JSU students help Gadsden seniors

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By Sarrah Peters/News Editor

Since 1997, Jacksonville State University social work students have been assisting McGuffey Healthcare and Rehab First with planning activities for the residents.

The upper level practice group case management class teaches students how to utilize available resources and plan activities with appropriate themes. With low budgets, the students must be creative. They frequently acquire services that are on a donated basis. 

“We basically turn them loose,” said Kim Whorton, the social work teacher that teaches the class. “They (the students) have come up with some really interesting ideas and they like to make it over the top.”

Students are in charge of everything including themes, decorations and food, although McGuffey’s staff does help with set up. Some of the events have included a Fall Festival, Hoedowns, A Vegas Night, Motown and a talent show called McGuffey’s Got Talent. 

“The residents seem to really enjoy it,” said Whorton.

An unintended side effect of this class was an increased interest of the students to work with seniors. Most previously expressed a desire to work with  children. 

Social work is necessary in the geriatric field in nursing homes, hospice, hospitals and adult protective services.

“It’s a great learning experience for my students,” said Whorton. “They learn leadership and how to work as a team.”

It also provides a lot of fun experiences for the residents. In fact, last year, the JSU students were voted volunteers of the year by the residents.

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