Valentine's Day exchange at Avamere Court at Keizer in Keizer, Oregon

The staff at Avamere Court at Keizer, The Arbor at Avamere Court, and Signature Healthcare at Home as well as local elementary students made a difference with seniors in the Keizer community.

Making a difference with love

Personnel at the three communities contacted fifth-grade teacher Jeanne Williams at Keizer Elementary with an idea. They asked her if she would be interested in being part of a Valentine’s Day exchange between a few students at Keizer Elementary and the residents of Avamere and Signature’s home-bound and hospice patients.

Students created handmade cards, creatively called “Val-O-Grams,” to exchange with patients and residents.

“I was immediately interested,” said Williams. “What I thought would be a few classrooms participating exchanging with approximately 50-100 residents bloomed into 400 students blessing 400 residents and patients.”

This allowed the students of Keizer Elementary the opportunity to give of themselves and hopefully gain insight into the lives of our valuable older generation who are full of love and share experiences from which we can all glean. This also gives our young generation an opportunity to demonstrate that same love and attention towards our often-overlooked senior community.

“My hope is that this door is now open for Keizer Elementary students to be a part of the Keizer senior community so that we can be a blessing to them and that in return, we can be blessed ourselves,” said Williams.

An enjoyable Valentine’s activity for all

Williams said the exchange went just as she hoped.

“The kids were so very excited before, during, and after the trip to Avamere,” she said. “I was so very blessed just watching the interactions between the kids and their new friends.”

She smiled and then continued, “When we arrived back at Keizer Elementary, some of the kids were already planning out their next visit.  I’m excited to see how we can foster this new relationship with our seniors.”

Williams also has a special interest in fostering this amazing project within the Keizer community – both her parents reside at Avamere. When visiting with them, she has had several opportunities to sit with many of their residents and saw first-hand how precious they are.

Dawn Hull, one of the organizers of this event, concluded, “I believe our residents will experience so much joy when they receive these Valentine cards. We are hoping they will be reminded of happy traditions from childhood. It’s all about enriching the lives of those we serve.”

Note from the editor: This article was also published in Keizer Times.