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Adopt-a-Grandparent at West Madison takes cheer into retired community

A traditional Christmas outreach at West Madison Elementary School has expanded with Adopt-A-Grandparent.

West Madison students sort gifts for Adopt-A-Grandparent. (Photo courtesy of Wendy Tibbs)

 

For several years, music teacher Kristy Newsome has taken her choirs to local retirement homes. “It’s such a wonderful experience for students, residents, myself and even students’ parents. My students experience the joy of giving by sharing their time and musical talents with the residents,” Newsome said.

“This year, we’re doing more than simply giving the gift of song. We’re giving them gift baskets and homemade cards,” Newsome said.

West Madison’s faculty and students can donate gifts, which the choir will deliver on Dec. 7 to sites including Dublin Village, Madison Village and Madison Manor. Also, older students are pairing with younger students to create homemade cards for the gifts.

“It’s such a privilege to give back to those who paved the way for our communities to thrive,” Newsome said.”

Adopt-A-Grandparent developed in August when West Madison teachers discussed community outreach projects to instill positive character traits in students. “Our principal, Dr. Daphne Jah, was thrilled with the idea,” Newsome said.

Within four days, West Madison students had filled gift baskets for every resident at one home. Students have given hard candy, lip balm, socks, gloves, scarves, cologne, toiletries, word puzzles and stationary.

From first grade, Lucy Lee donated “because I just wanted to be nice (and) make people’s lives better.” Aarkeria Smith wanted senior citizens to have more supplies and “to have something fun to do.”

In second grade, Aarieal Ammons wanted “to help people who don’t live in their own houses. I wanted to brighten their holidays.” Matthew Scopes realizes some nursing home residents “have families that live far away. They can’t drive to see them. I don’t like it when anyone feels lonely or upset.”

Fifth-grader Soji Bedsole said helping lonely people is “an important cause. Many people in retirement homes don’t receive lots of Christmas gifts. I want them to have a happy holiday and know people care about them.”

Counselor Martha Sparks and enrichment specialist Wendy Tibbs are assisting Adopt-A-Grandparent.

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