Our Maryland girls are giving back to their community, and making some new friends along the way.
Six girls from the Crossroads Transitional Living Program have formed a partnership with Genesis Healthcare Center, a nursing facility in Baltimore.
On their first visit a few weeks ago, they socialized with the seniors and played games with them, and residents enjoyed their company so much that the girls were soon invited back.
For their second visit, they decided to put on a talent show for the residents. The girls, sang, played piano and read poems for the residents, but the highlight of the show was a line dance the girls did together. One 90-year-old woman was inspired to get out of her wheelchair to join in the dancing.
Melody Baker, program director for Crossroads, said the girls benefit from the interactions, too. She said the girls genuinely enjoy spending time with the residents, and are excited to spread smiles and laughter at the center.
“The girls get affirmation from the residents,” said Melody Baker, Crossroads program director. “The girls are very talented, and they love to perform, so it’s just a good fit.”
In their two visits, the girls have already started to bond with the seniors. The Genesis Activities Coordinator was so impressed with the joy they brought to the residents that she scheduled them for monthly visits.
“A lot of the residents are older, and don’t have family, and some of the girls don’t either so, it’s a great opportunity,” Baker said.
Baker said one of the life skills girls learn at Crossroads is to give back to their communities, and volunteering at Genesis is a perfect way to teach the girls about service. In the past, they’ve also volunteered at local soup kitchens and the humane society, but the partnership with Genesis marks their first ongoing project.
“A lot of times people do volunteer work around Christmas and Thanksgiving, but there are people in need all year round,” Baker said.
The Arrow Crossroads Community is a home for girls who are “aging out” of foster care to learn life skills for successful independent living. At Crossroads, they receive individualized assessments and training, therapeutic services and multidisciplinary treatment planning. Through progressive goal achievements, girls are able to earn the privilege of moving from a dorm-style setting to the less structured life of a cottage before leaving for independent life as adults.