Forget Me Not: Bringing children and elderly together | CraigDailyPress.com

Forget Me Not: Bringing children and elderly together

Noelle Leavitt Riley

Noelle Leavitt Riley

Sunset Elementary School's preschool students participated in a wonderful community service this week — they visited the elderly at Sandrock Ridge Care & Rehab on Wednesday and sang songs, bringing laughter and joy to Craig's senior citizens.

I can't think of a better way to make our elders feel special. For years I have preached about how important it is to call, write and visit our beloved seniors who are often forgotten by society.

By taking just a moment to show them you care can light up their world. It's not easy growing old and losing your hearing, eyesight and basic functions. What those preschoolers did this past week will put joy in the hearts of those elders for weeks.

"What a great connection between the little ones and the old folks," said Toni Tuttle, Sunset Elementary preschool teacher. "They just brightened (the elderly) up. It’s the smallest things that make a difference. We forget that they’re still people — they want that interaction."

Imagine being in a nursing home, all alone, no longer living in your own home, hoping for a card or a visit from someone who cares. I commend Sunset's preschoolers and teachers for taking the time to be so thoughtful.

It wouldn't have happened without the help of one very special Craig woman, Jobeth Tupa.

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She organized the entire event, and on Tuesday — Veteran's Day — she's taking a group of fifth-graders to sing patriotic songs to Sandrock's elderly residents, many of whom are war veterans.

"We're very lucky that she involves us," Tuttle said.

Not only that, but Tupa took a group of Sunset fifth-graders from Autum Tatman's class to Sunset Meadows II on Thursday for high tea, where three elders sat and enjoyed an hour of hot tea, pastries and good conversation.

Veteran Randy Mcfarand talked about his time in the Navy, explaining to the kids what the uniforms were like for men and women. Pat Gore brought out her food rationing stamps, explaining how important it used to be to save food during hard times.

"We enjoy them," Gore said of the kids, and Lavene Smith, who also lives at Sunset Meadows II agreed.

Tupa came up with the idea to do high tea after her neighbor, Myrtle, passed away this summer. Tupa and her sons — who are both Sunset Elementary students — used to visit Myrtle every Wednesday after school and have tea with her.

After she passed away, Tupa got all of her tea, and decided to host "high tea" at Sunset Meadows in memory of Myrtle.

I can't think of a better way to honor an elderly woman who passed away.

If we all just take a moment and give a little love and cheer to our senior citizens, it would not only brighten their day, it would brighten our world.

Way to go, Jobeth and the students of Sunset Elementary. Hopefully we can all be as thoughtful and giving to those who just need a little recognition from time to time — our elders.

Noelle Leavitt Riley is the managing editor of the Craig Daily Press and the Saturday Morning Press. She and her husband, Shawn Riley, run the Forget Me Not organization where they take donated flowers to the elderly living in nursing homes, letting them know they're not forgotten by society. She commends those who show love and respect to their elders.