Whenever we think of old age, the image of an elderly woman naturally comes to mind, with white hair and glasses, doing some manual work with needles, thread, and cloth. A mistake by those who think this is a routine only for the most experienced, these crafts are now performed by the hands of a very young group, precisely to honor those who are now enjoying their golden years.
The month of July is the time reserved for the celebration of grandparents (July 26 is Grandparents' Day). As not all old people have the opportunity to receive a hug on this date, students in the sixth year of elementary school at Colégio Adventista de Cariacica, in Espírito Santo, through the Art Education class, made scarves to warm the winter of 24 elderly people from the Djalma Gonçalves Nursing Home, located in the city.
Youth here, wool over there—the creative process involves a lot of patience and works on the students' motor coordination and concentration. “The project consists of learning how to make a scarf, combining grandparents' month, winter, and solidarity”, summarizes Karoline Silva Santa'Ana Simões, the Artistic Education teacher responsible for the “Adopt a grandmother or a grandfather” project. Four groups were involved in the work, resulting in the production of around 60 scarves.
When the artisan production was ready, the students headed for the high point of the action. In a small caravan with cars decorated with balloons, about 15 students and teachers headed to the nursing home.
Gift of Love
Arriving at the place, many posters, joy, singing, and affection were taken to the elderly, who responded with delighted looks and a lot of gratitude. "Very handsome! I am very cheerful. I love children… what a beautiful thing this is here!” exclaimed 89-year-old Chendina Berger.
The moment of handing over the handmade scarves was very important, both for the elderly and the students who were involved in the production. “For me, it was a learning experience, in which I was able to help myself and also help other people who need it so much. It was really cool. I could see their joy!” said 11-year-old student Ana Elisa Gama Bastos.
Far Beyond Scarves
In addition to the handmade production of scarves, the entire school community was also involved in the collection of warm clothes to be donated to the elderly. The experience of contact with the elderly marked the memory of the “borrowed” grandchildren. “It was very gratifying because we helped, and this is good for us, too. Grandparents are very important in our lives. They make us happy!” emphasized student João Pedro Xavier Belshoff.
Apparently, the goal was more than achieved, because "students' contact with the elderly makes them learn in practice what it means to have empathy, to be supportive, seeing that they can make a difference in someone's life", observed Simões.