Wellford students visit Midway residents
It might sound like a simple Christmas carol to you, but for dozens of hospice patients at Midway Residential, the sound of singing students in the hallway marks one of the most pleasant visits of the year.
Last week, a group of Wellford Academy students, ranging from first to fourth grade, captured the attention Midway residents as they strolled through Moore facility, performing renditions holiday favorites such as “Jingle Bells” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”
“Our student council looks for a service learning project this time each year, so we made contact with (Providence caregiver) Amy Howard and she helped us organize the trip,” said Wellford Guidance Counselor Melissa Hyatt. “We brainstormed with the children how we wanted to do this. They spent time making Christmas cards and learning the songs.”
The students were met with smiling faces. Some sang along and clapped to the music while others just listened.
“There was one resident who had been depressed, but when we were there, you could clearly see he was not depressed. That was remarkable. We actually have a video of him singing with us,” Hyatt said. “It’s things like that that made the trip memorable.
“One man that was there, who was clapping to the music and enjoying it, is now in the hospital in Critical condition,” Howard added. “That might be his last memory. That’s why it’s so important. That visit means a lot to me, but it means so much to them as well. This is one of the brightest things I see each year.”
The Wellford students toured from building to building, ending each performance with “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”
“We had some people follow us everywhere we went,” Hyatt said.
After concluding the concert, students passed out handmade cards to residents.
“We talked about the fact that this may be the only Christmas card that some of these people get, or the only visit that they get,” Hyatt said. “The kids were very patient. They were warm and friendly and they really interacted well with the residents.”
Howard said she has been working with the school for about four years.
“A lot of our patients are very isolated and are without family and friends in the community,” Howard said. “So, about four years ago, I started reaching out the schools and Wellford was one of the schools I contacted. They were super interested and they’ve really rallied around our residents. They make Christmas cards and give Veterans Day gifts and things like that. They’re just community oriented and I can say enough great things about them.
“Most of those people at Midway have no family, no visitors,” she added. “That’s why they need to be remembered. Visits like this don’t take a lot. It’s not scary. It’s a great experience and you can do it any day of the year.”
This isn’t the only service project the student council performs each year.
“We did a can food drive back in October and we’re also doing care packages for the military in February,” Hyatt said. “These students are elected by their classmates based on leadership. Doing things like this definitely makes them leaders.”
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