A group of young teens spent Valentine’s Day spreading the love at two long term care facilities at Langley Memorial Hospital.
“I just thought it would be a great idea to get a bunch of us kids out there and just a way to spend time with them, especially on Valentine’s Day,” said Anokhi Amaradasa, a R.E. Mountain Secondary School student.
The 16-year-old along with nine other kids were representing a student-run club called Project Helping Hands when they visited residents at Langley’s Marwood and Rosewood centres on Feb. 14.
“It was a surprise for them, they were really happy,” said Amaradasa. “They loved it.”
Ahead of the visit the club organized a Teddy Bear Drive after returning from winter break, where students collected nearly 130 stuffed animals to gift to residents at both centres.
“The teddy bears were an added touch to get our whole school involved,” Amaradasa said.
Students brought cards, origami and stuffed animals, said Aletta Vanderheyden, a public affairs consultant with Fraser Health.
They also partnered with residents to paint garden-themed murals on the long-term care facility’s windows, she added.
“Visits like these have a lasting impact on residents as some have few visitors,” Vanderheyden said. ”With their youthful spirit, students brought many smiles to the faces of our residents and really brighten their day and ours. Our residents really appreciate the visit and continue to reminisce about their time together days after.”
Amaradasa started volunteering with the hospital when she was 14. Since then, she has spent every Saturday organizing a weekly tea party for residents.
“I moved here from Sri Lanka when I was seven and both my grandparents are back there,” Amaradasa said. “What initially made me volunteer with the hospice at the hospital was kind of a way to spend more time with the seniors there. I don’t really get to see my grandparents, so it was great to be able to help in this way.”
Naturally, the Grade 11 student is considering a career in medicine.
“Med school is the goal,” she said “I really want to go into obstetrics and gynecology, that’s what I’m dreaming of doing – definitely medicine.”