By Margaret Irwin,
Elder Director, Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council
Maya Angelou said, “When we give cheerfully and accept gracefully, everyone is blessed.”
One tangible outcome that we have learned from the constraints of a pandemic is that we can be at home (or school) and make a positive difference in another person’s life with the smallest of gestures. A gesture such as a handmade card can be more than the simple act of kindness. For it is in the act that the giver feels a sense of caring while the receiver feels cared for.
In December and early 2022, I reached out to several parents of kids in our local schools and asked if students might want to create “thinking of you” cards for our Eagle Rock elderly neighbors for the December holidays and Valentine’s Day. The enthusiastic responses grew exponentially with every email I received.
For weeks, students aged from elementary to high school created handmade cards for our elderly neighbors. Among our local artists we had participating were the 1st grade classes, Student Council, and students at Rockdale Elementary; students at Dahlia Heights Elementary; and Eagle Rock High School’s club “Girls Can Create.”
Eagle Rockers also making handmade cards included Lynh Haaga and her family; Jessie Schiewe and Joan, her mom; Marisol Sanchez-Pulgarin and children Joel and Lulu Pulgarin; and Velouria Perez, Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council Youth Director, and her mom.
In December, 250 cards were handed out and on February 14th, over 300 “Heart’s Day” cards – as the 1st graders called them – were handed out at three Eagle Rock senior apartment buildings. Each of the 200+ seniors who live in these buildings received a variety of handmade cards with everything from unicorn stickers to crayon drawings of human hands in shades of beige and brown colors.
Each card was unique and spoke to the genuine care of our youngest for the oldest among us. I observed this giving and receiving create a connection for the young and old alike. And I saw the simple act of giving a card with a cheerful message become a blessing for both the creator and the receiver.
If any local residents, schools, troops, or groups would like to participate in future outreach projects to seniors, please contact me at Margaret.firstname.lastname@example.org.