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Dordt University student helps nursing home residents stay positive during pandemic

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(KTIV) -- Nursing homes and care centers around the U. S. have closed their doors to visitors in an effort to help protect their residents from the COVID-19 virus.

While many people are staying home with their families during the COVID-19 pandemic, residents of those nursing homes only have the staff to keep them company. Ebby Prewitt, a senior at Dordt University, decided to come up with a way to make sure the residents weren't forgotten about.

"I just want to find a way to reach out to them," said Prewitt.

Prewitt is a Biology major at Dordt University and worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant at nursing homes in Sioux Center and her home town of Des Moines.

After returning to Des Moines due to the pandemic, she noticed residents were longing for their friends and family.

So, she decided to start writing letters of encouragement to the residents.

"They just talk all the time about how they wish that this was over so they could have their visitors back," said Prewitt. "And I think this is a way for us to show them that we love them, that we're praying for them, we're thinking of them. And that way they have a little bit more of a connection with the outside world that seems so far away right now."

Prewitt reached out to her friends and family -- and even her old high school.

She said she never imagined how big the campaign would get.

"It's been crazy. The students just jumped on it. Families from Des Moins Christian jumped on it. And so have my friends from Sioux Center at Dordt and my friends that now live in Florida. It's been crazy. I was blown away from the support," she said.

Prewitt says she's received more than 200 letters.

"I'm just so happy that I can get that passion out there and contribute in some way. Even though it's a seemingly small way, I think that it could make a big difference for a resident," said Prewitt.

Prewitt says anyone who wants to send a letter or picture can scan in or type out the letters and send them to 6feetshorter@gmail.com.

Prewitt adds the first batch of letters will go out Friday, but with the big response, she plans on sending out many more.

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Emily Schrad

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