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Students create hundreds of Christmas cards for nursing home residents

Aja Odom is a fifth-grade student at Bowmar Avenue Elementary School and she, along with others in the Vicksburg Warren School District, participated in a special project that is sure to put a smile on faces.

“I drew on the front cover a snowman and added cotton balls and put decorations with white snow on the ground and snowflakes on it, and I wrote a letter on the inside and at the end, I put a flip-up smiley face,” Odom said of the Christmas card she made as part of the Art from the Heart project, which was designed as an outreach project for nursing home residents.

No group has been affected more by the COVID-19 pandemic than those living in nursing homes.

Residents have been cut off from family and friends, and in some cases, these men and women have had to remain in their rooms because of the risk of contracting the virus.

Fortunately, a vaccine is on the horizon, but until it can be administered, nursing home residents must still remain in isolation from the public.

So with hopes of adding a bit of joy to their day, VWSD fine arts coordinator Nancy Robertson said every school in the district made Christmas cards to be handed out to them.

“Every principal wanted to jump in and wanted their schools to be involved in this,” Robertson said, and in the end more than 1,500 cards were made.

The cards were delivered Wednesday to the residents at Shady Lawn Nursing Home, Heritage House of Vicksburg Nursing Center, Belmont Gardens, Vicksburg Convalescent Center and The Bluffs Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center.

“This is going to touch them because this lets them know somebody out there still thinks about them and still loves them,” Shady Lawn activity director Felicia Robinson said of the cards that were to be delivered.

Robinson also thinks this will be a heartening experience, especially for those who will not be able to get around their grandchildren.

“They will say, ‘Oh a kid made this,’” Robinson said, and be reminded of their grandchildren.

Robinson said once the cards are deemed safe to enter the nursing home — they will have to sit out a while to make sure there are no lingering virus germs — they will be distributed to the residents.

“And after they have been read we will either hang them on the wall or some residents have scrapbooks,” she said.

Realizing nursing home residents are feeling “alone and sad,” Odom said, she was glad she got to participate in Art from the Heart, not only because she “loves” doing art, but because she was also doing something that would brighten someone else’s day.

“I hope (the nursing home residents) are excited for a card and happy, and I hope I cheer them up since they don’t get to see their family,” Odom said.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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