According to Karen Green, principal at St. Joseph's School in Batavia, the idea to play Bingo with the residents of the Genesee County Nursing Home came when a student asked, "Why don't we deliver the Christmas cards we made for the residents in person?" One would think these nine and ten year olds would be timid around the residents but this is not the case.
According to Green, "The boys and girls go right in and help set up. They look for residents that may need help with their boards and hold the microphone and call out numbers with confidence." "It's fun pushing the prize cart and calling numbers, a student reported, I like how they are always smiling at my class. I also like how we get to say, that's a good bingo!"
The monthly visits are something the students really look forward to. "I love working with the residents because we are helping them. Their eyesight and hearing isn't that good and playing bingo makes them feel good inside. It also makes me feel good inside," said one of the fourth grade students that participates in the Tuesday bingo games.
"It's a great opportunity for us to make a difference in our community. We also brighten their day because they don't get to see younger kids a lot." "I feel happy that we are doing something in the community, especially with the people that are lonely sometimes." It's clear from comments like this that the concept of community service is being instilled in these young students.
The Diocese of Buffalo recently ran a marketing campaign of billboard and radio ads based on the characteristics of students of Catholic schools. Among the words used were confidence, empowered, caring and leaders. The students of Mrs. Fischer's fourth grade class at St. Joseph School in Batavia certainly typify those characteristics.