You Are Not Alone This Holiday Season

Posted On Friday December 18, 2020

“I miss my loved ones too that I can’t see. But I am here for you.”

“I would give you the biggest hug if I could.”

Messages like these from District students are being delivered to about 1300 seniors in long-term care across the Kamloops-Thompson region this week, thanks to the efforts of two social workers from Royal Inland Hospital.

They are Carla Williams and Brenda Tynan. They were responding to a need they had been observing due to the impacts of increased isolation through the pandemic.

“It’s been hard on everybody,” said Williams. “We were talking one day about how much it hurt our hearts.”

They contacted the District office, and a call went out to principals asking for Christmas cards for seniors.

“The response was overwhelming,” said Williams. “It means we can send cards to seniors’ homes in Kamloops, Clearwater, Barriere, and Merritt. We’ll be delivering them to the homes this week.”

Having the opportunity to do something for seniors has stuck a chord in schools, especially because the holiday season will be so different for everyone this year.

“We were talking about how it feels,” said Christy Gauley, who teaches grade 5 and 6 students at Rayleigh Elementary.  “All the things we can’t do, and how it must be so lonely for seniors.”

Gauley said this project sparked something in her students, who also decided to write letters to share stories and jokes.

“No one really knows how hard it is for them not to see their family,” said Kenzie Johnstone, one of Gauley’s grade 5 students.

Lily Dekkers, in grade 6, said her message reflects how she feels about loved ones she has lost.

“We care about you, we’re thinking about you all the time, and we are missing you,” she said.

”Every class is involved in these kind of projects,” said Susie Mabee, Principal, South Sa-Hali Elementary. “It’s been a tough year and everyone is pretty spent, but we’re still focused on giving and gratitude.”

Schools are also filling hampers for Christmas Amalgamated and the Kamloops Food Bank and raising funds for toys. 

“The school focus in December seems to be centering around caring for our community,” said Claire Sullivan, Principal, Dallas Elementary. “We have wanted to acknowledge with our students that the pandemic has been difficult for them, and really everyone has had a tough time, but some are suffering more than others. As a school community we wanted show kindness and caring to others. That has been the ultimate goal of the Toy and Food Drive, as well as making holiday cards for seniors in care.”

For Williams, the overall message she hopes everyone feels in their hearts this December is that no one is alone.

“The whole community is united. We are all thinking about how this pandemic is impacting everyone and for anyone who does feel alone, we hope they will reach out.”

 

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