The Special Times
As Thanksgiving approaches, the team at the Children’s Attention Home is preparing to make the holidays a special time for the residents.
For all of us, the holidays mark the passing of another year, not just by the date on the calendar, but by the traditions we enjoy with our families.
It’s a time of mixed emotions for the residents. Even those who haven’t had the opportunity to celebrate the holidays before are missing their families and are more intensely aware of the separation. They miss the home they know. A lot of kids hold out hope that they’ll be back with their families for the holidays, and if that can’t happen, the disappointment is magnified.
“We feel it,” says Cathy Bolduc, talking about the tension the residents feel as the holiday approaches. “We’re really good about knowing the day is really important,” says Cathy Bolduc, Social Worker. “We’re going to put even more TLC into that day.”
In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, residents talk with their counselors in individual and group sessions about these feelings, to give them a chance to reflect and express what they’re grateful for, and what they’re missing this time of year. In years past, the staff have taken the kids to help serve Thanksgiving dinner at assisted living centers and experience being on the giving end of gratitude before celebrating the day with a feast provided by another community organization.
Many staff members volunteer to work on Thanksgiving, missing gatherings with their loved ones to be a part of the festivities.
“We see ourselves as family,” Cathy Bolduc explains.
This year will be a little different due to the coronavirus, but no less special. Volunteer Coordinator Sharada Abraham says a movie night and arts and crafts activities have been planned, and the Home will be decorated to make things festive. Local bakery Cathy’s Sweets N Treats is sending sweet surprises for the residents. Instead of going out for the feast, Jim and Wendy Cartrette and family will be providing a more intimate dinner for the kids and staff at the home with all the traditional dishes plus a few more – turkey, ham, fried chicken, yams, potato salad, and sweet potato pie. Over the weekend, there will be various activities planned for the residents.
Even if the resulting memories are a little bittersweet, the staff’s efforts have a lasting impact.
“Past residents will reach back out to us on Thanksgiving,” notes Sharada Abraham. It’s a little sign of the coming holidays that the staff looks forward to every year. It shows that even through difficult times, the love and care residents receive stays with them and helps them sow their own future traditions.