Valentine crafting with seniors in Fredericksburg

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Construction paper hearts, stickers and glitter glue covered tables in Poet’s Walk assisted living community in Fredericksburg Feb. 9, while conversation and laughter filled the room. The colorful mayhem was part of a St. Valentine's Day service projected led by St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church’s young adult group known as Verso l’Alto, which means, toward the top.

The group’s service leader Sarah Wessel chose the event as the group’s first project of the year based on her love of visiting the elderly when she was a child.  

“I've always loved to go and visit them and hear about their lives,” said Wessel.

The eight Verso l’Alto volunteers were joined by 10 residents to make cards for nurses, fellow residents and loved ones. Volunteer Gabriel Risk noticed that one of the residents was a little apprehensive about the project at first but after making a couple cards and with some encouragement, she began to enjoy the project.

While the group cut out hearts and glued together cards the volunteers asked the residents about their lives and interests. They found that many of the residents had traveled extensively in the past. One resident said that she was originally from Sweden but took a job as a stewardess for an American airline after attending the New York World’s Fair when she was 24. She made a card for her older sister who still lives in Sweden.

According to Poet’s Walk’s Activity Coordinator Khalid Hamilton, activities such as these are important to help the residents stay engaged and happy. “They can still do these crafts and it gives them a sense of accomplishment,” said Hamilton. “I would love to see you all here more often.”

After the event was over and the last scrap of construction paper swept away, the residents said goodbye to their new friends. Resident Natalie Macintosh gave them some last-minute words of wisdom. “This was fun,” she said. “It’s important to have fun because life can be overwhelming at times.”

Kassock is a freelance writer from Stafford

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019