Joy for the Forgotten


We’ve become familiar with the theme that helping others will benefits us. Yet, the power of serving others often gets lost in the midst of our habitual actions and unexpected daily problems. As a newspaper staff, we’ve been able to experience the power of our words, but as of February 9th, we were able to experience a power that goes beyond our computer screen.

Walking into the nursing home that Friday afternoon, most of us weren’t sure what to expect. Previously, we had gotten together to make over 70 cards and bought a few bottles of nail polish to take to the residents and staff members at Mansfield Medical Lodge. The Lodge houses residents who aren’t able to live on their own as well as people who need short term care due to recent surgeries or medical procedures.  Our main reason for venturing away from Lake Ridge this particular evening was our desire to make a lasting impression beyond the everyday stories we produce.

“It was a simple thing for us. Just one little card that didn’t take too long to make. However it meant so much to them which made it even more special to me. I was talking to one lady and she told me that no one was coming to visit her this Valentine’s Day so it meant a lot to me that I could show her we cared for her,” said junior and staff member Sophie Combs.

Whitney Steed

What we didn’t know, was that every card we made and every word we wrote would leave a big impression on everyone involved. According to senior, Jessica Verela, the significance in us just being there and talking to the people effected us just as much as the residents.

“It helped me grow as a person. It’s not just in our everyday life that we get up and do something good for people. I think spreading positivity and making people smile can change your whole mood. It was amazing to see one of the residents smile at my card. That could’ve been her first smile in weeks or months. Just to see her smile because of what I did, reminds me that there are things we could do everyday,” said Verela.

Spending the afternoon with the residents of Mansfield Medical Lodge is something each one of us will remember for years to come. However, as amazing as this experience was, it was also heartbreaking. As we spent more and more time there, we would meet different people who haven’t seen their relatives in months. Often times no one comes to visit them. Although we were unsure of our reception, we sure weren’t prepared to be blown away by how much a small card and a few minutes of time can make such an immense difference in the life of someone else.

Whitney Steed

“There was this one lady I sat down with and she asked me to paint her nails. Then she said it was going to be her 92nd birthday next week. She kept repeating that fact over and over and then she said her granddaughters lived in Grand Prairie. I asked if they were coming to visit her and she said no. That made me very sad because I asked why she wanted her nails done and she simply said ‘I want to look pretty.’ It was depressing but I realized even though I wasn’t her granddaughter I had the chance to play that role in that moment and do something special for her on her birthday,” said Verela.

One of the things our advisor, Mr. Sohel, told us afterwards was we brought joy to forgotten hearts. The feeling of giving joy to the forgotten is indescribable. Yet for some of us, joy wasn’t the only thing restored. Sophomore Olivia Thompson experienced a feeling of grief in the beginning, however, a feeling of thankfulness and gratitude came powerfully to her as well.

“This experience made me call the grandmother I have now because my other grandma just passed away earlier this year. One of the ladies I was talking to sounded like my grandma. She was talking to me about how she appreciated all the time she had with her kids. Passing out the cards and seeing the people smile at them was important to me because it made me realize that it doesn’t take money or a lot to make someone else happy,” said Thompson.

Although our advisor gives us most of the credit for this event, we wouldn’t have even thought about going anywhere to serve if it wasn’t for his encouragement. We may not have the best newspaper in the state of Texas, but we enjoy writing stories every week and being able to inform our school of what’s going on in and outside of the classroom. Yet as much as we love writing, Mr. Sohel introduced us to the idea that we have a job to make an impact in our community.

Trieu Tran

“I was really proud that my kids were willing to give up a Friday night to go reach out and do some good things in the community. It made me feel good that especially with how crazy the world is right now that we made our own small corner of the world better for some very deserving people. Even if it was just for five minutes, they knew they weren’t forgotten. Whether it was a deep conversation or a conversation about the weather, it was the fact that someone acknowledged people who often get over looked and that made their day,” said Sohel.

Simple isn’t a word we would use to describe our every day lives. We are constantly moving, getting from point A to point B. Yet that Friday afternoon was simple. For those few hours time slowed down. We were taken out of our busy, technology driven worlds and emerged into a place where something so simple as just listening, could be so profound.