School teacher Ms Ortega of West Bridgford School, proposed the idea to her classes of sending Christmas cards to those who could feel isolated this Christmas, here is her story:
Earlier this month, my family experienced the upsetting news that my aunt had passed away at the age of 67 following a long and difficult illness. She had been staying in a residential care home in Burgos, Spain, and it was comforting to know that she received the best quality of support and care from diligent staff.
2020 has not been the easiest of years, however some people have suffered more than others, especially the more vulnerable members of society and those who have worked tirelessly to protect them during the global pandemic. The restrictions that have been in place, that are so necessary to protect the physical health of the care home residents has resulted in a greater sense of isolation from family, friends and the outside world. I can only imagine how difficult it must be for them at this time of year. With this on my mind, I was keen to show my gratitude to the staff and residents of my Auntie’s care home and found inspiration in a social media post promoting a pen-pal initiative for residents in a care home.
I was unsure as to how our students would react to the idea of creating a Christmas card and letter for a vulnerable person over a thousand miles away, however I was overwhelmed by the empathetic and enthusiastic response to this opportunity to utilize their language skills in order to brighten the Christmas of a perfect stranger. And so, with festive inspiration from Spanish Christmas carols, the students set to work with a sense of purpose, producing bright, imaginative and beautiful cards and an engaging, caring letter to introduce themselves, send Christmas greetings and best wishes for the future.
I was not only impressed by their creativity but also their outstanding linguistic skills. This idea has spread through the Modern Foreign Languages department, and Ms Spencer with her French year 7 and year 9 students has been preparing cards and letters for residents in a Canadian care home. Her students were also extremely excited and excel themselves.
I could not be prouder of the care and effort that our students put into their cards and letters and the demonstration of true Christmas spirit, which I have no doubt will put a smile on the face of many people who have had a difficult year.
Feliz navidad, Joyeux Noël, Frohe Weihnachten, Merry Christmas.