Full of cheer

Seni­or cit­izens at the River­view Home look for­ward to vis­its of Lin­coln High School stu­dents.

(L to R) Lin­coln High School 11th grader Dana Fehr gives a small gift bag to a res­id­ent of the River­view Home. The stu­dents have been do­ing this an­nu­ally for about 15 years. Kev­in Cook / for the Times


The kids were back last week, and Joanne Gold­man was glad to see them.

“We like vis­its,” she said.

Gold­man, who resides at the city’s River­view Home on State Road, was glad to see about a dozen Lin­coln High School stu­dents come call­ing mid­morn­ing on Dec. 28

It’s great to see the young people; they’re not the same faces she sees all the time, al­though she re­cog­nized a few who came dur­ing the hol­i­days last year.

“They’re al­ways ex­cited to see kids our age,” said Amir Al­barouki, 18, the stu­dent as­so­ci­ation pres­id­ent.

Be­sides, the stu­dents bring gifts.

John Larsen, the school’s stu­dent as­so­ci­ation spon­sor, said the teens col­lect hand soap, dent­al products, body lo­tions, slip­pers, socks, mit­tens and gloves that they dis­trib­ute to res­id­ents. Larsen and art teach­er Aman­da Oden­weld­er ac­com­pan­ied the stu­dents last week.

Dana Fehr, 16, said the stu­dent as­so­ci­ation starts col­lect­ing items for gift bags in Novem­ber. They put out col­lec­tion bins in the school to make it easy for stu­dents to con­trib­ute.

The re­sponse from the stu­dent body was great. This was the stu­dent as­so­ci­ation’s most suc­cess­ful year, Al­barouki said.

The big gifts, though, are the blankets hand­made by school aide Madeline Gentry, Larsen said. She made 13 for res­id­ents, a job that takes all year, be­gin­ning again as soon as the blankets are dis­trib­uted, Larsen said.

To say that the blankets are pop­u­lar with River­view res­id­ents wouldn’t really say it all. They’re very wel­come gifts, the stu­dents said.

“Some hide it and come back for more,” said a smil­ing Pamela Guz­man, 17, stu­dent as­so­ci­ation vice pres­id­ent. 

Lin­coln stu­dents have made yearly vis­its to River­view for about 15 years, Larsen said. In that time, there was a three-year gap after a teach­er who or­gan­ized the trip re­tired, but the vis­its re­sumed in 2005, Larsen said.

Tammy Har­rity, River­view’s re­cre­ation lead­er, said the home has 92 res­id­ents, but only a hand­ful are away dur­ing the hol­i­days. There were plenty of smiles when the stu­dents came bear­ing gifts.

Just spend­ing some time with them is as valu­able as the gifts, the stu­dents said.

Some of the stu­dents are in­volved in the an­nu­al col­lec­tion and vis­its year after year. Last week was Al­barouki’s third year. It was the second for Guz­man and Fehr.

Even gradu­ation doesn’t end that com­mit­ment.

Grad Geethu Pal­likkathay­il was one of three alums who par­ti­cip­ated last week. It was her fourth year.

“I just loved help­ing out,” she said. “It just makes you happy.” ••


You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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