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Sioux City East students provide company and entertainment for senior living community

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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - Over the last several weeks, East High student council members have been making heartwarming connections with the residents at Bickford Senior Living Community.

Now, students are doing even more to brighten the days of the Bickford residents.

It started five weeks ago: students were assigned a resident or two at Bickford cottage that they would become pen-pals with. Five weeks later, through rules of socially distancing, they were able to finally meet.

On Tuesday, students were at Bickford to color the sidewalks and paint the windows of their pen-pal buddies.

Some students even offered a means of entertainment for their pen-pals.

"We started the first week of quarantine by writing letters. We each adopted one person to write a letter to and then once we got letters back we decided we'd like to come and meet them. Just kind of providing some distraction and entertainment from afar," said Student Council Advisor Michelle Pick.

Pick said the idea first came about when retirement communities and assisted living facilities were starting to limit visitors.

"They were going to have to go into a state of lockdown where they were not able to have visitors and they were not able to go outside anymore and my students were about to be experiencing the same thing because school was shutting down and they were supposed to quarantining as well," said Pick.

Students and faculty say the experience over the past several weeks, and especially Tuesday's opportunity is as beneficial for them as it is for the residents.

"Right now, obviously, they can't have any visitors so I think a lot of them get lonely. So I think it's nice to have someone to talk to during this time. We're just trying to brighten up their day," said Madi McKeever, sophomore Student Council member.

While meeting, interacting and entertaining their pen-pals, students still practiced social distancing to ensure the safety of everyone.

Libbie Randall

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