Fourth graders from Theodore Jones Elementary helped everyone get into the Christmas spirit Tuesday as they sang carols and passed out presents to residents at the Heritage Living Center.
This is the group’s second year to take part in the holiday event.
Lindsey Jones, a teacher at the school, said last year they were able to talk with the students before the trip and everyone was excited to get involved but the event was a little chaotic.
She said this year the trip was more organized among the groups.
With plans more put together — the first year was like a trial and error experience — the students were able to hand out the presents, bought with money from the Nursing Home Gift Fund of Faulkner County, to the residents one-on-one instead of in groups.
"The kids were very engaged," she said. "I felt like it was more personal because they were able to one-on-one give someone a gift instead of as a group taking it out so I felt like it [had more of] a personal touch this year."
Jones said this trip puts a lot into perspective for the students and triggers thankful thoughts in their young minds.
"This is probably one of my favorite field trips just because I feel like the kids are able to give back and understand what it means to love others," she said. "This is good for them."
The fourth graders were able to meet with several residents along the way, singing carols up and down the hallways, but one in particular stood out; a World War II veteran, William Blake Willard, that wanted to show the group his medals from his years of service, including a purple heart.
"My kids have probably never seen medals and I feel like that was so great for him to be able to share his story with them," Jones said.
Heritage’s administrator Leslie Lamb said the residents enjoyed having the school group come into the center for the second year in a row.
"All of our patients … they loved it," she said. "It’s always good to see children, always good to hear signing and just to kind of kick off the Christmas season."
Lamb said the event "does everyone’s heart good," and brings so much joy to the residents at Heritage.