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Catherine McAuley & St. Brigid students create Christmas cards for senior citizens

“I put lots of Christmas things like wreaths, and Christmas trees, and stars.”

Using crayons, markers and stickers, six-year-old Sophia, a student at Saint Brigid School in Portland, worked intently, striving to create the perfect Christmas card.

“I’m trying to make it my best because it’s for someone else,” she said.

Sophia and her kindergarten classmates joined with sophomores at Catherine McAuley High School in Portland on Thursday, December 11, to make Christmas cards for senior citizens living at Park Danforth and at Saint Joseph’s Rehabilitation and Residence, both located in Portland.  The students divided into pairs to work on the cards, with a McAuley student partnered with one from St. Brigid.

“I’m having a great time,” said Elizabeth Polk, a McAuley sophomore, who worked with Sophia on her card. “This is a lot of fun because we get to work with little kids and experience what it’s like, and also, we get to do some service, which goes with the McAuley theme.”

“It’s really cool to help little kids give back to the community,” said Indigo Fulham-Fitzgerald, another McAuley student. “It’s a mutually beneficial kind of thing.”

This is the fourth year that the schools have teamed up for the “Cookies, Cocoa, and Card making” Christmas project, which is among several special service and academic projects designed especially for McAuley's sophomore class.

Erika Sanborn, director of marketing at the high school, said staff members at Saint Joseph’s Rehabilitation and Residence have always been overjoyed to receive the cards because not all residents living there have family nearby.  This is the first year that the cards also will be shared with seniors living at Park Danforth, which is just down the street from the two schools.

“If it’s a little thing we can do to bring a lot of cheer, then we’ve done our job. We want them to know that they’re thought of this time of year,” said Sanborn.

“It definitely improves their spirits around the holidays because maybe they don’t get cards,” said Brianna Reinhard, a McAuley sophomore. “I think it’s really nice to give cards to someone else, other than people who you know.”

While most students shared the traditional “Merry Christmas” greeting on their cards, there were also a few “Ho, Ho, Ho’s” and expressions of joy mixed in. Each card also included a message which said, "Made with love by the students of McAuley and St. Brigid."

The students hoped to create around 100 cards in all.  They were expected to hand deliver the cards to the Park Danforth residents on Friday, December 12.  The cards for Saint Joseph's Rehabilitation and Residence were expected to be shared with the residents next week.

After the students finished crafting their cards, they were rewarded with cocoa and cookies and even had a very special visitor, who was easy to pick out of the crowd thanks to his jolly laugh and red suit. We know him as Saint Nick.