During the COVID-19 pandemic, two Westfield sisters have volunteered at The Restoracy of Whitestown to brighten the spirits of residents in the assisted living facility.
Nisha Roy, 14, and Rayna Roy, 12, are Cadette Girl Scouts with JoSheWe Troop 0065 of Central Indiana and have been Scouts since kindergarten. During a 2020 troop meeting, the girls were told they needed to complete 50 hours of community service with a cause they care about to earn a Silver Award, the highest honor a Cadette can earn.
The sisters said they thought of their grandmother, Jerilyn Knopp, who lives at Crestwood Village North, a retirement community they frequently visited before the pandemic.
“My grandma, she’s in a nursing home,” Rayna said. “We took her out a lot before (the pandemic) because she got bored a lot, and she’s stuck there, so we wanted to make something to keep other people from getting bored since they’re all stuck at home, and they can’t really go out and do anything – so just things that could keep them busy and happy were what we wanted to do.”
Soon after learning about the award’s requirements, Diane Roy, Nisha and Rayna’s mother, saw The Restoracy of Whitestown, which opened in 2020, had posted online to NextDoor, a social networking service, asking for volunteers.
“They felt they could help give them something to do,” Diane said of her daughters. “Mostly, The Restoracy of Whitestown has different houses, so (Nisha and Rayna) made wooden signs they could use from year to year as a welcome sign. From the community, they collected a lot of Christmas decorations, and once a month or so, they’ve been making craft kits (for The Restoracy of Whitestown residents).”
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, all of the girls’ materials and kits have needed to be individually wrapped. They baked sugar cookies for the residents and packaged icing packets separate so that the residents could decorate the cookies.
Nisha and Rayna also completed other tasks for the nursing home, including coordinating library services, making wreaths, stockings and developing a resource binder of senior community activities.
“They chose to bring joy to isolated elderly people that live at The Restoracy of Whitestown,” Diane said. “The pandemic has put several roadblocks in their way, making fundraising and social contact very challenging. They wanted to have direct contact with residents and invite community members to help form clubs and activities, but with COVID, everything had to be virtual. They had their own troop Christmas carol to all the buildings. They have continued to make craft kits for Valentine’s Day and will continue to be involved as they move forward.
“They have visited the homes many times to deliver items and have enjoyed the thought that they are bringing joy to the elderly.”
The sisters are finalizing paperwork they to submit for their Silver Awards, Diane said.