On Sept. 17, 2018, Girl Scout Troop #245 served its community by picking up trash around Life Care Center of Estero, Florida.
The troop was led by Kim Poinsett, a physical therapist assistant at the facility.
“The girls had so much fun with the project!” said Poinsett. “Who thought you could have so much fun picking up trash? They asked me, ‘Ms. Kim, can we do this once a month?’ The girls love to do community service, and that’s really what the Girl Scouts is all about: teaching the girls how to give back to the community.”
Poinsett’s troop adopted Life Care Center of Estero as an ongoing service project more than two years ago, and has been serving the facility ever since by finding fun, creative ways to meet the needs of both residents and associates.
A couple other examples of the girls’ service projects include caroling for the residents in their rooms and making them homemade cards at Christmas time, hosting a facility food drive and kick-starting a new program called Dolls for Dementia. The purpose of the program, which was created by a few of the girls and their mothers, is to collect dolls to give to dementia patients for comfort.
However, at the end of the day, seeing the bright, smiling faces of the girls in the troop when they come to visit is what encourages residents the most.
“Seeing the girls makes the residents feel young again,” said Poinsett. “Whenever the girls come in to do the Christmas caroling and I see my patients the next day, they all say things like, ‘Thank you so much for bringing them in. It made me feel so good!’ or ‘I miss my grandkids – they live so far away.’ A lot of residents retired down here and their families are up north, so they don’t get to see them. Having the kids come into the facility really brightens their day.”
Poinsett also said that the troop’s service at Life Care Center of Estero not only impacts the residents, but it has a positive impact on the girls as well.
“It’s such a learning experience – learning compassion and seeing what it’s like to have a grandparent in a nursing home or rehab center,” said Poinsett. “They learn how to communicate with people who can’t always communicate very well and see how just having a conversation or holding someone’s hand can make them feel better.”