The isolation associated with COVID-19 has been felt by all of us, but especially the youth and seniors in our community.
For that reason, St. John Catholic School in Arthur felt it was important to have their students connect with the staff and residents of Caressant Care, a local long-term care facility that has been a victim of a COVID-19 outbreak, to provide a video of songs to help lift their spirits through this challenging time.
“In a small community, there are so many connections between our students, the residents, and staff. While not all residents are local, there are many residents who are pillars of our small community and they have given so much in years past. It is the least that we can do to look for ways to connect with them in these challenging times. Everyone has felt isolated in the current pandemic, but especially our seniors,” shared MaryJo Richardson and Melissa Downey, teachers at St. John – Arthur.
In previous years, the grade 1/2 and 2/3 teachers, Richardson and Downey had taken their classes to the nursing home to sing for the residents.
“Due to the pandemic, many special projects the teachers have teamed up for in the past have had to be put on hold, due to staying in class cohorts and not having visitors into the school.”
Faced with the current circumstances, Downey and Richardson turned to remote options to be able to share some cheer with the staff and residents. The teachers enlisted the support of Helena Rooyakkers, choir director and a community friend of St. John - Arthur to organize Downey and Richardson’s classes on a Team meeting where they recorded a variety of songs for Caressant Care.
With both classes singing and doing actions to the songs at home, there were a total of 32 students involved in making the video.
“Some students have family members who are residents and some of the parents in our school community work at Caressant Care as well, so they were excited to work on this special project,” they said. “We are so blessed to have Helena Rooyakkers in our community, as she bridges both of our groups together. She has been involved with musical events and musical therapy at Caressant Care over the years and helps to bring us all together in song.”
The contact at Caressant Care relayed that the video would provide a smile on all their faces, maybe a few tears as well. Sharing that this has been extremely hard on everyone and anything to lighten their spirits is appreciated.
“We hope that once this pandemic is behind us, we can come together again in person.”