Students visit Blackburn residents on Halloween

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Residents of The Blackburn Home welcomed students from The Montessori School of the Mahoning Valley on Oct. 31.

This traditional Halloween visit has been happening for nearly two decades.

The residents of the retirement home send information about themselves, such as fun facts and hobbies, to the school. Montessori staff pairs their 9-12 year-old students with a resident, and the students write a letter, practicing their correspondence skills.

“It’s an exciting day when the letters come,” says Connie Leathers, activities director at The Blackburn Home. “We read many of them out loud at the dinner table because it’s so much fun and our residents get even more eager for the visit.”

In the letters, the students share information with their pen pal.

“I got to hear about pets, dance classes, and brothers and sisters,” stated Helen Brill.

Mary Alice Baluck took the time to plan a Halloween outfit, “so that the student will recognize me!”

On the day of the visit, the students arrived dressed in costumes with a theme dictated by a subject they are discussing at school. This year, their characters shared stories about the creation of the world from many cultures and groups. When the presentation was completed, each pair of pen pals got to meet and spend time together.

Blackburn residents took their young visitors on a tour of the home, played games or simply conversed.

When the afternoon ended, the happy group reassembled in the living room of The Blackburn Home. Residents gave each of the students a treat bag of Halloween goodies.

Michelle Rudge, the home’s director, had high praise for the students.

“Seeing the children come back year after year truly has a special meaning for celebrating Halloween at The Blackburn Home,” she said.

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