Giving Back Knows No Age
Local seniors gift area students with a chance to read all year long
The holiday season is a time for tradition, gathering and making memories. Residents from Botsford Commons Senior Community know how to do this; some of them have been celebrating for nearly a century. The residents know that gathering with friends of all ages is important, even if the generation gap is longer than most people’s lifetime.
Now in its sixth year, the “Giving Tree” event at Botsford Commons is still going strong. With financial support from residents, staff and families, books are purchased for every first grade student at partnering Botsford Elementary and distributed during this heart-warming event just before the Christmas holiday.
At the event, residents find their seats around the perimeter of the room, a perfect view to watch the first graders sing familiar holiday carols, in their youthful voices. The songs, led by the students and their teachers, were so familiar to everyone in the room it was hard not to sing along. Even for the residents with memory impairments, the words sung right out of their mouths with ease, like they were kids again. It was a beautiful moment, watching people nearly a century apart in age sing the same song, with the same smile and with the same enjoyment. The spirit of tradition was no doubt, alive and well.
As the final chorus of Jingle Bells came to an end, a loud “HO! HO! HO!” rang out and all the students jumped – Santa was there. Santa greeted everyone including Mary Slucter, a 99 year old resident at Botsford Commons. Slucter took the microphone and spoke to the students, “All you children, I’m so glad you’re here today to see Santa and to see me too, I’m 99 years old!” After a gasp from the students and a chuckle to follow, the room learned it was a student’s birthday, she was turning 7. Amazing to think 92 years separated them, but the celebration they were sharing was equally exciting for both; the holiday spirit knows no age, that’s a fact.
Santa and his helpful elves were so excited to tell the students they were on the “nice list” and he had gifts for them. After every child was handed a personalized bag of books, Santa did the countdown and all at once the children opened their gifts. The yelps, giggles and “look what I got” announcements were a warm feeling for everyone in the room, a holiday memory not only captured in the mind, but also in the heart.
This year’s Giving Tree event at Botsford Commons Senior Community satisfied all the emotions necessary to make up the “most wonderful time of the year.” The students provided the cheers of excitement with their new books, the seniors showed off proud grins knowing they gifted special kids and the age group in the middle, the sandwich generation, they simply watched. They watched very opposite ends of the age spectrum celebrate together, sing together and appreciate each other together. Botsford Commons is proud of the relationship with Botsford Elementary and gather together throughout the entire year, not just during the holidays, and they plan to continue their reading tradition for years to come.
Special thanks to the City of Farmington Hills for their donation of stuffed animals and to Painting with A Twist of Farmington for their donation of a paintings; every child received both. Senior Helpers of Farmington Hills and Morrison Food Service were also supporters. To learn more about these generous businesses or Botsford Commons Senior Community, please call 248-426-6903.
Botsford Commons – A Beaumont Community is a non-profit corporation providing housing and service options for seniors. Located on a 30-acre campus in Farmington Hills, Michigan, the award-winning Community offers a full continuum of care for the area’s senior population including short stay rehabilitation services, long-term care and skilled nursing, privately owned condominiums, and rental options for senior apartments and assisted living suites. Botsford Commons – A Beaumont Community was recently awarded a Level III Quality Seal from the Michigan Center for Assisted Living (MCAL) and a past Bronze National Quality Award from the American Health Care Association/ National Center for Assisted Living. For more information visit the website at: www.botsfordcommons.org.