Residents at a North Delta long-term care facility will be receiving a bit of holiday cheer this week thanks to students in Seaquam Secondary’s Lifeskills program.
In September, Seaquam Lifeskills teacher Shannon Miller started the “Attitude of Gratitude” project with her students, encouraging them to write down one thing they were grateful for each day. The project gained traction and soon the students were looking for ways they could give back to their local community.
The students decided to write cards and put together care packages for seniors at a local care home to help raise their spirits as they face a holiday season under COVID-19 restrictions.
Northcrest Care Centre was delighted to get a call from Miller asking if they would like to receive the cards and gifts from her Lifeskills class as, like many facilities in the Fraser Health region, it has faced many challenges as a result of the pandemic and many of its residents may not be able to see their families over Christmas.
“Northcrest had been looking for ways to connect with the local community, so it was completely serendipitous that I called their director, Nicki Bavis, that day to see if they might be interested in receiving care packages for their residents,” Miller said. “Nicki was overjoyed, excited and extremely thankful that we’d reached out.”
Next, Miller canvassed the local community via the North Delta Community Corner Facebook group to ask for cards, chocolates and other small treats for the Northcrest residents, and the community responded in force.
“I was astonished at the huge response I received and so proud of this community for stepping up. People have generously donated cash, Christmas cards, chocolate, decks of playing cards, hand lotion, nail polish, socks, crossword puzzles and ornaments,” Miller said.
“I think most of us are having a difficult time at the moment. When people give to others, it can help to relieve some of that struggle — both for the giver and recipient. Also, I truly believe — and my students agree — that it’s important for us to show other people that ‘We see you. We care about you. You matter to us and we want you to have an amazing Christmas.’
“Thanks to the outpouring of support from our local community, we will be able to make more than 200 people very happy this Christmas. Seeing the local community come together over this project has been extremely powerful and emotional, and I would like to thank everyone for their support. I would also like to challenge other classes and even other schools to try something similar in their neighbourhoods. Just think of how much love and happiness we can give to our most vulnerable community members with our Attitude of Gratitude initiative.”
The cards and care packages from Miller’s Lifeskills class will be delivered to Northcrest Care Centre on Tuesday, Dec. 15. Anyone interested in donating items or cash can contact Shannon Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Seaquam Secondary School at 604-591-6166.