It was not the first time some of the students visited the warm and friendly site.
“Kids with hearing loss in my time were so limited,” recalls Sylvia Namyet, an Orchard Cove resident. “It’s different for these children now.”
Seven Clarke Boston students were matched with Orchard Cove residents and visited the senior community several times this summer as part of their school activities. There were weekly themed activities that helped the students build communication skills and engaged the seniors in conversation, mentoring and arts and crafts.
“I sat down with one little girl and started reading a book,” said Sylvia, “and she said ‘I can read it!’ It’s just amazing.”
Clarke has been equally impressed with the Orchard Cove partnership and student-senior friendships. “This is a time to celebrate an extraordinary group of children who come to play with their friends, and learn to listen and talk,” said Barbara Hecht, director of Clarke Boston. “Here at Orchard Cove, Clarke students and residents are working together, playing together and learning together.”
During the ceremony, as students transitioning to mainstream schools accepted their certificates from Barbara, they shared their career aspirations: “A doctor! A waitress! A chef! A gymnast!” These career goals sounded familiar to the Orchard Cove residents, many of whom dedicated their professional lives to working with young people as educators, physical therapists, reading specialists and more.
Sylvia’s smile grew bigger, and if possible, her eyes sparkled with even more kindness when she said, “I can’t tell you how proud we are of your school.”
Both Clarke and Orchard Cove are gearing up for a more robust mentorship and visitation program this fall.