Rebecca Lubin and Zariah Petway
BMHS PrideTime Reporters
On January 3rd, 2018, a program called Heal who is associated with Brien Mcmahon High School went to visit the elderly at the Notre Dame nursing home in Norwalk, CT.
The healing program is essentially an after-school program here at Brien Mcmahon High School that does community service all around Connecticut. Heal stands for Health, Empathy, Altruism, and Love.
The program started with women working with project returns which is a non-profit organization. The benefits that you gain from being apart of the heal program will give you a sense of belonging. It also allows you to give back to the community and you meet new people.
Jennifer Amon the program director says, “I feel that the program has grown exponentially over time and not only are you surrounded by kids in school but heal brings people together." Some of the activities we have done so far were things like making cards for wheeler clinic (foster care), pillows for the elderly, visits to daycares, and make blankets dogs.
Amon also said, "Heal is the program that it is today because of who we are."
Pridetime got the chance to speak to three elderly women by the names of Hedwig Anderson (104), Mary Mcgrath (88), and Jane Marsico (90). Before the nursing home, all of these women lived completely different lives, they were independent and had families.
The nursing home calls Hedwig by Ms. Anderson because she is the oldest one there, it is also considered a sign of respect. Ms. Anderson says, "An important lesson in life is to be kind because when you are kind you stay out of trouble."
When asked what was the most difficult thing about getting older Ms. Anderson says, "The passing of my daughter was the hardest thing to deal with." She also said, "The older I get the more people I lose since I am 104 years old and not everyone gets that chance to live for so long."
According to the statistics portal, in North America, the average lifespan of a woman is 81 years old.
Mary Mcgrath was a teacher for special ed students at Tracy Elementary School, she is 88 years old. "I like being around new people and meeting them."
Every year these ladies always make new years resolution, but something different happened this time. "Going into the new year we make new year resolutions," Mary says, "I don’t make them anymore because I never end up going through with them."
Jane Marsico who is 90 years old was a stay-at-home mom before coming to Notre Dame and she says, "When you get older you become more patient, but when you're younger you're just going around living life to the fullest. As you get older you mature and slow down." Some advice that Marsico has for people who are also getting older is to "take advantage of every opportunity and enjoy life and family because family is very important and it means a lot."
Amanda P, a senior at Brien Mcmahon who is currently in the Heal program and has been since her sophomore year says, "Heal gives me something to do after school. I also get to be around people."
Amanda always wanted to help people and because of heal she now gets the chance to do so. So when asked, how has the program impacted her life, she responded, "It has made my life more interesting. It’s important to help treat people because if the roles were reversed we would want the same."
Thanks to the Heal program, Amanda now gets to make the world a better place despite all the crazy things that have been going on. “It’s nice to see people do good and it’s nice to do some good."