Local teens build bonds with seniors through pine
Furniture for seniors
Pine is the foundation for a relationship between high school students and seniors at the Bracebridge Villa.
Students at St Dominic Catholic Secondary School students presented seniors at the Bracebridge Villabuilt small pieces of pine furniture they had built on Monday, Nov. 19.
Shop teacher Marty Scarlett thanked the seniors for the important role they play in the students' lives.
Photo by Jennifer Bowman
Edith Duncan proudly shows off the new footstool Liam Grant built for her.
Photo by Jennifer Bowman
Seniors at the Bracebridge Villa show off their new furniture built by Grade 11 students from St Dominic High School in Bracebridge.
BRACEBRIDGE - Teens and seniors formed closer ties at a seniors’ centre in Bracebridge on Monday.
Seniors at the Bracebridge Villa couldn’t stop smiling and praising the efforts of the St Dominic Catholic Secondary School shop students who had built 25 pieces of pine furniture for residents at the villa as a school project.
Marty Scarlett, shop teacher for the high school, has undertaken this project for the past 13 years, rotating between the three seniors’ centres in Bracebridge.
“It’s a staple,” Scarlett said. “This group needs to feel special and acknowledged. They need to feel appreciated, that’s why I’ll never stop this project.”
The furniture was built from rough sawn pine that was discarded from a mill and recovered by the shop class. They chose the best parts of the wood to make the unfinished pine furniture.
Reta Devenish, one of the residents at the Bracebridge Villa, proudly showed off her new shelf.
“I have about 24 pictures in frames that the family has given me and there’s not room to put them anywhere, so this will be ideal,” she said.
Three weeks earlier the teens arrived at the Bracebridge Villa for the first time to discuss what kind of furniture the seniors needed. Devenish was able to draw exactly what she wanted, then Kyler Foster, one of the Grade 11 students, went back to the shop to build it.
“This one here took me about a day of drawing and measuring, and then two days for the final project,” Foster said.
Beside Devenish and Foster, Edith Duncan smiled as she relaxed in a chair and put her feet up on the small pine stool Liam Grant had built for her.
“The doctor tells me ‘Keep your feet up,’” she said, adding that the stool is “nice and light and I can carry it anywhere.”
For Grant, the experience brought an opportunity to meet someone new and give back to the community.
“It was nice meeting Edith. I’m happy to give back to the community,” he said.
Those are the kinds of experiences Scarlett hopes the project brings to the teens.
“Number 1, you just hope that these kids gain a respect for mortality, respect for seniors, respect that life is delicate,” Scarlett said. “Respect your seniors, because you’ll be one some day.”
Scarlett has planned projects so students see both ends of life. In Grade 10 they build toys for children and in Grade 11 they build furniture for seniors. The teacher said the first meeting with the seniors this year was icy at the start, but part of the process is for teens to get outside of themselves and get comfortable.
Trista Ellis, activity director for the villa, said she noticed a change in the kids during the first visit.
“At the first meeting everyone was kind of reserved, blushing and shy. Within five minutes you could see they were thrilled,” she said.
The teens and seniors were scheduled to meet three times, but one visit was cancelled because of outside circumstances.
Ellis said every senior there asked when the teens were coming back.
“This has a huge impact on the seniors. Sometimes it’s hard to get people to come out,” she said.
Later in the school year the students will return to extend the deck and build herb tables for the seniors to garden in. Visit cottagecountrynow.ca to see a video of the event.
I have about 24 pictures in frames that the family