PIQUA — The Kiwanis Kids (K-Kids) from Piqua Central Intermediate School visited Piqua Manor this week, bringing with them plans to connect with residents.
“I’m excited about being here,” Jessica Ireton, 11, said.
As icebreakers for getting to know some of the residents, the K-Kids brought crafts and cookies to help them reach out to some of the residents.
“The kids made signs for all the rooms, and we brought cookies,” teacher and K-Kids adviser Robin Phipps said.
The 42 kids who came split up into groups to hang up signs, visit with Piqua Manor residents, and pass out cookies as well as do crafts and play games with some of the residents.
“We’re sorting out cookies, and we’re going to play noodle ball,” one student said to a group of about a dozen residents in a common room.
“I think it’s great that kids come in here and meet people,” Piqua Manor resident Diana Carpenter said.
The students also enjoyed putting the crafts together that they brought with them. Some of the signs read, “You are loved by K-Kids” and “Smile, it’s good for you.”
“We got to choose our colors … We just got creative,” Haley Snelling, 10, said. “I will enjoy putting up signs.”
Being a part of K-Kids in general was a fun experience for the students, allowing them to have fun and meet new people.
“It’s amazing. I really like it,” Janet Heath, 10, said about participating in K-Kids.
“We’re able to have fun and play and do things with other people,” Aidyn Sarson, 11, said.
When asked about the visit, some of the kids had never been to a nursing home before, so this became an opportunity to broaden their experiences.
“This is my first time ever being in a nursing home,” Heath said.
Broadening their experiences was one of the goals behind the trip, which Phipps explained was important in helping the kids value other generations of and/or groups people with whom they may not have much interaction.
“I think it’s importance for kids to learn how to engage our older generations,” Phipps said.
Phipps explained that the kids wrote out practice questions to help them talk to some of the residents if they were nervous, such as asking the residents about their families and if they had any kids.
“Some have never faced this before,” Phipps said, explaining that this experience also humanizes the residents for those kids who have never been to a nursing home before and shows that “everybody here is just human.”
Phipps explained that she tries to do this at least once a year with each group of K-Kids. After the K-Kids have gotten older, some of them also go on to volunteer or work at nursing homes.
“I just think it’s a great learning tool with the kids,” Phipps said.
Reach Sam Wildow at firstname.lastname@example.org or (937) 451-3336