SPARKS kids have some fun with seniors at Horizon Center

May 9, 2019

By Pat Maurer

Clare’s Horizon Senior Living Center residents enjoyed an hour and a half of fun with Farwell’s SPARKS students last Thursday.

The SPARKS (Students Participating in Academics and Recreation for Knowledge and Success) travel to Horizon once or twice a month to do “activities” with the seniors there.

Carol Hubble and Sophie (6th grade) make some bead bracelets together.

Activities Director Wilda Bushong said, “Activities help keep minds active.”
Thursday afternoon the students played games, drew pictures and made bead jewelry and magnets for Mother’s Day with the residents’ help.

Elizabeth Kraljevich teaches Seventh graders Mya and Bow the finer points of crocheting.

Some students were even learning how to crochet with the help of resident Elizabeth Kraljevich, who said, “I’ve been crocheting since I was a youngster.”

The community room at the center was set up with tables featuring the different activities.

Fifth graders Lexi and Morgan play a game of “Sorry” with Margie Ulrich.

On other visits, the students read to residents, enjoy games and drawing and painting, and play the “clock game.”

“The students are pen pals with the residents,” Bushong said.
As Activities Director at Horizon, Bushong plans daily activities for the residents. They enjoy visits from the dancing Red Hat Strutters; singing performances by Jonathan Harper; enjoy physical activities and learn sign language from Mid Michigan Industries clients; do chair exercises with Rebecca from The Care Team; and every summer Thursday evening enjoy music in the Clare City Park. Wine, Cheese and Cards are the activities on Friday and bingo is on Tuesday and Thursdays. They have church services every Saturday morning and on one Sunday each month the Mennonite Choir performs for them.

Brandi Robinson, Site Coordinator for the 21 CCLC SPARKS Program at Farwell Middle School, said, “We have recently been working on a community service project in the different grades. Partnering with Horizon Senior Center in Clare was a great opportunity for our kids to reach out to the community and build relationships. Our students were focused on gratitude and making everyone feel important.”

She said fourth to seventh grade students participate in the program, meeting Monday through Thursday after school from 3 to 5:30 p.m. “We engage the students in different activities that revolve around ways of learning the school day material. We have Math, English Language Arts, recreation, crafts, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) projects.”

“Our goal at SPARKS is to provide a safe space for kids to be after school. We provide them with a dinner and a snack, as well as multiple opportunities to build friendships and relationships in the community, all while improving grades and social skills that they will use for years to come,” she added.

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