600 Holiday Cards For Seniors

Bremen High School District Makes 600 Holiday Cards For Seniors
Yasmeen Sheikah
Patch

Students in Bremen High School District 228 created over 600 holiday cards for senior citizens in surrounding communities.

This traditional event in D228 schools — Bremen, Tinley Park, Hillcrest and Oak Forest High Schools — is typically done with a district hosted Senior Citizen Holiday Luncheon. Students usually decorate the space, host games, crafts and serve meals to seniors. This event has been going on for over 30 years and the district says it is a way to thank community seniors and show their appreciation.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the district had to cancel the annual event this year. D228 still wanted to find a way to show seniors they care. After asking students if they would be willing to create a holiday card for senior citizens, many students then turned cards in at their school's main office or created a digital card/letter.

Jamie Bonnema, public relations specialist for the district said the district was upset they were unable to host the annual luncheon this year.

"The pandemic is awful for everyone, but I can't begin to imagine the impact it's having on our senior citizens. Some of our seniors may not able to be with their families for the holidays this year, they might be scared, or they might just miss the one event they look forward to every year," Bonnema said. "... Our seniors are such an important part of our communities. We wanted the opportunity to still wish them a happy holiday and let them know that we're thinking about them and miss them."

Bonnema said the district didn't expect to receive the amount of cards students created. She said they received a few virtual cards and that it wasn't until students and staff began asking for an extended deadline that she realized just how many the district received.

"When I first looked at the boxes, I thought I had maybe about 100 cards...but as I started to put them in envelopes and addressing them I soon realized there were many many more," Bonnema said. "I am so appreciative of our students and staff for taking the time to make a card. Reading some of the messages really warmed my heart and made me appreciate that I work in a district with such thoughtful and kind students and staff members."

The cards were mailed out on Dec.16. Each school had its own drop box and Bonnema said she tried to send a card to a senior living in the same community, such as an Oak Forest senior getting a card from a student at Oak Forest High School.

Bonnema said D228 thinks it's important to offer events that show gratitude for its community. She said this event is specifically important because the senior citizens students sent cards to don't have any children in district schools anymore, but they're still supporting the district and remain important to it.

"Whenever someone asks me about my job, I can't help but rave about District 228 students. I'm a firm believer that you won't find a group of students who are more kind and selfless. From food drives to volunteer efforts, to simple gestures, they're always giving back to their community," Bonnema said. "I think this speaks a lot to our values as a district and as a community. When you're taught to give back to others and think of others, it's reflective in actions. I give a lot of credit to our District 228 families who have clearly taught their children the importance of community service and helping to give back to the area they are a part of."
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