Residents Give Back to the Community
Each month, the resident-led, Grace Civic Club, meets at Wesbury’s Grace Rehabilitation and Health Center to discuss the community service projects they will work on with the assistance of the Grace Life Enrichment Team. This club started as a spin-off from Grace’s Senior Scholars Civic Engagement Class that was taught by Allegheny College and the Maplewood Key Club. The residents were so impressed with how these groups were giving back to the community. In fact, they were so thrilled with the idea, they wanted to start a club of their own and get involved…and bam, the Grace Civic Club came to life!
The club’s projects are diverse. They range from making homemade dog treats for the Crawford County Humane Society and T-shirt dog toys for the ANNA shelter in Erie to get well cards for the local hospitalized kids, “Jarrod Boxes” which uplift the spirits of children going through chemotherapy, and children’s books for local preschools. They also make cards to send to soldiers and recently, in honor of Wesbury’s 100 years, residents made 100 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for CHAPS (Crawford County Mental Health Awareness Programs) and the St. James Haven in Meadville. Making sandwiches was opened up to residents from all over campus, not just to the participants of Senior Scholars and Grace Civic Club.
“It feels terrific to help out people in our community as a part of the activities we do here at Grace,” says Grace Civic Club member, Charlotte Wells. “It makes us feel better to share our time and talents, and you know we have a bit of time! We may have some limitations, but we are always open to suggestions on new jobs we can do that help people out; give us a call!”
Giving back to the community has given residents a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Melissa Swartwood, Grace Life Enrichment and Volunteer Services Director, says, “Our resident-driven, community service club is engaging our residents and providing social interaction and meaningful experiences within our community. This program improves quality of life and keeps our residents connected to the community while helping others in need… it is a win-win for everyone involved.”