and not having a chance to do it, so I approached her and the two of us had fun with it. That is what I know from the experience. I think the trip was very worthwhile and I think the kids did everything we asked of them. They just did it!
Ok, guess that’s it. I’ll see you tomorrow night at the Christmas party. Good luck. Get some rest. May God bless both of you and continue to empower you in the way that leads to light.