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JSU students and Cocky unite to make a holiday event 'forever...special'

01/17/2013

JSU Senators, along with Cocky, did their part to help the residents of Piedmont Health Care have a Merry Christmas.

On Nov. 29, during the last week of classes for the Fall 2012 term, music student Anthony Foote also joined the group on their visit. Foote entertainedsome of the residents by playing Christmas carols on the saxophone, while Cocky danced with them. The Senators visited residents in their rooms and presented them with Christmas cards that they had made themselves.

For Senator Kenneth Smith, the project seemed like the perfect way to serve others and help the SGA Senators grow closer together.

“SGA Senators have to have two hours of service each month,” Smith explained. “I was trying to think of an interesting project for Christmas. I love old people; they’re my heart. So I thought about making homemade Christmas cards. Handmade would be special for them and special for us too, because [we] played Christmas music while we made the cards. It was kind of a time to bond and just have fun.”

Smith said that he chose the Piedmont facility because he is from Piedmont, and because groups from JSU typically visit nursing homes in and closer to Jacksonville.

Bill Baker, the Activity Director at Piedmont Health Care, said that to his knowledge, this was the first time a group from the university has visited there. He is hoping that it will become a more frequent occurence.

"We would love to get JSU on the calendar each month, in whatever capacity they would like to be here," Baker said. "For singing, doing arts and crafts, helping us with Bingo, whatever they want to do. We love volunteers coming to the facility. They are always welcome. I would love to get as many involved as possible."

Baker has been working at the nursing home for three years, serving as Activity Director for two and a half of those years. He said that he usually has an outside group come in at least once a week to do an activity with the residents.

"We have a provider who comes and does arts and crafts with them once a month. First Baptist Church of Piedmont comes once a month. We have a couple of singing groups that come in twice a month," Baker said. "Kenneth contacted us and said what he wanted to do with the Christmas cards and Cocky; we jumped on it."

There is a possibility that JSU may return to the nursing home in the near future.

"I would love to [make regular visits]," Smith said. "I love the excitement on their faces, because sometimes even though you may not think they're really understanding what's going on, I think that they really understand more than you think that they do.

That will forever be in my mind as something really special."

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