The Respect Challenge: So many of our elderly population are forgotten about or disregarded…One day we will all be where they are. Is this how we will want to be treated? Our elderly deserve to be honored and respected.
Positive relationships and respect for all are two human qualities which are stressed at Andes Central.
This year, the district’s students took those qualities, and expectations, outside of the school walls and reached out to the elderly members of the Lake Andes Community through monthly visits to the Lake Andes Senior Living Center.
The idea came to be when Lake Andes Senior Living Center Activities Director Crissy Longe approached the district’s administration about forming a partnership between the two entities with the hope her residents would benefit from regular student visits and the district’s students would gain a special appreciation for the elderly and their importance to everyone’s lives and to society.
Visiting schedules for Junior and Senior High students were developed and coordinated with Longe in order for at least monthly visits by Andes Central students to be made.
Throughout the year, Junior and Senior High students sang to residents, played games with them and even conducted some interviews with them about their lives.
“After a visit from the school children the residents here at Lake Andes Senior Living have huge smiles on their faces and it is the topic of the facility for several days,” Longe said.
Elementary students also provided some music for the residents and enjoyed reading to them.
“The Senior Living residents thoroughly enjoy the visits by the students and smiles are abundant on both young and old,” Andes Central Elementary Principal Bill Kitchenmaster.
Andes Central Second Grade Teacher Sayde Slovek felt like her students were very respectful when visiting the residents in December as she watched them display a special level of kindness and compassion for them.
“While they were initially a little reluctant and shy, the students quickly warmed up to the residents and enjoyed reading to the residents,” Slovek said.
Longe has also witnessed the numerous interactions between the residents and students and believes the endeavor has been well worthwhile.
“The Students from Andes Central have been a great addition to our activity program. It allows the residents an opportunity to engage in intergenerational activities,” Longe said
“We greatly appreciate the visits and hope to continue them indefinitely.”
Kitchenmaster confirmed Longe’s hope, saying, “The Andes Central School District intends to do just that!”