It only takes a simple selfless gesture to make a difference in the lives of others.
Students at Lincoln Elementary School joined thousands of others across the nation to recognize this fact in honor of national Make a Difference Day. The service-themed day was Saturday, but since this didn’t align with school hours, those at Lincoln extended the acts into Monday.
Five grades split up and visited various retirement homes throughout McPherson, playing games, giving crafts and otherwise brightening the day of the older residents. One group sang “Happy Birthday” to a resident turning 100.
“This gives us the opportunity go out and show kids what’s happening in their own community,” said Principal Jana Koehn, organizer of the day’s activities. “It’s a good start for young people who don’t see older people regularly.”
This is the first time the school has organized an event for Make a Difference Day, and based on the rave reviews from staff and residents at the homes, it could be the beginning of more frequent visits.
“I think there’s a lot of young people who can learn from older people, and the older people can also learn from the younger generations,” Koehn said.
Third graders went to the McPherson Care Center. Students played tic tac toe with colored candy corn and gave away crayon drawings of Halloween.
“I just like helping the community, and it’s fun,” Alex Henry said, who was matched with resident Rita Rodgers.
Resident Joel Drews played a game with two boys.
“I enjoyed meeting a bunch of new friends,” he said. “I hope they stay this happy when they grow up.”
Administrator Sheri Farris said she knows they did make a difference.
“It seems (the residents) really thrive having interaction with the kids,” she said. “That age group is so vibrant and they really appreciate their energy.”
Other grades visited The Cedars, Sterling House and Loving Care.