The mission of McKenna Crossing (www.mckennacrossing.org), a senior living residence by Presbyterian Homes & Services in Prior Lake, MN, is to “enrich the lives of older adults through services and communities that reflect the love of God.” The funny thing about that mission, as MSB-Shakopee’s students Sarah Schmitt and Jaime (or Jim) Dumagpi found is that, in planning their service project to enrich the lives of older adults, they enriched their own lives.
During their Global Citizenship project, Sarah and Jim discovered some staff challenges faced at McKenna Crossing. First of all, due to being short staffed, the employees did not have extra time in their shift to give time and attention to the residents during recreational activities. Since the residents were in memory care, they needed more structured time as well as a routine schedule of events. The partnership of the MSB students and McKenna Crossing encourages people to volunteer. When volunteers are available, staff can spend more one-on-one time with the clients.
At breakfast, Sarah and Jim sat down and visited one-on-one with the residents. Jim and Sarah assisted the staff with doing the dishes, basic cleaning, wiping off tables and sweeping the floor. Kevin, the recreational activities coordinator, came in and assigned a bowling activity for the residents and students to participate in.
Sarah and Jim took away a number of insights, including respecting the needs of all residents, and knowing that they helped clients have a better day by seeing their smiles and hearing their laughter. They learned that not all residents are able to participate in the activities the same way others do. This is in part due to cognitive, behavioral and physical abilities in each resident. That is why the one-on-one time with those residents, such as doing sensory boxes activities, is beneficial for them.
“Seeing the smiles on their faces while we were able to do activities with them gave us a sense of pride in ourselves,” said Sarah.