As president of the Sheridan College Chapter of National Society of Leadership and Success, sophomore Human Services major Dawsen Pater was responsible for coming up with a community service project this year. In addition to being a full-time college student, Pater works as a Certified Nursing Assistant at Greenhouse Living, so he knew he wanted the event to serve local seniors.
Pater and other members of NSLS decided to host Hearts for Hope, an on-campus event that provided students and staff with materials to make origami hearts and write messages of encouragement to Sheridan County seniors. The hearts will be delivered to local assisted living facilities this week.
“I work closely with elders at work, so I know firsthand how hard the pandemic has been on them,” Pater said. “We wanted them to know that even though their friends and family can’t come to see them right now, we all still care about them and think about them all the time. I hope it gives them some hope and encouragement during this difficult time.”
First-year Nursing student Bren Steel participated in the event and said she realized the challenges seniors specifically are facing through her clinical work in assisted living facilities. She focused on making hearts that residents would like to hang on the wall and look at each day.
“I wrote a lot of affirmations on mine, things like you’re loved, you’re worthy, and I decorated them quite a bit, because I wanted them to be something nice to look at that would bring them joy,” said Steel.
Both students said working in healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic was difficult, with both having to undergo precautionary testing and follow strict protocols, but that they thought their education had actually benefited from the challenges.
“We’ve had to problem solve and adapt, which is something that is so important to learn but hard to teach in a classroom,” said Steel. “It’s definitely not how I expected my college experience to be, but I think in the long run it will make me a better nurse.”
While the event’s goal was to serve local seniors, Pater said he realized afterward that virtually everyone could benefit from the encouraging messages.
“It was a nice reminder to ourselves too, that no matter what your situation due to COVID or whatever else, you are not alone, we’re all in this together and we will get through this,” he said.