SGA and Heron Point partner on volunteer Valentine’s dance

Maegan White

Elm Staff Writer

On Friday, Feb. 10, the Student Government Association Service Committee partnered with Heron Point, a retirement community in Chestertown, to host a Valentine’s Dance for the residents.

Heron Point has been a long-time partner of the SGA, hosting numerous service projects throughout the years. August of 2022 was the first time since COVID-19 that the SGA was able to partner with Heron Point for the annual first year orientation service event, We Love This Place. 

For this orientation event, a group of first years went to Heron Point and hosted a lemonade stand for the residents. 

Service Committee member freshman Brooke Thomas was one of the freshmen who volunteered at the lemonade stand. There, Thomas met Heron Point’s Director of Life Engagement Kimberly Cox, who said she wanted to host a Valentine’s Dance. 

Thomas later joined the SGA Service Committee and partnered with Secretary of Service and Community Relations sophomore Stephen Hook to make the event come to life. 

“I loved everyone I met at We Love This Place and was so excited to help,” Thomas said. “The idea for the dance came in August so I am really excited to be doing it now.”

According to Hook, the Valentine’s dance was one of the first big events that Heron Point has hosted since the COVID-19 lockdown. The role of the students was to get the residents excited and to talk and dance with them. 

Over 30 students showed up to volunteer — some involved in the SGA and some not.

Hook expressed appreciation for the energy that the students brought when they signed up for and participated in the dance. 

“My favorite part of planning this event is watching the reaction from students when they hear that the dance is with elderly community members,” Hook said. “It was really encouraging to see how deeply students care about our community members and are willing to spend their Friday night with them.”

Throughout the night, students taught the residents dances like “The Wobble” by V.I.C and the residents taught the students how to dance to “The Twist” by Chubby Checker. The students even created a dance circle for a 103-year-old resident and cheered her on as she danced. 

Sophomore Asia Elliot attended the event after receiving a campus wide email inviting students to participate. 

“I thought it would be a fun way to spend my Friday night — when old people have fun, they have fun,” Elliot said. “I got to dance with a gentleman and he spun me twice.”

After the residents returned home after a long night of dancing, Cox thanked all the student volunteers for traveling to Heron Point. She said that the students’ presence at the dance had a huge impact on the residents.  

“Throughout the planning of this event, I have heard so much about how just our students’ presence impacts the residents of Heron Point and how just two hours of our time can make such a difference,” Hook said. “This has been an extremely fulfilling experience and one that I’m sure will be continued in the coming years.”

Photo courtesy of Stephen Hook

Photo Caption: Student volunteers from WC taught and led the residents in group dances.

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