BY MONTSE MOLINA
During the holiday season, traditions include giving and receiving presents as well as gathering with family. Still, there are some people who don’t have the opportunity to be parts of these traditions.
Members of Catholics in Action (CIA) go to retirement homes every year to volunteer with senior citizens as old as 100. They usually sing to the elders and listen to some stories the elders have to tell. This year’s first visit will be Dec. 28 at Covenant Village.
President of CIA Monica Molina said the people in the retirement homes usually don’t get chances to tell stories from the past,but when CIA went last year, a 100-year-old woman got a chance to tell stories about her childhood adventures.
“We chose retirement homes because we think elders are the ones who need the most love since it’s not shown to them by others and you can see it in their eyes that they are very thankful for the attention,” she said.
Molina said her favorite part of going to the retirement homes is when the elderly receive the visits and listen to them singing with a genuine smile.
“Sometimes love is given to the wrong people, but this love is given to the people who really deserve it,” she said.
CIA member freshman Daniella Martinez said she is looking forward to this experience because she has heard that after leaving the retirement home members feel so accomplished that they did something good.
“This is the first time I’m going to go since I am new to the club, and I can’t wait to experience it,” she said.
CIA sponsor Selma Benitez said she accepted when the CIA officers asked her to be the club adviser because the officers are all such hard workers.
“The members of the club and the officers really want to make a difference,” she said. “The elders we visit at the retirement homes have really changed some lives of some kids and I’m so proud of the work and effort everyone puts into this club in trying to help others and making them happy.”
Mrs. Benitez said the officers feel accomplished when they go on trips, and she said she couldn’t be more proud of all of them. She also said she loves going on the trips and seeing the happiness happen right in front of her eyes.
“You can feel the joy and the happiness spreading all over the room,” Mrs. Benitez said.
Martinez said the older members of the club talk about visits to the retirement homes during the whole school year, and she loves listening to everything they have to say about it.
“The way that the other members of the club talk about their past experiences makes it seem a little magical,” she said.
Just like the elders tell their stories about the past, Mrs. Benitez said she has one to tell after her visit one year.
“One year when we went to the retirement homes, we met a woman who was 100 years old, and she told us amazing stories about her childhood, and it was so fascinating. It was an unforgettable experience,” Mrs. Benitez said.
Molina said going to the retirement home was her favorite activity the club does the whole year.
“It’s something not every club does, and I’m so proud all the officers and Mrs. Benitez make it happen because I truly believe it’s something life changing,” Molina said.