TOWN OF BELOIT — Reading a hand-crafted card aloud with a big smile, Dolores Bausum thanked first-grader Sam Dezwarte for his gift.
Bausum, 92, said her entire day was made brighter when a group of students from Powers Elementary School visited Riverside Terrace Assisted Living on Friday to read poems, give Valentine’s Day cards and spread cheer among the residents.
After looking over both sides of Sam’s card, complete with a colorful rocket ship, Bausum offered the student a Valentine’s Day gram in return.
“It gives them a good experience with the older generation, having the kids interacting with the residents,” said Powers first-grade teacher Kelsey Jones, who organized the activity with help from Principal Vickie Smith.
“It kind of gets them out of their comfort zone,” Jones said. “They really enjoy having the kids come in and having visitors. The kids are super friendly and loving towards them.”
Smith said staff at Powers bring students to Riverside Terrace several times each year for various holiday activities. A group of students last visited around Halloween.
“The students, they’re a little shy at first, but then they’re really good at it,” Smith said. “The residents love it.”
Riverside Terrace Activities Coordinator Brooke Monyelle said Friday’s visit was the highlights of the day for the facility’s 49 residents.
“It just warms their hearts. They love interacting with kids, especially on Valentine’s Day. This is special,” Monyelle said.
Glen Lee, a resident, used to work as a janitor in the School District of Beloit. Friday’s visit was a nice callback to his years working at local schools.
“We had a very nice program. It’s nice to be around kids,” Lee said.