About 40 kids from the middle school class, teachers and parents came to call on the 16 residents of Golden Shepherd Care in Brentwood and brought wrapped gifts, sang holiday carols, shared lunch, sat and talked or just played board games or cards with their hosts.
Owner/administrator Nellie Wayne said the visit is great for her tenants. Some of them don't have family in the area and are lonely at this time of year.
"All my residents really enjoy it," Wayne said. "Look at the smiles on their faces. I really admire the way they support the old folks here."
Before the big visit, the students shopped for and made gifts such as blankets and scarves. These were sorted and then wrapped, ready to give.
Advisor Clay McNamara said the visit has become an annual tradition and that this was the third year the class participated in the project. It began as an opportunity for young people to give something back to their community in a unique way, but has become much more.
"I wanted the kids to see and realize how much of an impact they can have doing something like this," McNamara said, "and to start thinking about someone other than their own families at Christmas. I want to teach them compassion for people who aren't like them."
It was hard to tell who was enjoying themselves more, the students or the residents.
"It's fun to see how happy they are to get all these presents because they don't have a lot of visitors," said student Kieley Ford.
Golden Shepherd has served seniors since 1980. It is an assisted living facility for those needing medical supervision or help with everyday living.