East Brings Joy to Monette Manor


Sarah Ray, Editor

The BIC EAST Initiative has recently started working in collaboration with Monette Manor on the “Adopt a Grandfriend” project, a program that allows students to spend time with, and get to know the residents of the care facility. The program began in 2014, and has been adapted throughout the years.

As part of the program, the junior high and high school EAST classes go to Monette Manor on a Friday and either play games with the residents, or just sit down and talk.  EAST also works with Mrs. Wendy Carpenter, Monette Manor Activities Director, to create an activity calendar for each month.

For the program last year, EAST created several 360 video experiences, such as riding a tractor and hiking in Petit Jean State Park. Then the students brought virtual reality glasses to Monette Manor for the residents to use.

“It was like we were taking them on virtual field trips,” said Mrs. Jill Sanders, BIC EAST teacher.

This year the students will be helping Mrs. Wendy to organize a Fall Festival on Oct. 24th.

Mrs. Jill Sanders and Mr. Matthew Sills, the BIC EAST teachers, coordinate the program with Monette Manor each year.

“I always have comments from my students after we visit.  I hear things like, ‘I don’t take life for granted anymore,’ and ‘I never knew that just a short visit could make such a positive impact on someone.’  ‘They have so much fun just doing simple things like playing bingo or catch. I need to be happier.’ Comments such as these make Mr. Sills and I committed to continuing this project,” said Sanders.

The “Adopt a Grandfriend” project provides a wonderful opportunity for students to build lasting friendships while also learning valuable lessons, and the BIC EAST Initiative hopes to continue it long into the future.