EAST students from England High School visited a local nursing home to take portraits of the residents, providing the residents and their families a memory that could last forever.
Nursing homes are one of the most popular destinations for EAST students, as they are always a great place to volunteer and serve their community.
Students at EAST at England High School wanted to go beyond just visiting residents; they wanted to do something special.
Ariel Bateman, Madison Bryant, and Alanah Shorty became increasingly interested in photography during their time in EAST, so they decided to use their new passion to document the lives of those inside the Cavalier Healthcare of England nursing home and give the residents their own version of school picture day.
“We were thinking of ways we could use our cameras and take pictures to help the community. So we came up with the idea of taking pictures of the residents at the nursing home,” Ariel said. “At first, we were just going to take pictures of the residents during their daily lives, but our facilitator JR (Deniz) said it would be a good idea to take portraits of the residents so their families could have them.”
Visiting the nursing home earlier this school year was the first experience the students had with volunteering for their community, and challenged them to interact with new people with different backgrounds than their own.
“It really helped me get out of my comfort zone,” Alanah said. “I don’t typically interact with lots of people, so this project pushed me to interact with people that I was not familiar with.”
Madison said she was not initially interested in participating in service-based projects like this, but discovering her passion for photography and finding a way to use it for good convinced her to become more involved.
“At first I really didn’t want to do any projects until I started using the camera,” Madison said. “I really like taking pictures of people, and I feel like I’m able to become better at photography while making a difference for the residents with this project.”
The staff at Cavalier Healthcare of England and the residents love having the students visit and volunteer at the nursing home, and are inviting them back next month to help decorate and take pictures for the holidays.
“The residents there have been really excited and have given us good feedback,” Ariel said. “One of them told us that he’s going to dress up in a full tuxedo when we come back to take more pictures!”