Garden Creates Special Connection between Nursing Home Residents, Holy Trinity Kids

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Sharing some patriotic songs and getting some help from older students, the youngest children from Holy Trinity help set the mood for the Armenian Nursing Center residents

JAMAICA PLAIN, Mass. — There is a rose garden at the Armenian Nursing and Rehabilitation Center (ANRC) and the Sunday School and Armenian School children at the Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church in Cambridge are primarily responsible for this gift to the center.

For almost 40 years, the children of Holy Trinity Sunday and Armenian Schools have visited the Nursing Center and donated rose bushes in honor of the residents and staff. Seta Buchter, the superintendent of the Sunday School for the past 25 years, is excited about this annual tradition, which is also a mandatory part of the Sunday School and Armenian school curriculums.

“It is important for our students to stay connected with the elderly at the Nursing Center,” she says, “we need to honor and respect them since they paved the way for our generation and should not be forgotten.”

When this tradition was started almost 40 years ago, students presented a program and were given juice and cookies before their departure. Twenty years ago, the parents and teachers from Holy Trinity expanded this tradition to also include a cookout. Students recite poetry and sing religious and patriotic songs. The children make an effort to engage the residents. Following the program, these students have a “meet and greet,” where they introduce themselves to the residents and try to learn about their lives and their stories. The older students also help the younger ones interact with the residents, so that they, in turn, will learn the leadership and communication skills that Buchter feels is important.

“Our students develop a relationship with God and our church, and it helps make religion relevant to our children through practical, not theoretical means,” said Buchter. “We try to emphasize the importance of God, family and Church and we try to raise the sensitivity level of our youth. We are so fortunate to have our Parish Council, our parishioners and our pastor, morally and financially supportive all the way.”

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Rev. Vasken Kouzouian, pastor of Holy Trinity, is committed to the ANRC and celebrates liturgical services for the residents and staff on a regular basis. “The work of the Nursing Center is a continuation of our church’s work,” reflected Kouzouian. “We are taking care of Armenian seniors and needy members of our community; it is part of our Armenian identity and where our faith and heritage come together.”

This year, more than 55 students, their families and teachers attended this event, held on Sunday, May 22. Alexis, a first-grade student at the Holy Trinity Sunday School, perhaps said it best: “The residents look at the children and remember when they were that age.”

For more information, visit ANRC at www.armenianhome.org.

— Lalig Musserian