Seniors from Oakmont of Valencia worked with West Ranch High School students last week to make blankets for the community’s memory care residents, who have been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Though schools in the Hart District were closed following the Saugus High shooting, the student group still wanted to volunteer their time Friday to help have a positive impact on the seniors.
“Obviously the tragedy of last week is just so heavy on everyone’s hearts,” said Oakmont of Valencia’s Mary Dembkowski. “I wanted to share something that happened in our community the day after that maybe just gives everybody a little bit of hope.”
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When the Santa Clarita senior living community first heard about the shooting on Thursday, staff members didn’t know if the planned blanket-making event would happen at all, Dembkowski noted.
However, after speaking to the group’s advisor, they learned that the students had a determination to follow through on what they had planned and do good in their community.
“They said, ‘Oh absolutely — we want to come,’” Dembkowski said. “It’s a leadership class focused on building empathy, compassion and courage to catalyze change on campus and in the community… It’s all about just serving from your heart and not looking for recognition.”
After their arrival, students engaged with Oakmont of Valencia’s assisted living senior residents, creating the blankets together.
Once they were finished, the students then visited the community’s memory care residents to deliver the brand new blankets, Dembkowski noted.
“We were all so moved. These kids, you could tell that they were there because they wanted to be there. They wanted to do something to give back, and it was beautiful,” Dembkowski said. “It touched everybody on that particular day.”