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The Grand Scarf Exchange builds school and community ties

2 people in wheelchairs, 6 people standing, cafeteria, smiling

Kathleen Deck is the Family & Consumer Sciences teacher at Central Valley Academy. Her husband Fred is the Administrator at The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing in Ilion. Central Valley is always looking for ways to build ties with the community. The Grand is always looking for way to connect residents with people and activities outside the nursing home. The Decks kicked around a few ideas and came up with something they named The Grand Scarf Exchange.

At school, Kathleen sent an email to the Central Valley staff asking for miscellaneous yarn. Her fellow employees responded by donated skeins of yarn in all colors. She used the yarn to teach her Fashion and Design students to knit scarves. Once finished, her Baking class whipped up several batches of cookies.

In the meantime, Fred worked with The Grand Activities Director Deb Farr to arrange a trip to CVA. A small group of residents boarded a bus bound for the CVA cafeteria in mid-January. After some brief introductions, the students presented their hand-knitted scarves and served cookies. For an hour, everyone chatted, laughed, and shared stories.

Fred asked his residents to share some advice with the students. The common theme throughout each comment was, “Get your education and do your best.”

“The Grand Scarf Exchange is a great example of our district’s Community pillar—building ties between our school and the greater Central Valley community,” said Superintendent Jeremy Rich.

“Our students had the opportunity to meet with people they seldom encounter. In those few minutes, they discovered a generation of people who have lived full lives, who worked in successful and rewarding careers, and raised families. We can learn from their life experiences. In turn, The Grand residents met a group of kind and caring students excitedly looking to their futures. It really was an exchange; residents and students both gave and received.”

3 people sitting, 6 standing, smiling, cafeteria

cafeteria, man in wheelchair with camera

student extending plate of cookies to man, cafeteria