Archive for Sunday, June 23, 2002

Youth volunteers share smiles with Brandon Woods residents

June 23, 2002


A group of youth volunteers who visited residents at Brandon Woods Retirement Community walked away with some unexpected benefits.

Like bags of potato chips, for instance.

"I have a friend who runs the Lay's potato chip company. He always sends me a two-week supply," resident Fern Allen said as she produced a box full of the snacks from beneath her chair and passed them out to the youngsters visiting her room Saturday afternoon.

"I'm sure glad to see you little kids," she said. "Don't forget me. Come on back and see me any time."

Sixteen area children from the Youth Volunteer Council of Douglas County spent a few hours Saturday walking the corridors at Brandon Woods, sharing hellos, smiles and conversations with the home's elderly residents. It was the first service project for the council, which has been meeting since April under the direction of the Roger Hill Volunteer Center.

Brock Norwood, 11, said the residents' stories were the best part about visiting the nursing home.

"You get to hear about stuff from before you were born," he said.

Volunteers brought instruments, games and even a few dogs to help entertain residents. Jennifer Green, who will be a sophomore at Free State High School in the fall, demonstrated her flag-twirling skills for resident Isabel Wykoff with a silky green and blue banner. Green explained to Wykoff that entire groups of girls spun the flags in unison at high school football games.

"I bet that looks pretty," Wykoff said.

The aim of the youth council is to give young people a group venue for volunteerism, said Michelle Heller, Roger Hill Volunteer Center coordinator.

"It's kind of intimidating to go out and volunteer by yourself," she said. "A lot of them wanted to help, they just didn't know how to go about it."

As many as 50 children have attended council meetings, which are twice a month. For more information about the council, including upcoming volunteer opportunities, call the center at 865-5030.

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