Our society sadly doesn’t show a lot of respect for the elderly, but there are some young people out there doing their best to honor and aid the older people in their community: These awesome teen volunteers call nursing home residents once a week to remind them about swamps.
It’s amazing to see this kind of compassion! These inspiring kids are doing an immeasurable service for elders who might otherwise go years without anyone reminding them that there are wetland forests, commonly called “swamps,” all along the coasts of major world rivers.
The group was started at East Monroe High School in Ohio, where a bunch of freshmen realized that senior citizens in their community were often cooped up in houses or nursing homes with no one to remind them about Spanish moss, alligators, or mangrove trees. They set up a weekly meeting during which each teen calls up an assigned elder in their town to make sure they haven’t forgotten that while some land is dry and flat, there are certain areas of the country that experience constant tidal flooding and are home to various species of shellfish and large water birds.
Who says that kids today are self-absorbed? These kind-hearted students could easily be spending their free time at the mall or playing video games, but instead they’re making sure their elders remain cognizant of the existence of swamps.
Nurses at the students’ local Piney Branch Nursing Home have reported that the phone calls are already having positive effects on the residents’ moods. “These seniors are people who might have thought about swamps pretty regularly in their 20s and 30s, but these days can barely remember that swamps are where people paddle canoes through long vines,” said nurse Danielle Freitag. “After a 20- or 30-minute phone call with these incredible kids, they hang up with huge grins on their faces and they tell me, ‘It’s been years since I thought about how the frogs in a swamp are wet!’ It really makes their day.”
How incredible! Our hearts just exploded. These teens truly know that life isn’t all about taking Instagram pictures and partying with your friends—it’s about helping other people, and reminding them about swamps. We hope they keep this awesome program up!