We conclude our volunteer spotlight series in honor of National Volunteer Month with a special story from our Highland Ridge community in Williamsburg, Iowa.
The day after their high school prom dance, Olivia and Josephine Caron were busy setting up for the Senior Prom at Highland Ridge. It all comes together with corsages, music, soft lighting, a classic vinyl dance floor, and the dedication of a few high school students who want to give back.
Sisters Olivia and Josephine are enthusiastic members of a service club through their high school. The club regularly visits with the residents at Highland Ridge to have lunch, take walks, play games and build meaningful relationships. The Senior Prom is the capstone experience of their Family and Consumer Sciences class and requires months of planning. The sisters wanted to ensure that the residents at Highland Ridge would have a nostalgic experience. They sent out invitations, ordered corsages for the ladies and boutonnieres for the gentlemen and contacted the high school jazz ensemble to provide the musical ambience.
Residents saw their dining room transform into a dance floor, adorned with lights, pink and golden gossamer, and countless flowers. Students arrived, wearing their prom dresses and suits and residents came to take a trip down memory lane. The jazz music began and a few brave residents and students stepped onto the dancefloor while others stayed in their seats as hopeful onlookers. Olivia struck up the courage to ask some of the residents to dance and admits that a few gentlemen declined, happy to remain spectators. She laughs, “I think the residents enjoy watching us dance more than they do dancing but you know everyone is having fun because they are constantly smiling.”
It wouldn’t be prom without crowning the king and queen. Students selected the winners while the residents cheered enthusiastically. Glen and Evelyn were officially crowned prom king and queen and shared a special dance together. They posed for a photo beneath the trellis to capture the memory for a lifetime.
Josephine remembers being nervous about the event, wanting everything to happen without a hitch when a resident declared, “it doesn’t matter how nice it looks, it’s just the company we enjoy.” The feeling is mutual as she holds this sentiment in her heart during each visit.
Who’s having more fun?
As far as the students are concerned, Highland Ridge is the place to be! Josephine says, “When I’m volunteering, it’s hard to tell who is having more fun, the residents or us! As soon as we leave, we start to plan the next time we can go.” Olivia feels good about building these intergenerational relationships and giving of her time. On the day of the dance, she took a moment to enjoy the fruits of her hard work, “I looked around the room and you could see the happiness radiating off of everyone. I’m glad I had the opportunity to help make this happen.” Although this visit will be hard to top, the sisters hope to head back to Highland Ridge one last time before the school year ends.
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