The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

CNA students craft with seniors


December 21, 2021

Submitted Photo

WESTGATE RESIDENT Dennis Gayan works with Amanda Sprague, CNA instructor with the GOISD and Elaina Johnston, 16, of Bessemer, a student in the CNA program, to paint a Christmas Tree on Thursday morning at the nursing facility in Ironwood.


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Ironwood - Residents of the Westgate Nursing Home participated in a variety of crafts with the assistance of students in the Gogebic-Ontonagon Intermediate School District's CNA program on Thursday.

Students helped residents to make clothes pin reindeer, popsicle stick Christmas trees, and paint a picture of a snowman, Santa Claus, or Christmas Tree.

"The resident's ability to participate determined the craft they would do with each resident," said Amanda Sprague, CNA instructor with the GOISD. "The students felt flexibility was important for selecting a project."

The event is annually a part of the student's curriculum. Sprague said students are required to organize and implement a student-led project.

Sprague said the students "love to make a difference in their community" with the annual event, although last year because of the pandemic students were not able to do craft projects with the residents, so they hung bird feeders outside of the residents windows.

In order to enter the facility this year all participants had to be tested for COVID-19 in advance, have their temperature checked at the door and students had to wear N95 masks.

Seventeen students and 15 residents participated, according to Sprague.

Along with crafting with the seniors, the students brought grippy socks they made for the residents as Christmas gifts, using regular soft socks and puffy paint. The students applied the paint on the bottom of the socks, with messages and images of Christmas cheer.

"Now that just made my Christmas," resident Raymond (Doc) Burchell was overheard saying by Marisa Buerger, Rehab Director at Westgate. "It was so sweet. He just could not stop smiling," Buerger said.

Sprague said there was a lot of hand holding and many hugs throughout the event.

"It can get a bit emotional for the residents and the students, especially since COVID has shut down (long term care) facilities for an extended period of time," she said. "The students are generally nervous, but quickly warm up to the residents. The residents love having the students and the staff is always so welcoming."


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