Residents of the senior living community in Parkville are dreaming of a green holiday, thanks to some creative, kind and environmentally conscious students.
A class of Kingsville third-graders, dubbed the , visited Oak Crest’s Renaissance Gardens extended-care facility on Wednesday morning to deliver several boxes filled with the school’s special homemade ornaments.
“We sent out information about a month ago asking students to make ornaments from recycled and/or green materials,” said third-grade teacher Amy DeNike. “We have snowmen made from old yogurt containers, ornaments made from paper towel rolls, you name it.”
It’s no coincidence that Kingsville recently achieved , as recognized by the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education. To gain certification, Kingsville had to complete a two-year application process that included environmental instruction, in-school conservation efforts and school-community partnerships.
In addition, the school has emphasized kindness throughout the year, with each student regularly recording good deeds in a notebook they call a “Kindness Keeper.”
There was certainly plenty to write about following Wednesday’s program, which also included the reciting of poems, a warm greeting from Principal Susan Felts and caroling by Kingsville’s fourth- and fifth-grade Sunshine Singers, under the direction of Holly McCarthy.
“A program such as this one is guaranteed to leave a smile on any resident's face,” said Alison Krull, volunteer program coordinator at Oak Crest. “The youth possess an energy that is contagious and able to temporarily relieve the residents' health concerns and worries. It's these moments of joy that we strive try to promote.”
Krull, the daughter of a former Kingsville Elementary School teacher, helped coordinate Wednesday’s program along with colleague Heather Mazza, who happens to be one of DeNike’s former students.
One of the current third-graders, Maddie Mueller, eagerly handed out ornaments on Wednesday. “It means a lot to be able to do this,” she said. “I feel kind.”
Among the nearly 50 Oak Crest residents in attendance was Richard Larson, who found himself with three ornaments in his possession by the conclusion of the program. “I’ve got the jackpot!” he exclaimed.
“It’s a wonderful thing for the kids to be able to do this,” Larson added, noting that the students’ holiday excitement was infectious. “I bet that if you walked along with them, no matter where they go this week, they’ll probably all be singing!”