COVID-19 has been a difficult time for the young and the young at heart. Students have had to learn differently this year, away from the norms of traditional college life. Those in long-term care environments have had to isolate from the outside world, with little or no contact with loved ones. A small group of students in the Recreation Therapy program at Niagara College, with the assistance of Professor Christine Wilkinson, decided to prepare a gift bag for every resident of two LTC homes to open on Christmas day. After receiving many donations from the community, the students were able to include not only personal care items, but several DementiAbility activities for the residents to enjoy and engage with. The gift bags were delivered to Millennium Trail Manor in Niagara Falls and Gilmore Lodge in Fort Erie on Thursday, December 17, 2020. The gifts were delivered then, to provide sufficient time for the items to be quarantined before being distributed Christmas Day.
Carol Phillips, Associate Dean, sent a heartfelt note of thanks to the students who helped to secure donations, sort the activities, pack up the gifts and deliver them to the homes. In her email, she said “Kevin Heath wrote, “Wherever there is a human in need, there is an opportunity for kindness and to make a difference”’. Niagara College has indeed demonstrated how a college community can rally together to extend exemplary acts of human kindness and make a tremendous difference in the lives of those in need. Staff have expressed their sincere gratitude for the kindness generated by Niagara College and the local community during a very difficult time.
DementiAbility would like to send a special shout out to Christine and the Niagara College students, Brittany Richards, Jessica De Freitas and Jelena Vicentic, for their kindness, care and compassion, and to all who donated to such a worthy cause. You will truly make this season so much brighter for the residents, families and staff at Gilmore Lodge and Millennium Trail Manor.