A community literacy course is generating a culture of character and respect, and one project features students writing biographies of senior citizen residents at a medical facility.

The elective service-learning course was developed by Jonesville High Schoo teacher Scarlet Sager and is called Community Literacy: Comets Who Care – Creating a Culture of Character and Respect.

Students Writing Biographies of Senior Center Residents

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The class of 13 students toured the nursing facility and were paired up with assigned residents.  THen they participated in an exercise class called Morning Motions with the seniors.  After spending time during the class with residents, students were given a tour of the facility.

“We are conducting the course in conjunction with the Hillsdale Medical Care and Rehabilitation Facility,” Sager said. “We hope to foster an understanding of the generations and the gaps involved.”

Sager said the students in this highly-structured service learning course are special because they’ve chosen to participate and have a genuine interest in older people.

“This course isn’t for everybody,” Sager said. “These kids have an innate desire to learn about this kind of community service.”

One of the requirements of the course is to complete the “My Place in History Project,” which involves reading a biography or autobiography about someone in history from 1925 to the present. The class will create topics, conduct letter writing and interviews and form event planning committees to prepare for a group interview session with participating residents at the facility. With information from the interview session, they will write a biography of their paired resident. The biographies will be compiled and given to the facility.

Students Writing Biographies of Senior Center Residents

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The students brought posters they made for the residents, but first they met activity director Laurie Newell who took them into the Great Room where residents sat in a circle in their chairs and wheelchairs. There, the students met and sat next to their assigned residents and participated in simple exercises like rolling their shoulders and lifting their arms.

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