Major Margaret Hill thanks students from White Lick Elementary School for their service to the seniors at Booth Manor.

The life of a senior citizen can be filled with mundane routines and loneliness. In an effort to change that, third and fourth grade students from White Lick Elementary School blessed the residents of The Salvation Army’s low income senior housing as part of their Service Learning Project.  It was just another fine example of the character of these elementary school students who have selflessly responded to an awareness of needs in their community.

Led by fourth grade teacher Emily Steffen, this was the second project carried out by these students for The Salvation Army .  Earlier in the year, these same students were so moved by the reality of homelessness for the women and children at our shelter, that they coordinated making and delivering blankets and care packages to the shelter.

On this sunny day at Booth Manor, home to 75 seniors, curious residents greeted the group of energetic youngsters as they arrived with teachers and parents. The students came ready to unload and deliver care boxes filled with food, toiletries and handmade scarves. After making sure every resident on all three floors received a gift, the students assembled for a talent show in the dining hall.  Amidst juggling plastic discs and a hip-hop dance routine, the seniors were visibly moved by the students’ enthusiasm, clapping and smiling as the children performed.

Continuing in the mode of service, the children took on the roles of waitstaff, gathering drink and pizza orders from the seniors, sitting with some of them as they ate. Before returning to their classrooms, the children gathered around for a few rounds of Bingo with the seniors. As the students packed up for the ride back to their classrooms, one senior was heard  saying, “Thank you for bringing these wonderful children here today! I wish they could be here everyday!”

Service Learning Projects are a great way to teach youth about the importance of giving back to their communities. To view the video of White Lick’s  service project, click on the highlighted link to their school in this story.  If you’d like information about how you can participate in such an experience, please contact our volunteer coordinator Elizabeth Wilhelm at (317)224-1010 or Julia Sipes at (317)224-1067