GIBSON CITY, Ill. (WCIA) – It’s a show you don’t need tickets for. Every seat is a good one, even if the performers are just three feet tall. The children are in pre-K at G-C-M-S grade school. Once a month they walk over to the Long Term Care Annex at Gibson Area Hospital. Caity Heap is their teacher.
“They always get excited to see the grandmas and grandpas.”
It’s a program that’s been going on for a decade. Preschool through fifth grade take turns spending time with the senior citizens. Miranda Leonard helped start the Kare program at the home.
“We have generations coming together and working together.”
For the little ones it means a chance to work on those verbal skills. Four-year old Felix is one of them.
Heap said, “His speech has gotten much better and he’s always excited to tell you what he’s doing.”
For 102-year old Leo Lage, the visit is a good diversion.
“It’s kind of a lonely life.”
But for this thirty minutes, that emptiness goes away. Not only with music but really with the best part of the performance.
“I love the hugs from the little ones,” said resident Pat Brownlee. “One little girl was hugging me and one little boy hugged on top of her.”
Edith Zehr agreed. “I’m sorry I can’t hug each one. They are so cute.”
It’s the younger generation’s favorite part too. Proving Angels come in all ages and sizes. You just have to open your heart.
“There’s a lot of joy that’s shared that we really feel for the rest of the day,” said Leonard.
The rest of the day and really for years. Leonard said the kids who’ve gone through the program still come back when they’re older to visit the “grandmas and grandpas.” In fact the football team brought over the trophy when they won the state championship.