Students Pen 'New Year Cheer' for Elderly Residents
Students are answering the call to a day of service to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Letters and cards will be delivered to nursing home residents in town.
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’”
~Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is regarded as one of America’s greatest heroes. He believed a truly free nation was possible in America and encouraged it’s citizens to set the highest standards and lead by example. Martin Luther King Day was designated as a national day of service 25 years ago. Each year, on the third Monday in January, citizens are asked to take a day “on” instead of a day “off,” and do something for others.
This year on Jan. 17, Danvers students in grades K-12 are answering the call by penning wishes of cheer and health to nursing home residents in town.
“The MLK Day of service is an opportunity for us to give awareness to students to give back to the community. We also offer a community service elective course at the high school which helps kids learn what they need to learn in their curriculum studies while stressing the importance of community building," said Danvers High School Curriculum Director Peggy McElhinney. "The point with community service learning is to embed it in the curriculum, so we tie whatever project we choose to do into the art class, and into writing assignments.”
Sue Tag is the community service liason for the school. Her job is to identify the needs of the community and establish service projects for the students to participate in to fulfill their community service requirements. In years past, such projects have included student letters to soldiers for Operation Troop Support and food drives for the People to People Food Pantry, which both had a high level of participation within the district.
McElhinney hopes for similar results with this project.
“We thought we’d have students write a New Year Cheer letter, or make a card, to spread well wishes to those residents.” she explained. “We have five nursing homes in Danvers with over 500 residents in them, not to mention the many assisted living facilities around town. This is an optional project that we asked all of the schools in every grade level to participate in."
"Our thinking is for the youngest students to make a card and use their artwork on it, while the older students will be more likely to write the letter and use that as their writing assignment,” she said.
While the deadline for receiving contributions was set for Jan. 12, McElhinney was forced to extend the deadline Jan.14 due to the two recent snow days. Letters will be delivered to the nursing facilities next week.
“I’m still getting submissions today, so I can’t say how many we’ll be able to do. We’re hoping we get enough cards and letters to cover all of the residents," she said on Friday.