ONTARIO — The faces of elderly people living at Wellsprings Assisted Living in Ontario lit up on the afternoon of Nov. 14, as students from Aiken Elementary School came to sing songs to those living in the facility.

Led by music teacher Susie Lott, the students sang songs about America and how much they love living in the state of Oregon.

For the past four years, the students of Aiken have been making the trip to both Wellsprings and Dorian Place Assisted Living about every other month to entertain residents in the assisted living facilities.

According to Aiken Elementary Principal Tobey Huddleston, the students at Aiken were already doing regular “little concerts” for the parent teacher organization every month.

“We thought it would be fun to have them share their ability to perform,” Huddleston said. “It’s a great way to reach out to the community.”

For Lott, performing at the assisted living facilities is nothing new. Her late father, who was a pastor, would take the family to play music for the elderly regularly.

“I’ve been doing nursing homes since I was a kid,” the music teacher said. “Now I just love giving the kids a chance to perform.”

Both Wellsprings and Dorian Place are within walking distance of Aiken Elementary School, so Huddleston said it’s great that the students can just walk over. The school does not have to schedule a bus for transit.

While the mini concerts are a way the students of Aiken are able to help others, Huddleston said it’s also a great way to teach the students about being kind to others.

“It benefits the kids as much as the residents,” Huddleston said. “It shows the kids what a little bit of kindness and song can do for others. They come back really proud of what they did that day. It’s really a feel good thing all around.”

Nik Streng is a sports and news reporter at The Argus Observer. He can be reached at (541) 823-4806 or by emailing niklass@argusobserver.com. To comment on this story, go to www.argusobserver.com.

Nik Streng is the sports reporter for the Argus Observer. He graduated from the University of Oregon in 2015 with a master's degree in journalism, after graduating from Pacific University in 2013 with a degree in creative writing.

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