Residents at Grace Point Place, a live-in memory care facility located at 5701 W. 101st St. in Oak Lawn decorated kites to be flown by Southwest Chicago Christian School students on May 26. (Photos by Kelly White)

Residents at Grace Point Place, a live-in memory care facility located at 5701 W. 101st St. in Oak Lawn decorated kites to be flown by Southwest Chicago Christian School students on May 26. (Photos by Kelly White)

Kids, Grace Point Place residents fly kites

By Kelly White

After months of sheltering at home, elementary students and residents at an Oak Lawn memory care community were able to spread their wings recently.

Residents residing within Grace Point Place, a live-in memory care facility located at 5701 W. 101st St. in Oak Lawn decorated kites to be flown by local elementary school students on May 26.

“I love to use my creativity make something that has a purpose,” Grace Point Place resident, Shirley Rhodes, 83, said. “It is so nice to see these children fly the kite I created.”

Students from first- through eighth-grade at Southwest Chicago Christian School, 10110 S. Central Ave., spent time during their scheduled recess breaks to fly the kites, assuring every grade level could be involved. Grace Point Place residents were able to watch outside while enjoying the beautiful weather.

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Southwest Chicago Christian School seventh-grader Casey Lenarz, 13, of Palos Heights, and Riley Samp, 13, of Bridgeview, had fun flying kites that were decorated by residents at Grace Point Place.

“Were excited to partner with Grace Point Place again,” Southwest Chicago Christian School Principal Nate Pettinga said. “They’ve been a great partner over the years for inter-generational engagements. Due to COVID over the past year, we were unable to, but we are now excited to spread some joy to them through the kite-flying event. It’s an event that’s small but it reinforces the notion that no matter how small something may be, like flying a kite, it can still bring an immense amount of happiness to others.”

Shannon Dahlman, Community Relations Director for Grace Point Place, agreed.

“Building friendships between the generations is important and the pandemic made these precious opportunities much rarer over the past year,” Dahlman said. “Getting together to share this wonderful experience is uplifting for everyone. Now that restrictions are easing, we hope it is the first of many occasions to come.”

Dahlman said the idea for the kite-flying event sparked from residents reminiscing about when they used to fly kites as children.

“I remember flying kites when I was that age,” Grace Point Place resident, Donald Brann, 88, said. “It was so really enjoyable.”

The mission behind Grace Point Place is to optimize the potential for cognitively impaired individuals to find comfort, joy and a connection with the world around them.

Employees working within the facility continually engage residents in positive ways through everyday conversation, interactive activities and social connections with other residents, helping to re-connect residents both to others and to themselves.

The kite flying event was a prime example of this interactive care, according to staff members at Grace Point Place.

“The residents enjoy watching the children play outside for recess and wanted to do something they could enjoy together,” Dahlman said. “Through this event, we are able to connect with multi-generations.”

The kites we made over the past week at Grace Point Place by 30 residents within its community. Some of the kites were painted with bright colors then assembled to make some neat, unique kites.

“I like flying kites; so, this a lot of fun,” Casey Lenarz, 13, of Palos Heights, said.

This was the first kite-flying event between Grace Point Place and Southwest Christian School, but Dahlman would like to have it become a tradition.
Grace Point Place is nestled in a quiet residential neighborhood of the Oak Lawn community surrounded by greenery. The facility combines innovation with a highly skilled team and a passion to serve to provide an unparalleled quality of care for individuals struggling with Alzheimer’s and dementia through technology based and personal care.

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