A program for elementary school students to aid Alzheimer's patients will grow compassionate adults. This program deserves to be implemented district-wide.

Whittier Elementary School students are learning how to be compassionate human beings by collecting lifelike dolls and lifelike stuffed dogs and cats that they will distribute to Alzheimer's patients in nursing homes.

According to Alzheimers.net, "the dolls can become an integral part of a senior’s life, as caring for the doll becomes a major part of their day to day responsibilities. This type of therapy is also said to bring back some happy memories of early parenthood and help make seniors feel needed and useful."

Last year, Whittier students collected dolls, dogs and cats last year and delivered the 27 donations to Brookdale, a Muskogee Alzheimer's care facility. Although some of the children were apprehensive because they had never been in a nursing home, once they began talking to patients, they really warmed up to them.

What is really encouraging is that the students were anxious to return and see the patients again. When they did, they discovered that some of the patients still carrying the babies and stuffed animals around from last year. The children could see the fruits of their labor.

Students hope to collect 90 dolls, dogs and cats. As of Tuesday, they had 38. They plan to donate them to two different facilities this year. We hope they make their goal. It's not only good for the patients, it's good for the children to learn about caring for and being considerate of others.

This kind of program has an important place in the emotional development of youngsters. We hope to see more schools implement this program.

You can help

• Bring a monetary donation or a realistic looking baby doll or stuffed dog or cat to Harris-Jobe Professional Development Center, 2809 N. Country Club Road or the Education Service Center, 202 W. Broadway.

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