You may have seen Spirit Weeks at high schools or elementary school, but have you ever seen Spirit and Mission Week at Santa Teresita? All ages come together on this vibrant campus that creates our Neighborhood of Care, from age 2 to 102. You may not immediately think that such a vast age range can enjoy the same activities, yet read on to see how much they enjoy each other.

Day One…The Sock Hop

On the first day, we flashed back to the 50’s with a sock hop. As you entered the room, streamers gracefully arched in beautiful swirls from the center chandelier to create a canopy of color. Residents donned crazy wigs as they waited for the fun to begin. Then the music started. Joy filled their faces as they remembered the days gone by and followed Sister’s lead.

Soon, even the most arthritic hands were jiving, doing the Hand Jive, that is. As the children entered the room, wheelchairs were being pushed beneath the limbo bar. Without a moment’s hesitation, little ones rushed to join the line. Squeals of delight filled the room as the residents looked on with delight.

Next, came the famous chicken dance. The children looked to the residents for cues as they began to learn the fun hand motions to imitate the squawking beaks, flapping wings and waddling steps. Finally, everyone joined in to dance a classic that has endured throughout the years: the Hokey Pokey.

Day Two…The Easter Egg Hunt & Luncheon

Brightly colored table cloths billowed in the fresh breeze. Throughout the field of wild flowers were little splotches of vibrant color. Various sizes of eggs hid among the green leaves and tiny flowers just waiting to be discovered. Before long, people began to take their place along the sides of the Easter Luncheon tables. Facing the wild flower field, they anxiously awaited the arrival of the most enthusiastic egg hunters in the San Gabriel Valley.

Slowly, the children made their way across the grass towards the field. Hand-in-hand, they followed their teachers, but could hardly contain their excitement at spotting the brightly colored easter eggs peaking out from behind leaves and flower petals. In great glee they exclaimed, “I see one! There it is! And another one!” The residents from the Manor and the Good Shepherd Cottage beamed with a contented joy at hearing the energetic little voices.

Then the whistle blew and they were off. Running here and there, they raced to get to the first egg they could find. Collecting their treasure, they proudly displayed their findings and ran to the grandmas, grandpas and teachers for help in unlocking the goodies within. The hunt concluded, each person settled down to a catered lunch from Stone Fire Grill.

Sitting side-by-side, the residents and Hayden Child Care students enjoyed each others company and reached out to each other for mutual help. Holding out yogurt cups or candies, the little ones received help in opening packages. The children in turn would get up to pick up a dropped napkin or retrieve a fresh cup of juice for the grandma or grandpa seated next to them. Beneath the large canopies, it looked like a large family reunion.

Day Three…Drive-in Theatre

Pulling up into Madonna Hall, everyone prepared themselves for a classic feature film. A large cardboard convertible stood tall for each resident to pose behind. After a brief photo op, they quickly lined up to begin the film. The lights dimmed and Audrey Hepburn appeared on the big screen as “My Fair Lady” began.

A warm glow could be seen out of the corner of your eye and soon the smell of freshly popped popcorn wafted lazily through the air. Alongside the popcorn machine lay a vast array of other movie-going treats. Partaking of the festive treats and cold soda pop, each person contentedly gazed upon the screen with quiet delight. As the movie ended, great smiles spread across each face.

Day Four…Ice Cream Social

In the midst of the fresh wild flowers and a gentle breeze sat three tents. Beneath the tents sat a table laden with everyone’s favorite summer food: ice cream.

Young volunteers donning chef hats generously heaped a variety of flavors onto cones and into bowls for our enjoyment. The various flavors were even complimented with delicious toppings (yes, even a cherry for the top). Before long, a winding little line of small feet pranced across the grace towards the tents.

There, amidst folding chairs, wheelchairs and benches, the students from Hayden Child Care joyously received their small cones. Gazing over their own bowls with delight, the residents compared flavors and toppings amongst themselves and the children. Whether a chocolate fan or a pure vanilla aficionado, no one could deny that this ice cream social brought great enjoyment to each person present.

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