[Photo Courtesy of the South American Division]

General Conference

Children become virtual friends of nursing home residents

Combating social distance, children exchange letters and videos with seniors

Brazil | Paulo Ribeiro

What would be the best gift to give to an older person? Some may think of a pair of socks, a box of tissues, or pajamas. But for the children of 2nd grade A at Colégio Adventista de Joinville (Saguaçu unit), it was becoming friends with the elderly who live in Estrela do Amanhã in Joinville, in the interior of Santa Catarina, Brazil. Due to the pandemic, children have built bonds of friendship with residents of the nursing home through videos, letters, and posters.
According to the home’s coordinator, Eliana dos Santos Barbosa, they were happy and grateful for the solidarity of the students. 

"It was gratifying because the residents want affection, and especially coming from children, they loved it," she says.

The idea for this outreach came up while reading the book O Aniversário do Vovô, written by Sueli Ferreira de Oliveira and published by Casa Publadora Brasileira (CPB). The book tells the story of a grandpa who asked a friend for a birthday present since everyone at home had their own activities, work, and school, and he was alone.

Michelle Vecchi, the Adventist college's pedagogical coordinator for early childhood education, explains that reading the book was part of the Reli project. Every two months students read a work and put into practice what they have learned.

Engaged parents and children 

According to professor Juliana Wuthstrack, the teacher responsible for the children, the project lasted about two months. At the end of the two months, students delivered kits with hygiene and beauty products, collected by the students’ families, for their new friends. 

This article was originally published on the South American Division’s Portuguese news site