As eager high school students buzzed about her, raking out flower beds and sweeping sidewalks, Kim Hughes glowed with anticipation for what was coming. With the help of Byron’s Kiwanis Club, the summer of 2018 is especially beautiful in the courtyard of Generations at Neighbors.
“Are you kidding? This is phenomenal,” said Kim, the activities director for Neighbors.
Several Byron-area organizations volunteer for Generations at Neighbors regularly; one of them is the Key Club, the crew of students from Byron High School who are part of the Byron Kiwanis Club. For years, the Keys have written holiday letters to Neighbors residents, called out BINGO letters and more, but this year, the group asked how else they could contribute. Michelle Albert, the president of the Byron Kiwanis Club, spoke with the Neighbors leadership, and together they decided on something the club had never done before:
Sprucing up the facility’s courtyard. Vigilant attention to detail is part of the standard of care for the Generations at Neighbors staff, and that includes every part of life from nursing expertise to gardening. The enclosed outdoor area is popular with residents and landscaped professionally – but when given the chance, the Keys dreamed up a few additions. With an excused absence from school on a Friday afternoon, they came by to make the work happen.
“My students wanted to talk with Kim about doing something new at Neighbors,” Michelle recalled. “When she said this was an option, they jumped right in.”
And they spent the afternoon planting new flowers and vegetables (including tomatoes, as requested by the residents), filling a raised bed that a local church donated, pulling weeds out and more. Beyond that, the students spent time with those who live in the facility, some of who they have interacted with before during previous visits for other events.
With everything in bloom, the Key-touched courtyard is almost a new experience for the residents.