by Karen Orlando
and Lori Wildt
On Dec. 4, Starpoint Central School students, in collaboration with a handful of students from Sacred Heart Academy, visited the Sterling House Niagara, a senior living community in Wheatfield. The students brought with them 47 handmade fleece blankets, which they made for the residents over the past two months.
With plans to give the residents the blanket gifts, little did the students know that they also would receive a gift ... a gift of satisfaction and appreciation for the elderly. On the bright sunny afternoon, the students loaded a bus wearing Santa hats and special holiday clothes to bring good cheer to the residents. There was singing, music playing, and cookies to share.
There were also special connections made with special people. What a treat to meet, Herb Wienke, Sterling House's first occupant who celebrated his 100th birthday this past March. He was witty, chatty, and so entertaining to talk to. Wienke has lived at the Sterling House since it opened, in January 2000.
What an experience it was to go visit residents room to room, and see the special homes and pieces of history of many elders in the community. Appreciation and gratitude was expressed by many residents, resulting in many smiles, reflections and even a teary eye from both students and residents.
This project could not have taken place without the help of a few special moms, a wonderful school counselor, a supportive principal, and many thoughtful kids. A very special thanks goes out to the student's families, who helped pay for the blanket material and JoAnn Fabrics, who offered a discount to support this meaningful project.