Courtesy of Alecea Zeitler
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many senior citizens in retirement homes find themselves lonely; they are more susceptible to COVID-19 and have to be isolated more often. As a solution, SCHS’s FCCLA club proposed “Sincerely, FCCLA,” a service event where FCCLA club members make cards and safely send them to senior citizens.
Junior and FCCLA’s Region 5 officer Alecea Zeitler played a big role in creating the project. Back in August, she noticed that students were not keeping in touch with their relatives due to COVID-19 and realized that senior citizens must feel lonely.
“If we were struggling to keep in touch with our friends and family, imagine how difficult it must be for elders in isolation to reach out to anyone.” Zeitler said. “Thus, the ‘Sincerely, FCCLA’ project was born. Starting in October, we assigned volunteers in our SCHS community to a local elder.”
Some cards are dropped off at Brookdale Senior Living, and others are personal cards sent from members to specific seniors. Each card is worth one hour of community service, and FCCLA limits each person to two cards per month.
“Our organization typically has about 20 volunteers a month, and about half of those take on more than one elder (to write cards to),” Zeitler said.
According to Zeitler, “Sincerely, FCCLA” has been successful so far, and the club has made great progress in expanding their service event. Sophomore and FCCLA member Kyla Tadina enjoyed participating in the event and sending cards as well.
“It’s been a fun experience being able to write letters for elders to be able to read and enjoy,” Tadina said. “Writing letters to elders seemed like a fun idea that we all could do given the constraints of the pandemic.”
Even after the pandemic ends, FCCLA plans to continue sending cards and distributing community service hours. Zeitler believes working with the nursing home has been beneficial for both FCCLA and the senior citizens, and she looks forward to continuing the event in the future.
“This is definitely something we want to continue, even if it means altering the way we provide service,” Zeitler said. “Working with nursing homes has been incredibly rewarding, and in a post-COVID world, it would be that much more rewarding to work with them in person as well as continuing to allow the pen pal program to carry on.”