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Cool Schools: Riverside Intermediate students forming special bonds with senior citizens

PLYMOUTH, Ind.-It’s not your typical middle school field trip.

Riverside intermediate students aren’t traveling to a local museum or a police station. Instead, they are making new friends at an assisted living facility in Plymouth.

I was thinking about a way to bring our students into the community and serve in a different aspect and also learn then without being just within the walls here at school,” said Ryan Welch, Assistant Principal.

“When I was visiting a family member at an assisted living complex in a different town, I thought this is something that I can do here in my own community with the students here and we can make a difference,” Welch said.

During this school year, all 565 riverside students will visit Miller’s Assisted Living to get the chance to read books, gain some life lessons or just use the experience as an opportunity to get to know senior citizens living in their community.

“The residents have absolutely loved it,” said Anna Corbett, Community Relations Director for Miller’s Assisted Living. “Some of them have families that live out of state and don’t get to interact with kids very often.”

It’s only a half hour visit. But, each kid walks out those doors with a special memory and the confidence to be able to talk to anybody at any time.

“It was something that you don’t get to do often,” said Evan Brenneman, a 6th grade student.

“[My resident] taught us many different things about never giving up and overcoming your fears,” said Loany Galeano-Breve, a 6th grade student. “I was really happy that she got to talk to us about that.”

Welch is hoping to give students more opportunities for students to learn outside of the classroom. Although a lot of planning is involved, seeing their reactions makes it all worth it.

“Even the littlest act can make someone’s day and our students are definitely doing that by making these visits,” Welch said.

Since the school can’t take all 565 students at once, groups of about 60 kids will visit Miller’s once a month for the remainder of the school year.

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