Burlington elementary student brightens Christmas for nursing home senior

Local News

BURLINGTON, Vt. – For several months, students in the J.J. Flynn Elementary afterschool program visited seniors at the Elderwood Nursing Home as part of a ‘grandpals’ program started by two University of Vermont medical students.

The program ended earlier this month, but that didn’t stop one student, Dakyya Parent, from planning an additional visit with her ‘grandpal’ Hellen on Christmas Day.

She arrived at the nursing home on Wednesday, gift in hand, with her family.

“I have a stuffed animal, it’s a bear, and socks, and a water bottle,” Dakyya said as she presented her ‘grandpal’ with a gift bag.

Dakyya and Hellen spent many afternoons together working on arts and crafts projects. When Hellen couldn’t do something on her own, Dakyya offered a helping hand. Crystal Parent, Dakyya’s mother, knew it was an important connection for her daughter.

“I’m glad, because her grandma passed away a couple of years ago,” Crystal said. “To be able to reconnect and have a grandpal, it’s nice.”

Hellen said she didn’t believe they would actually show up on Christmas, but when it became clear they had every intention of being here, she was grateful.

Crystal Parent summed up the motivation behind their visit with one simple message:

“Nobody should be alone on Christmas.”

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