Local elementary school students make Thanksgiving gifts for Riverview residents

‘I am very proud of the students for their hard work and care they put into the project’

Riverview Manor residents were surprised to find gifts waiting for them at Thanksgiving, and what they received made the holiday extra special for them.

Grade 2 and 3 students at St. Joseph’s Catholic Elementary School in Douro created Thanksgiving artwork and letters that were sent to residents at the Peterborough long-term care home.

The artwork the children created had Thanksgiving motifs, such as cornucopias filled with harvested vegetables and, of course, turkeys. The artwork was accompanied by letters students wrote to residents.

The idea for the project came from Nick McIlwain, a personal support worker at Riverview Manor, and his wife.

Nick and his wife spoke with a teacher they know at St. Joseph’s about the project, and the teacher got on board with the idea.

The students created the artwork and wrote the letters as part of a segment of their religion program that focuses on doing charitable work and supporting social justice.

Nick has seen first hand the benefits children can bring to residents and the benefits residents can bring to children.

Up until the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, Nick’s two children would visit Riverview Manor during special holidays, bringing cards with them they would make for residents.

Nick says the residents “really enjoyed seeing our children” and the experience was also rewarding to Nick’s son and daughter, “who have been taught the importance of building relationships based on kindness and respect,” Nick says.

Residents were so pleased with their gifts at Thanksgiving that residents’ council president Peter Bascan thanked Nick for his part in getting the project off the ground.

Nick hands credit to the students for their work.

“I am very proud of the students for their hard work and care they put into the project,” he says.

“The residents were very happy to receive picture boxes and little books from the children,” he says.

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