Spreading Smiles at Birchwood

In the April 2017 edition of Highlights magazine one of Faith’s members was featured in a story! Ava McCarver, a Confirmation student at Faith was featured in the Gallant Kids article detailing her experience volunteering at Birchwood Health Care Center. Here is the story:

When Ava McCarver was in kindergarten, her class visited a nursing home. Ava learned that many of the residents there receive few visitors. She decided to take action. “I asked my mom if I could visit them,” she says. Soon, Ava and her mom became volunteers at Birchwood Health Care Center.

That was six years ago. Since then, Ava has made many friends at Birchwood. She enjoys hanging out with Mary, Shirley, and other residents during her twice-monthly visits. “I paint their nails, and I talk to a lot of them,” she says. Sometimes she helps lead craft projects. Other times they play card games, such as War and Crazy Eights. “It’s good for the residents to see little kids,” Ava says. “That makes them really happy.”

Helping Her Friends

Ava has found some creative ways to help her friends at Birchwood. She has raised money for the nursing home by making refrigerator magnets and ornaments and selling them at a craft fair. She has also collected used puzzles from garage sales and donated them to Birchwood.

Ava wrote and illustrated a book called The Squirrel Family. In the book, two squirrels raise a family and eventually move into a place called Birchwood where they live happily. Ava used her book to raise money for the nursing home. A family friend donated the cost of printing the books. Then, Ava says, “I went into businesses and I asked if we could sell them.” Ten stores in her city agreed to display the books, along with a can to collect money. Ava’s project raised about $750. Birchwood used the money to buy outdoor patio furniture for the residents.

Polly Anderson, a former volunteer coordinator at Birchwood, says she enjoyed the look of “pure joy” on a resident’s face after a hug from Ava.

That’s why Ava started visiting Birchwood – to bring happiness to others. But she has gained happiness for herself, too. “It’s really fun,” she says. “They have good stories, and I enjoy my time there.”

Hightlights is proud to know this Gallent Kid. – Sara Matson (www.highlights.com)

Copyright © Highlights for Children, Inc., Columbus, Ohio. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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