botsford-santa-2During the holidays, people look forward to traditions – baking cookies with Grandma, trimming the tree as a family, or attending festive parties with friends.

At Botsford Commons, the Giving Tree event has taken its place alongside those treasured traditions among staff, families and residents, according to a news release. Now in its third, very successful year, it is a hand’s down favorite.

Seventy-eight first-grade students from Botsford Elementary visited Botsford Commons, all looking forward to singing holiday favorites and entertaining the residents.

Little did the children know, but the residents and staff had been working hard for months, collaborating with their teachers, to make sure every first grade student received brand new books that would interest them and be at their current reading level.

The residents and staff watched with excited eyes while Santa counted down, “three, two, one” and the students all unwrapped their books simultaneously.

The screams and yells from the excited kids brought tears to the eyes of the staff and residents.

“It was such a joy to see,” said Margaret Lightner, President and CEO of Botsford Commons. “We were all involved in their joy, enjoying that moment with the students was amazing. They loved their gifts and it was beautiful to see the residents’ faces light up – watching the kids in that moment was a gift to us all.”

The event is organized through the Fullness of Life department at Botsford Commons, this year’s event was led by Barb Smith.

Christmas trees are decorated with envelopes, each one labeled with a student’s name. The staff, residents, and families are excited to fill the envelopes with donations, they know they’re giving a priceless gift to these students; they’re giving the gift of reading.

Reading has connected Botsford Commons seniors and these Clarenceville School District students for seven years, thanks to a popular reading program called “Botsford Buddies.” Every month, the children read to the residents, improving their literacy skills and building bonds along the way.

First grade teacher Maureen O’Leary stated, “In all my years of teaching, this event was the most incredible thing I have ever experienced,” said first-grade teacher Maureen O’Leary. “One of my students last year opened her gift of books, hugged them and never put them down. This gift put her on the road to reading.”

The children carried their books home, stored safely in dry cloth grocery bags, donated by Senior Helpers, Residential Home Health, and Kroger.

Botsford Commons Senior Community is a non-profit corporation providing housing and service options for seniors. Located on a 30-acre campus in Farmington Hills. The award-winning community offers a full continuum of care for the area’s senior population including short stay rehabilitation services, long-term care, privately owned condominiums, and rental options for senior apartments and assisted living suites.

Botsford Commons Senior Living Center was awarded a Level III Quality Seal from the Michigan Center for Assisted Living (MCAL) and the Senior Living Center and Botsford Rehabilitation and Continuing Care have each received a Bronze National Quality Award from the American Health Care Association/ National Center for Assisted Living.

Original article here…