Karns DECA students Bring Seniors Some Warmth

Nancy Anderson, Shopper News

Several members of Karns DECA met at Autumn Care Assisted Living to distribute homemade blankets Friday, December 20.

The students seemed to be a delightful surprise as resident after resident welcomed them and greeted them with a smile and a hug.

The chapter members met twice a month to make 36 no-sew fleece blankets. Each blanket had to be cut to size, then knotted all the way around.

“They’re no sew, but they’re charming,” said DECA advisor Cynthia Rhoden. “They’re easy, but making 36 of them took a minute.”

Rhoden said they chose Autumn Care Assisted Living in particular because some residents don’t get visitors often and some chapter members don’t have grandparents.

“There are members who have no experience with the elderly at all, they have no grandparents. They don’t know how wise and wonderful these residents can be. It’s a win-win. The students get to know what it might be like to have a grandparent and the residents get much-needed visitors.

“It builds character, too and teaches the students about people who are not like them. I think they really enjoy it once they get in there and see how happy the residents are to see them.”

DECA is an organization designed for kids interested in marketing, entrepreneurship, hospitality and finance. It encourages the development of business and leadership skills through academic conferences and competitions.

DECA members are hoping to attend the state competition in Chattanooga in March and have organized several fundraisers to offset expenses.

The students organized a basketball tournament, a Salsarita’s night, and a golf tournament in September and raised enough money to put toward expenses and buy fabric to make the blankets.

“Competitions are expensive. The bus alone is $2,200. I usually have a large group attending the state competition, plus in 14 years of teaching, I always have one or two students to advance on to the international level,” Rhoden said.

While the chapter members spend a great deal of time and energy raising money for competitions, Rhoden said giving back to the community is important.

 “That’s a lot of fundraising, but we also want to give back to the community. It’s our second year Visiting Autumn Care so it is becoming a tradition we really look forward to.

“We put a tree in at Fantasy of Trees, and we participate in Ghoul at the School (a trick or treating event).

“The theme for our tree was Toy Story and we decorated all the ornaments in one morning. Nearly every member turned out to help. We won an award for best use of color.”

“That happened because we all worked together as a team. That’s what DECA is all about.”

Categories: Chapters, Profiles