Hello, how are you?
The spirit of human connection behind that simple but vital question was on display outside Shepherd’s Care Southside Manor in Edmonton earlier this week.
Grade 6 students walked over from nearby Steinhauer Elementary School. They brought signs and artwork. They brought their youth, enthusiasm and ability to jump up and down.
They brought hope.
Take a look:
“It was about COVID and connection, and it was emotional,” said Linda Hut.
“I was tearing up,” she said. “You can’t see the smiles on the faces of the kids because of darned COVID and the masks, but you knew how much joy was in the air.”
Hut said the students recognize that COVID has changed the way of life for seniors. And that COVID has changed their own lives, too.
“They’re tired of the masks, they’re tired of the restrictions, they have lost connections with sports, for example, so, the students are feeling isolated, too,” Hut said.
City Hall School connection
Hut runs the City of Edmonton’s City Hall School program. That’s where she met the Steinauer students. As part of their learning about government and community, the students got a presentation from the City’s Chelsey Anseeuw about Hello, How Are You?.
It is the City of Edmonton’s initiative on urban isolation and mental health.
“They were really touched,” said Hut. “The idea to connect with the Southside Manor residents actually came from the class. That’s just wonderful.”
This week’s visit was a return visit. At Thanksgiving, the class brought sidewalk chalk for messages and cards from a Grade 3 class to lift spirits.
Most importantly, they brought themselves.
“It’s what we all need,” said Hut. “Connection and hope.”