By Chris Kieffer
TUPELO – Pierce Street Elementary School third-grader Cali Allison admitted she was a little nervous before visiting Traceway Retirement Community on Wednesday.
She hadn’t spent much time in a retirement center and did not know what to expect.
“The first person I was around was really nice,” said Cali, 8. “The more I was around, the better I got.”
Cali and other members of the school’s Share Your HeART club visited three retirement centers on Wednesday: Traceway, Avonlea and Samaritan Gardens. They delivered ornaments students at the school had made, visited with residents and helped decorate a Christmas tree.
“I’m a big believer that kids really want to talk to the elderly, but they are so far removed and don’t know how,” said Pierce Street teacher Pam Maddox, who oversees the club. “This is one way to help them. They could not wait to come.”
The school hosted a Share Your HeART night in November in which students, siblings, parents and grandparents gathered and made ornaments using recycled objects, such as light bulbs, paper and aluminum cans. They made more than 300 ornaments.
On Wednesday, they delivered those ornaments and also gave residents paper boxes they made with a message wishing them “Merry Christmas.”
“How great it is to have young people come and bring some life here,” said Traceway resident Liz Rice, 89. “We look forward to each and every young group that comes, especially the ones who are still in school.”
This is the third year of Share your HeART, which is connected to the school’s arts integration efforts. In the past, they made cards for military members and wreaths for businesses.
“I like making people’s lives happy,” said third-grader Elia Wright, 9.