Red, green, yellow, orange and blue Easter eggs lined the tables at the Neighbors of Dunn County as University of Wisconsin-Stout Student Dietetic Association members helped residents at the care facility color eggs to celebrate the spring season on Wednesday, April 17.
Lexi Stewart, a junior majoring in dietetics from Red Wing, Minn., smiled as she helped resident Jeanne Sprader lift eggs out of the cups filled with food coloring dye, waiting until they had “eggs-actly” the hue they wanted. Residents donned plastic gloves and aprons as they worked with the students to color the eggs as they added stickers and made designs with crayons on the eggs.
“I love just being here and being a part of their lives and enjoying the holidays,” Stewart said. “I wasn’t going to color Easter eggs for the holiday, so this was a lot of fun.”
Sprader said she enjoys having students visit. “I just wanted to come down and watch them color eggs,” she said. “I do just love the interaction.”
Sally Rocque, Neighbors life enhancement mentor, formerly known as an activities director, said having students color eggs with the residents helps spur memories of Easters past and helps make new ones. “Some of our residents don’t have family in the area,” Rocque said. “They love to talk to the students and find out what is going on in the community and at UW-Stout. It’s that community connection.”
For students who may not make it home for Easter, it gives them the opportunity to color eggs and spend time with an older generation, Rocque said.
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About 160 eggs were colored by a just under a dozen residents and five members of the dietetic association, Rocque said. The Easter eggs will be delivered to residents on Good Friday during the lunch meal for them to enjoy.
Leah Wolfe, a graduate student in the food and nutritional sciences program and secretary of the dietetic association, said coloring eggs was a good opportunity for members to volunteer and get involved with the community. “It is an awesome opportunity for our members to meet the residents and have a positive impact,” said Wolfe, of Fountain City.
Kaitlynn Lee, a senior dietetics major from Elmwood, who has worked in long-term care, said she just enjoys working with older adults. “I used to color eggs as a kid,” she said. “It brings back a lot of good memories for me making different colors and designs on the eggs. It’s good for the residents to see other people and be social.”
Neighbors resident Jan Metcalf said coloring the eggs reminded her of when her family would get together in North St. Paul and have Easter egg hunts, with about 20 children taking part in the hunt.
“I enjoy the students,” Metcalf said, as she pulled a yellow egg out of a cup. “They are always such a fun group.”
In addition to the dietetic association, UW-Stout students from the Stout Council on Family Relations, Gamma Sigma Sigma, athletics and StoutCatholic Campus Ministry visit the Neighbors. On average a student group visits the Neighbors each month, Rocque said.