Kids and seniors learning and creating together
Today, kids and seniors are coming together to learn, create, and have a lot of fun. The morning begins in the northernmost region of the Charleston County School District at Ladson Elementary. Led by first grade teacher, Ms. V (Villerral), students walk outside to catch the bus for their first HCC adventure. They are astonished by the beautiful bus, available only through the graciousness of TriCounty Transportation, a local limo and transportation company that understands the value of Holy City Children, and what we are doing to help children and our community.
start with gratitude
Students begin by thanking their teacher and bus driver, Mr. Anthony, for this opportunity. Once on the bus, children are briefed on Holy City Children, Pelican Pride, and what it feels like to help others. We discuss big questions like “Why do we help others?” and “Do we ever need help ourselves?”
Children all cheer as they cross a bridge heading toward West Ashley and notice expansive views of the marsh. Some students had never seen the beautiful Charleston area marshes before and are in awe.
learning about each other
We arrive at Ashley River Creative Arts to pick up the other half of the team, Ms. Hines’ first grade class. Together, the two classes form the 1st grade Team Unidogs (Ashley River Unicorns and Ladson Bulldogs mascots combined).
Students learn their team cheer (“Unidogs!” / “One for all!”) and chant it together on the way to the Senior Center, where they’ll meet even more new friends.
Kids pair up with a student from the other class and a senior volunteer for a get to know you exercise, practicing their writing and communication skills. How many first graders get the opportunity to interview former teachers, lawmakers, and professionals? It gives them great insight into a different generation while building their confidence to speak to adults with completely unique life experiences.
creating and connecting
Seniors and children also tap into their creativity together, painting planters and decorating cards for seniors residing in assisted living homes without family. Succulent plants are placed inside so the gift continues to grow. Every time the recipients notice the plant, their day will be brightened.
Creativity doesn’t stop with visual art, but continues as everyone learns a dance together. Old, young, big, or little. It doesn’t matter when you’re uniting in song and dance. It’s a chance to let loose and connect to each other at our core.
As Dutch artist Hans Bos says :
“While I dance I can not judge, I can not hate, I can not separate myself from life. I can only be joyful and whole. This is why I dance. – Hans Bos”
As we gather around for one last group photo, Senior Center director Lisa Zobel says “let’s send love to these plants that you’ve made today, so the nursing home recipients will receive it.” And the children do. Many of the little Unidogs place their hands over their hearts, radiating love to share with people they’ve never met. How truly moving.
Children sit next to their new friends on the bus, feeling calm and content from the good feeling of helping others and connecting. On the way out, Ms Hines remarks that today was “very special”.
Very special indeed. And we are just getting started.
Until next time!