Students from the FAMU Caribbean Student Association spent their Saturday afternoon volunteering at HarborChase of Tallahassee assisted living facility.
Students and residents played bingo, board games and made arts and crafts while getting to know each other better. CSA students even gave the residents handmade valentines cards before parting ways.
“This is a nice way to spend the day,” resident Flora Westberry said. “We really enjoy having visitors.”
Miss FAMU CSA and CSA Community Service chair Shatanya Clarke organized the trip to HarborChase, she was just as pleased with the outcome as the residents.
"I have always enjoyed service and giving back to the community … FAMU CSA just gave me a bigger platform to do it. Being the Miss CSA and Community service chair I have continuously tried to do things out of the box not only to say the Caribbean Student's Association did it but to feel a sense of joy and accomplishment that I touched someone's life,” Clarke said
FAMU CSA is governed by the Florida Caribbean Students Association, which challenged all the CSA’s in the state to provide community service to the elderly in their community.
“Florida Caribbean Students Association gave all the CSAs a challenge to do something for the elderly and so I decided that I want to do more than just send them a gift. I want them to see our faces and I want to see their faces and the smiles on their faces as we engage with them and I must say I was not one bit disappointed with the outcome,” Clarke said.
HarborChase offers 21 engaging activities everyday as well as weekly trips and group events for its residents. Clarke plans to come back and volunteer again in the future.
“This was an amazing experience and It made me extremely happy to see how many people wanted to go with me with similar intentions. I am planning to make this an annual event,” Clarke said.
Members, like Pevin Lewis, were touched by the experience of giving back.
"It was a very enlightening experience. The older generation shed so much light on how America has changed after having various conversation with some of the residents. I enjoyed the experience and I will go back again," Lewis said.
Clarke believed the community outreach was a success.
“No one was disappointed and as long as the elders were happy and the volunteers saw the true meaning behind what we did I am happy. I just wanted everyone to see that it was more than just painting and coloring, but the fact that some of these residents may be unhappy and don't even want to be in the nursing home but we were able to cheer them up,” Clarke said.
In addition to this visit to HarborChase, FAMU CSA is also planning a school drive to help the children of the Tallahassee community.
“My committee and I are currently planning a CSA school invasion across the Tallahassee community where we will be visiting various schools. It's like a CSA tour spreading cultural awareness and giving back,” Clarke said.