Sunshine Club brings brightness to Lodge


Last updated 3/26/2024 at 1:32pm

Photo by Bill Bartlett

Zinnia Crabtree, a Sisters fifth-grader distributed St. Patrick's Day cards at The Lodge - much to the delight of resident Erica.

Amy Guthrie's Sunshine Club, consisting of 17 Sisters Elementary School fifth-graders, were on hand at The Lodge in Sisters last Wednesday evening as part of their regular holiday visits. They brought handmade St. Patrick's Day-themed cards and crafts just as they did on Valentine's Day last month.

At Thanksgiving, Guthrie delivered a giant poster with greetings from the Club, and at the Christmas break, the Club students joined with C4C (Citizens For Community) at The Lodge to sing carols and drop off holiday cards.

Conversation appeared to be the most welcome of the gifts by the approximately 40 diners, notwithstanding their gratitude for the treats and crafts.

The diners this night were nearly all in their 80s and a few in their 90s. Having the kids come is important to keeping them engaged. Jos'e Deere expressed it best with a twinkle in her bright blue eyes.

"These children are so well behaved. So polite and so generous. They brighten my whole week," Deere said.

Her table mates concurred with compliments ranging from "such poise" to "kids to be proud of" to "what a gift their presence is to us all."

Once or twice a month, the last period of Friday is club period. There are an assortment of clubs at the school from Lego's to art to board games to drama and more. Sunshine Club is Guthrie's creation modeled from succesful activities she found beneficial in her prior assignments in the Redmond School District and Tumalo Community School. She has been teaching for 25 years.

She recalled a Reading Buddies program for third graders who read to seniors that she established when she was earning her teaching certificate.

"The kids are really into the intergenerational thing," Guthrie said. "They are very engaged with their Lodge buddies."

Lodge residents eagerly await the return visits. "These kids have hearts of gold," Guthrie added.

The large assortment of cookies served that night – many decorated in shamrock shapes - were compliments of LWWDS (Living Well With Dementia Sisters).

Sandy Reilly of LWWDS said: "The Sunshine Club kids, through their interaction, are gaining valuable knowledge, understanding, and compassion about older adults. We are delighted to support them for this warm event and we are grateful for Amy Guthrie's creativity and leadership."


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