Parkhurst House Welcomes MCAS Students
School is about the basics—reading, writing and arithmetic. But it is more than that. It is about learning to face life's challenges, interacting successfully with others and reaching out to people in our community. Mid-Columbia Adventist Christian School, nestled in the small town of Hood River, Ore., near the Columbia River and about 40 miles north of Mt. Hood, is helping its students learn some of these life lessons.
Teacher Jessica Bailey shares: "For several years I have been guiding my students through lessons on loving and serving others in our community. This past fall I realized that my students had an opportunity to experience service in action right around the corner—literally.
"About two blocks from our school is an assisted-living home, Parkhurst House. The activities director allows my students, grades 1-4, to come and do a craft or read to the residents twice a month.
"At first my class was shy about going into the residents' rooms. But now they easily spend the hour going from room to room to whoever welcomes them in. They can also read so much louder now and are starting to feel comfortable making conversation with their new friends. I am most pleased that some of my students are starting to have prayer with the residents they read to.
"I am so grateful for such a warm and nurturing environment for my students to practice so many different skills. The residents shower my class with smiles and words of appreciation. They are teaching my students lessons that I could not teach in a thousand words. I just hope that we are making friendships for eternity."
Some of the students were willing to write to express their feelings and experiences.
First-grader Katie Cook writes, "I like Irma because she has a nice voice. She is an older lady who just moved to Parkhurst House. She let me come to her room to read Pal and Sal. I like that."
Fourth-grader Amanda Marx, writes, "I met Dino. He is a happy person and grew up in Mexico. He knows Spanish and some English too. I hope he will teach me some Spanish. Bud lives there too. He is 89 years old. He likes it when we sing to him. When we read there I think it makes the people feel very happy. We do it because they get lonesome."
Fourth-grader Josie Baird met Mary. "I read to her a lot," she says. "I have read to her a little bit out of the Bible. Sometimes after I read to her, she gives me a cookie. I think she is nice. Another person our class likes to visit is Bud. He is 89. He might be the oldest person in Parkhurst. We sing with him, 'You Are My Sunshine.' He kisses the girls' hands when we leave."