ESJE students learn service value at Twin Oaks

Published 12:01 am Saturday, January 16, 2016

RESERVE — East St. John Elementary School students delivered Christmas presents to residents of Twin Oaks nursing home.

“This is just another opportunity for them to do a great service leadership project and volunteer their time to others,” said Jennifer Russell, the ESJE school counselor. “The biggest part is just teaching them to be part of something greater than themselves.

“For so many of these kids, they’ve never been in an environment like this. They’ve never been around the elderly who can’t take care of themselves.”

Learning to put others before herself while collecting and distributing the gifts and singing Christmas carols made Alija Marsalis, an eighth-grader at ESJE, appreciate what she has.

“It warms my heart,” Alija said upon seeing residents’ reactions to their songs. “It brought tears to my eyes when one of the residents started to cry. I knew I was making a difference in her life.”

Amahrie Johnson enjoyed talking and giving a resident a hug.

“They were really surprised. It felt great to give back and see the smiles on their faces,” she said.