NEWS 3 NEIGHBORS: Shaw students helping seniors

Local News

In the shadow of Shaw High School is a senior living community called Morningside. Each Wednesday for the past 16 years, students from Shaw head across the street to interact with their senior neighbors

This long-standing relationship is the focus of tonight’s News 3 Neighbors story.

From the time the school bus rolls into the parking lot at Morningside Senior Community, the residents are already taking their positions around the community room for a morning of what can best be described as balloon ball.

Each Wednesday, six students from Shaw, who are juniors and seniors, spend two hours at Morningside.

It’s part of the community-based instruction program at Shaw taught by Jill Jones.

“We love working with the residents and doing our exercise with them. We love building relationships we have with our residents here,” says Jones, Shaw’s Community Based Instruction Director.

Melissa Ryland is the executive director at Morningside. She says the students spend their time in a variety of ways.

“We have a dietary department.  We have a maintenance department that they work with along with our activities.  Recreation is a big deal.  The residents really enjoy that.  That’s probably my favorite.  But they’re learning a lot of skills that they can take forward with them,” says Ryland.

Cedric Thrash is a junior at Shaw and he says this experience has opened up a new window of opportunity for him.

“They have a different atmosphere. I like it.  It feels good to me.  I like helping other people,” Thrash says.  “I try to make friends.  I will show how much respect I have for them,  and I’ll show them how much love that I have,” he continued.

I asked another Shaw junior Clinton Piett, what his favorite thing to do at Morningside and he laughed in his response. 

“Vacuum, clean the windows and do activities,” Piett responded. 

But the program is also teaching him a lot more about life.

“To be respectful, not be disobedient, always try to communicate with people,” says Piett.

And these are things that don’t go unnoticed by Ms. Jones. “I love seeing the students feeling like they’ve accomplished something. They come in here not knowing what to do and by the end of the year they feel like they’ve accomplished a goal,” says Jones. “The residents look forward to them
coming every week.

“I think it’s mutually beneficial for both of us,” says Ryland 

“They treat us so well here.  We always love coming to Morningside,” says Jones.

Melissa says the residents look forward to the students coming every week.  “I think it’s mutually beneficial for both of us.” Jill is quick to add, “They treat us so well here.  We always love coming to Morningside.”

The staff at Morningside sincerely appreciates the help provided by the students year after year.  To demonstrate that, they host a banquet at the end of the school year to honor the students, something that’s been a tradition now for sixteen years.

 If you know someone, or a group of people, who are making a difference in their community by doing acts of kindness and service, recommend them for a News 3 Neighbors story.  Just send your suggestion to Phil Scoggins at WRBL.  His email address is pscoggins@wrbl.com.  Your idea just could wind up on the air! 

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