Lee University students delivered Easter baskets to residents of three senior living centers as part of a LEAP service project.
The service project was designed for LEAP (Learn, Engage, Achieve Program) students and initiated by Dr. Angela Waltrip, LEAP community coordinator. Students put together Easter baskets containing sensory bottles, a wreath, a toy, and easter eggs with candy, and delivered them to Legacy Village of Cleveland, Dominion Senior Living in Athens, and Pruitt Health in Fort Oglethorpe.
“We are always thrilled to partner with Lee University,” said Tim Cook, Legacy Village’s executive director. “The Lee students have been excellent this year, and to go above and beyond for our residents is extremely meaningful to not only them but their families and our team as well.”
Each semester, LEAP provides a service project for Lee students to fulfill their service hour requirement. For the spring project, one student suggested making sensory bottles and Dr. Waltrip expanded the idea to have students make Easter baskets. According to Dr. Waltrip, many LEAP students work or have worked in nursing homes or have aging grandparents and felt drawn to this particular project.
“Understanding that this year has been particularly hard on individuals in nursing homes and their family members, the LEAP students wanted to reach out with a tangible expression of love,” said Dr. Waltrip. “The best way we could think of sharing this love was at Easter, knowing that our hope is in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the promise that God is with us. Our hope is that these Easter baskets were a reminder to the residents of God’s love.”
Dr. Waltrip and students raised $500 in donations for the project, and 50 students worked in two shifts preparing the baskets. Dr. Waltrip also invited the activities coordinator from Dominion, Mitzie Womack, to speak to the students about caring for nursing home patients and engaging in the required service reflection.
“Last year, I watched as quarantine and COVID restrictions negatively affected my grandfather in his last days of life,” said LEAP junior Haley Land. “He, as well as many other seniors, experienced some of their most lonely times, so having the opportunity to create these small gifts of love and appreciation felt like a small way to both honor the life of my granddad and give back to the senior community.”
LEAP started in 2015 and currently serves 140 first-generation or underrepresented students each year who meet the eligibility criteria. The program currently provides individual success coaching, peer mentors, direct student aid, financial aid counseling, financial literacy education, cultural and academic enrichment opportunities, and other personalized services according to individual students’ needs.