Students from the Good Shepherd Catholic School Youth Group in St. Johnsbury visited residents at the St. Johnsbury Health and Rehabilitation Center July 9 as part of a community service activity.

Boys and girls from the school designed handmade cards with messages such as “Happy Summer!” and “Have a good day!” which they delivered in person to approximately 50 residents. They also sang a brief song at each stop.

One elderly man said, “This is the highlight of my day!”

Six Good Shepherd students and three adults traveled from room to room led by Health and Rehab Assistant Activities Director Macie Rivers. There was no hesitation on the part of the children ranging from grades 4-8 in interacting with the elderly residents. “We’ve had a lot of smiles, and the kids’ visit brightened everybody’s day,” Rivers said. “They really appreciated the song the students sang to them.”

Youth Group Director and grade 3/4 teacher at Good Shepherd Elizabeth Heath said, “When we started our youth group, visiting the nursing home was one of the things they wanted to do, so they were excited to have the opportunity finally to get to do that. It was a fantastic day! I am so impressed with the kids. I can’t wait to go back there with them.”

The students learned the value that day of love in action to the sick and elderly, many of whom may not have family members to visit them. They also learned what some of the functions of an activities director are at a nursing facility.

Sixth-grader Madeline Heath and her sister, fourth grader Ashley, agreed, “We felt welcomed by all the residents. It was a lot of fun!”

Father Lance Harlow, pastor at Corpus Christi Parish and grade 5/6 religion teacher said, “I am so proud of them. They are eager to put into practice what they have learned in school and showed no fear in meeting elderly people in a medical environment.”

The GSCS Youth Group previously made cards for the residents for St. Patrick’s Day and hope to visit again to perform a concert for the residents at the end of their summer vacation.