A Vocational Valentine’s

Vocational Resource students found a creative way to lift the spirits of nursing home residents last weekend.


photo by D. Crickets

Collin Miller and Miah Viscuso arrange treat bags for residents at Cumberland Crossing nursing home.

Abby Pingpank, News Editor

It never hurts to be kind to others, especially during a health crisis, when giving back to the community is even more meaningful. That is exactly what NASH’s Vocational Resource classes did this past week. Ms. Beck and Ms. Brennan, two of the instructors of the course, arranged a way for their students to connect with their community safely during the pandemic. 

“This is for our Tiger Den students to learn different vocational tasks, and we are just doing a little service project to give back,” Beck said.

COVID-19 threw a wrench in the class’s normal plans for their annual service project.

“Before COVID-19, we could go to Cumberland Crossing, which is a nursing home, and we would set the tables,” Brennan explained. “We would go up there for about an hour and a half, and we would interact with the patients there.”

This year was certainly a disappointment, considering that the visits had been beneficial for students and residents alike.

“[It gave] our students vocational experiences,” Brennan added. “In the past, they have been great, and we have been able to go in there and work with the residents and do various tasks there.”

Beck and Brennan came up with an alternative that still allowed students to spread some joy to those inside the nursing home.

“Since we are not able to go because of COVID-19, we decided to keep in contact with our friends there and do gift bags for Valentine’s Day. We sent [the bags] up to make sure they know that the kids are still thinking about them,” Brennan said.

Patrick Birmingham and Ms. Brennan prepare with Valentine’s gift bags last Friday in the Vocational Resources room.
photo by D. Crickets

This gesture was especially meaningful, as the students have been able to befriend the residents at Cumberland Crossing. Before the pandemic, participated in various activities with each other. One student even led an aerobics class for residents.

“It’s wonderful because they really need us,” Brennan said. “They love having us, and the people come out and talk to the kids and we play ball with them or games or bingo.”

The past eleven months have been hard on many nursing home residents, as most have been completely isolated from the outside world and their loved ones. While there finally seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel, the vocational classes wanted to do their part to offer residents a glimmer of hope.

When Beck initially told students about their idea to send treat bags to the nursing home, the students all responded enthusiastically and were excited to help their friends at Cumberland Crossing.

Beck hopes that, at the end of the day, this activity demonstrates to everyone that “it’s important to give back and to always be kind to others.”