Teens write to nursing home residents amid COVID-19 visit restrictions

HOLLADAY — They’re letters written to nobody specifically.

However beneath situations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the letters from center and excessive schoolers to residents of Life Care Heart of Salt Lake Metropolis have helped to raise their spirits at a time when their households are restricted from visiting them.

Like this letter:

“Expensive Particular Particular person,

I’m so sorry you may’t see your loved ones at the moment. Hopefully it blows over. This could possibly be a really tuff time for you nevertheless it’s essential to maintain you wholesome to be able to see your family members once more quickly. I hope you’re having day and that you simply see your loved ones quickly.


Marissa, eighth grade

Or this one:

“Expensive somebody very particular,

I hope all goes effectively! I perceive not every thing is wonderful proper now however every thing will get higher! It simply takes a little bit of believing and hoping.

It’s not straightforward not seeing somebody you’re keen on and take care of, not seeing moms and dads, siblings and simply household generally in a time like this. In each unhealthy a part of life, there’s at all times going to be an upcoming. Individuals who can get by means of struggles like this are very robust and it’s essential to hold combating and being robust! One thing good is coming everybody’s means, it simply will take time. Time and persistence are what all of us are going to wish.

“With the brand new day comes new power and new ideas” — Eleanor Roosevelt.

Preserve all constructive ideas. All the things will get higher. A reminder; you’re liked, you’re essential, and the constructive vitality you’re giving out may be very a lot wanted.


Serenity, eighth grade

Kathy Howa, a well being trainer at Jordan College District’s West Jordan Center College, requested her center college college students and Rowland Corridor Excessive College softball gamers she coaches to put in writing letters to residents of the nursing residence after studying the plaintive Fb submit of journalist Cathy Free. Howa and Free have recognized since they each had been college students at Hillcrest Excessive College.

Free’s submit mentioned: “I simply obtained a name from my mother’s care heart. Till additional discover, starting instantly, no guests are allowed in any respect. I’ve been visiting my mother faithfully, three days every week for 2 and a half years. I brighten her day and she or he brightens mine. I perceive why precautions need to be taken, however I nonetheless really feel like crying. I’ll name her twice a day, nevertheless it received’t be the identical. Let’s hope this doesn’t final lengthy.”

Howa enlisted the assistance of her center college college students to put in writing the letters as a category project, though it wasn’t graded and was voluntary. Her softball gamers volunteered to put in writing letters to the residents, too, which Howa mentioned has helped them keep linked as a staff as a result of they’ll not follow and play video games collectively.

The primary batches had been written on paper and hand-delivered by Howa. She then determined to {photograph} the handwritten letters and e-mail them to the care heart so there could be no threat of transmitting illness.

Howa mentioned she was deeply touched by what the scholars wrote. Their letters helped Howa study extra about her college students on a private degree and respect that the West Jordan Center College college students have deeply embraced the significance of being form, Howa mentioned.

The college’s directors, principal Dixie Garrison and assistant principals Danielle Hanson and Aaron Hunter, actively hunt down college students’ acts of kindness and raise them up as examples, Howa mentioned.

Chloe Coleman-Houghton, a senior at Rowland Hall, has been writing letters to patients of the Life Care Center who are unable to have visitors due to concerns about COVID-19 spread. Coleman-Houghton is photographed at her home in Salt Lake City on Thursday, March 26, 2020.

Chloe Coleman-Houghton, a senior at Rowland Corridor, has been writing letters to sufferers of the Life Care Heart who’re unable to have guests on account of issues about COVID-19 unfold. Coleman-Houghton is photographed at her residence in Salt Lake Metropolis on Thursday, March 26, 2020.
Laura Seitz, Deseret Information

“This was an enormous strategy to see the kindness come out of their hearts. It type of ties in with what our principal is attempting to get everybody to see, there’s a lot kindness round and we simply need to get it out, particularly proper now,” she mentioned.

Chloe Coleman-Houghton, one of many co-captains of Rowland Corridor’s softball staff who wrote a letter and inspired her teammates to do the identical, mentioned she largely needed the recipient to know that somebody was pondering of them.

“I don’t assume anybody has ever been in a scenario like this. For me, one of many issues that has stored me going is to have household round. For them that don’t have it, I needed to guarantee that they knew somebody was nonetheless there, that somebody was enthusiastic about them,” Coleman-Houghton mentioned.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which has compelled colleges into “gentle closure” and disrupted spring athletic seasons for top schoolers, has given folks time to replicate on their lives, mentioned Coleman-Houghton.

“I’ve carried out loads of reflection on my household and the way essential they’re to me contemplating these are the one folks I’m surrounded by,” she mentioned.

“It’s not enjoyable, however there’s some a part of it that I believe we’ll study from and we’ll presumably change our life-style for the higher or worse. I believe each side of it’s going to come. I believe you will need to replicate and take time in our personal headspace with out all the distractions of the world,” Coleman-Houghton mentioned.

She mentioned she has not but obtained a response to her letter, however she hopes she is going to.

Free shared her mom’s response in a first-person account printed within the Washington Publish.

“Getting by means of that is onerous, however due to the letters, we all know that no person is being forgotten. It’s so candy that these youngsters care.”

Nick Zullo, social companies director of Life Care Heart of Salt Lake Metropolis, mentioned the letters had been notably welcome as a result of not solely are guests not allowed, residents aren’t capable of collect for normal actions corresponding to bingo, musical performances, cognitive video games and afternoon visits to the middle’s ice cream parlor on account of social distancing suggestions.

Meaning residents should keep of their rooms, and a few are merely bored.

Zullo mentioned in an e-mail that letters “are an distinctive expertise for the residents. It creates interplay alternatives with employees who’re delivering and studying the letters with, if not studying them to, the residents. Additionally, many residents have expressed awe that younger persons are pondering of them. It’s fantastic to see them expertise hope in a greater world realizing that youth are pondering of others greater than self.”

The middle’s residents are receiving extra mail generally from their households and mates however some get greater than others.

“As I used to be delivering all this mail, a gentleman appeared up at me from his wheelchair in hopeful anticipation, ‘Did I get a letter?’ For as soon as, I used to be capable of say, ‘Sure, you probably did! Right here it’s. It’s addressed to you. See … it says ‘To a Very Particular Particular person.’

“We opened the letter collectively and it was such a deal with. The younger particular person wrote simply the right compassionate, enthusiastic letter!” Zullo mentioned.

Though Howa put the wheels in movement to ship the letters, she is fast to defer credit score to her college students and softball gamers.

“That is all on my youngsters. They did it they usually’re simply sweethearts.”

Howa mentioned she hopes that the chance to succeed in out to others will assist her college students deal with the uncertainty introduced on the COVID-19 pandemic, being displaced from their colleges and the extra tasks some have assumed as they handle their youthful siblings whereas their dad and mom work.

“If somebody can take this to somebody’s mother that they’ll’t see, can’t even have any guests, and it brightens their day, then you definately’re doing one thing that’s constructive,” Howa mentioned.

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