MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

December 19, 2013

Volunteers bring joy to care home

Youth Workforce members pass out packages

By E.I. Hillin
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Santa Claus came early for residents at York Manor Nursing Center, and he even brought help.  

Participants from Youth Workforce Oklahoma helped Santa pass out presents Thursday evening at the nursing center.

“The residents love it. A lot of them don’t have family,” said York Manor Administrator Kathy Black.

Walter Lewis Sr. appreciated his box full of decorated presents.

“I have more than what I asked for,” he said.

This was the second year for Youth Workforce to visit the residents of York Manor.  

“I like putting a smile on people’s faces,” said one of Santa’s helpers, Nicole Young.

There were definitely lots of smiles.

“I feel good,” said resident Janice Barnett.

Resident Joe Reicamuch was pleased with his gifts of socks, candy canes, and word puzzles.

Debra Dibis had her family help her unwrap her gifts. She received a robe, some sweat pants, a candle fountain, candy and jewelry.

Visiting York Manor is not only a part of the workforce program, but it also brings joy to the participants.

“I’m honored,” said Santa’s helper Hailey Chavez. “I think it’s a good thing to give back to the community.”

The Youth Workforce participants have the opportunity to learn from interacting with the residents.

“I think it’s good for the kids too, makes some of them appreciate what they have with family,” Black said.

“We’re helping,” said Workforce Youth Career Manager Juan Davis as he spoke about Ashlyn Skadal.

“She is shy. This program has changed her,” Davis said.

After Santa and his helpers passed out all the presents, they served dinner to the residents.

Alock Lewis smiled brightly when Santa’s helper, Chelsea Napier, presented him with a plate full of food.

“They’re fantastic. Santa’s elves are wonderful,” Lewis said.

The dinner included chicken wings, sandwiches, little barbecue sausages, queso, enchiladas, and a variety of desserts. Davis hopes to bring back Santa’s helpers next year.

“A lot of residents don’t get family during the holidays. We give them a little company,” Davis said.

Reach E.I. Hillin at (918) 684-2926 or ehillin@muskogeephoenix.com.