A unique high school project gave a Grade 9 YRHS sewing class the opportunity to not only learn new skills, but help some elderly patient in the Alzheimer’s unit at Yorkton & District Nursing Home.
The class of 21 students made lap quilts, nine in total, for the residents with a little help from Donna Brown, Betty Forst, Myrtle McKay and Betty-Anne Irving of the Westview United Church Creators Group who taught them how to use the sewing machines.
“The idea behind it is a mixture of textiles, which would have different texture to it, but also different colour,” explained sewing teacher Johnna McBride. “So, the different fabrics or textures and design and colour could stimulate back to childhood memories. A fuzzy piece might be related to a pet or a cat or something they would have had as child.
“It’s meant to be small and light on their lap and just to bring forth some stimulation through their fingertips and trigger some memories from the past.”
She said the activity also has community benefits.
“From the school end, building partnerships with the church group coming in using their resources, but also on this end, delivering to the elderly and making some partnerships here.”
And the kids get to expand their learning beyond the classroom.
“I think it’s good for the kids to work with the elderly,” McBride said. “We had some discussions about Alzheimer patients and what that means to have Alzheimer’s and it brings about some general knowledge that they not have otherwise had an opportunity to experience.”
Anderson Charney, one of the students, said the class was positive both in and out of the classroom. From a simply practical point of view, he learned something he expects will come in handy someday.
“It would be helpful to know how to sew buttons back on if they pop off, or sew a hem on pants,” he said.
It also allowed him to expand his boundaries in a helpful way.
“Working with them is different,” he said. “I’m not really used to working with older people, but it was a nice difference to actually do something that improved upon someone’s life instead of just furthering my own.”
McBride was impressed by the students, who all worked equally on the quilts from making the squares, to putting them together with the machines to hand stitching the finishing touches.
“I think overall, they’re pretty proud of their achievements,” she said.