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Arundel High School Connects with Senior Center; Raises Funds for Global Competition

rsz_1seniorsArundel High School Connects with Kris-Leigh Assisted Living Center

On Saturday, April 2, 2011, Arundel High School’s Destination Imagination team earned an “Outstanding” rating at the Maryland Destination Imagination Tournament.  They also earned the only Torchbearer Award at the state tournament which honors teams or individuals whose solutions have had an extraordinary impact in and beyond their local communities.

Team members Sarah Asher, Garrett Brown, Sarah Brown, Danielle Dandrea, Brady Holihan and Jenna-Marie Ramey worked with the staff of Kris-Leigh Assisted Living Center to write memoirs for the senior citizens residing at Kris-Leigh.  They volunteered over 300 hours in a 3 month period to record, transcribe, collect and scan pictures, organize and edit the stories.  In all, they interviewed 7 residents.  Each resident received 3 copies of their personal story to share with family and friends.  The team also produced 5 bound compilations of the stories complete with personal reflections written by the students.  2 books were given to Kris-Leigh and 3 books were given to Arundel High School to share with the faculty, staff and students.  In addition to creating the books, the team also raised funds to cover production of the books so there was no cost to the residents or school.

The project culminated with the students and Ms. Sharon Stratton, principal at Arundel High School, presenting the books to the residents.  Ms. Stratton stated, “I believe the seniors will share these memoirs with family members and anyone else who would visit and stay with them for conversation.” Ms. Anna Bartolomeo, the activities coordinator at Kris-Leigh, stated, “The residents without memory challenges enjoyed the visits and the effect has been long lasting.  They talked about it during dinner, sharing stories and the student reactions. For residents with memory challenges, there may not have been long term benefits, but the actual interviews were beneficial.”

There weren’t any programs that worked on making a human connection between youth and seniors. The team wanted to visit seniors to make them feel appreciated for their worth and to give them a legacy that would last as long as the books did. But what the team found was that the seniors affected them greatly and still go back even though the books are finished. They built powerful relationships with the seniors, growing to admire and respect them. The seniors are heroes with fantastic stories.

By earning the “Outstanding” rating, they now have the opportunity to showcase their solution at the Global Finals competition in Knoxville, TN, from May 26-29.  In order to compete at the Global Finals, the team will need to raise about $5000 to cover registration and lodging cost.  If you wish to make a tax deductable donation please contact Scott Brown at 410-340-6559 or email ahsdi2011@gmail.com

See www.destinationimagination.org for more general information about DI.

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