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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

CA warms hearts of the elderly

Ziv residents share their love through handmade cards

Published: February 12, 2010
Section: Arts, Etc.

PHOTO BY Max Shay/The Hoot

Sipping hot chocolate, Nadine Channaoui ’10 and the residents of Ziv 127 residents cut, pasted and glittered, in an effort to make this Valentine’s Day a special one for members of Waltham’s elderly community.

This month, Channaoui, who is a community advisor in Ziv Quad decided to use her building program to help others in the Waltham community by facilitating her residents in creating hand-made valentines for the elderly.

“Valentine’s Day is a day to share your love,” Channaoui said. “[It] can be more than about romantic dates.”

Each suite in Ziv 127 received a kit to construct valentines, and on Feb. 8, those who could take the time out of their schedules gathered in Channaoui’s suite to make cards while those who couldn’t simply dropped by with their contributions.

The kits consisted of pink, white and red construction paper, shapes of bears and other cuddly animals and lists of quotations relating to love, such as the anonymous quotation “love is a symbol of eternity. It wipes out all sense of time, destroying all memory of a beginning and all fear of an end.”

The quotation suggestions helped many students looking to fill their decorated cards with uplifting messages, but also resulted in one amusing moment when a resident, inspired to search for her own quotes, almost used the quotation “I’ll love you ’til death” before realizing how the quotation could be negatively perceived.

By the end of the night, 30 unique valentines stemming from traditional paper hearts, to ones with corny messages (roses are red … ), to even origami creations, were ready to be sent to members of the elderly community.

After they were finished, Channaoui handed the cards off to Companions to Elders group, an organization dedicated to connecting Brandeis students with the elderly, to send the valentines to independent living homes in Waltham.

At first, Channaoui considered sending cards to terminally ill children, but ultimately decided that it would be more beneficial to direct them to Waltham’s elderly population, which she describes as the “forgotten generation.”

Channaoui explained, “They would be the most appreciative as they might be lonely.”

Project participant Sarah Costrell ’10 expressed similar sentiments, stating, “[For the elderly] to be remembered is pretty important.”

Additionally, Channaoui said Brandeis students benefited from crafting the cards as well. “Brandeis students like to reach out, and by making Valentine’s Day cards [they can also] be doing something they enjoy and taking a break from their studies.”

Shirah Moses ’11, who had worked at nursing homes for the past three summers, expressed why it was so important for youth to reach out to the older generation on Feb. 14. “[They are] amazing people who have given us so much … I learned that one thing that can make them smile makes all the difference in the world.”