Burnbrae Gardens residents and local students forming meaningful bonds through program

Campbellford District High School student Sara Ferguson (right) is pictured here with Burnbrae Gardens resident Marlene Lintern. Sara has been coming to Burnbrae every Wednesday for the past month to help staff members and spend time with residents as part of a program.

‘I think it’s a great learning opportunity all the way around’

A collaboration between Burnbrae Gardens and a local school is providing two students with important learning opportunities, while creating meaningful bonds with the Campbellford long-term care home’s residents.

Burnbrae Gardens resident Frank Trombley (left) and Campbellford District High School student Jesse McNeill have collaborated on projects together, including the building of the model car Jesse is seen holding.

Jesse McNeill and Sara Ferguson are both students in the Learning and Life Skills program at Campbellford District High School. The pair has been coming to Burnbrae Gardens every Wednesday morning for the past month to help staff members with chores and to spend one-to-one time with residents.

On a typical day, Jesse and Sara will start by helping the laundry department fold clothing and towels. After that, Sara usually helps pass out refreshments while Jesse teams up with resident Frank Trombley to help Frank with one of the projects he’s always working on.

“The students look forward to it and I think the residents look forward to seeing them, too,” says educational assistant Mary Ellen Sherwin, who accompanies Jesse and Sara to Burnbrae Gardens every Wednesday.

Mary Ellen says the bonding and friendships that form between the students and residents, coupled with the heightened sense of self-confidence the students garner, are the key results she has seen from the initiative.

“I think it’s a great learning opportunity all the way around,” she says. “I think this program is a good thing. The seniors like the students, and it’s a good fit.”

Sara says her favourite part of the Wednesday visits is spending time with the residents.

“I like working with the people and I like talking to them,” she says.

Jesse says he has enjoyed spending time with Frank, noting the two recently put together a model car Jesse brought to the home. The two are now in the process of painting the model.

“What I’ve also enjoyed so far is doing the laundry and also introducing myself to the people, and usually just chatting to people as well,” Jesse says.

The program will continue until the end of June.

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