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Emerson students venture to Hale House for Action Day

Posted by Your Town  November 21, 2012 01:35 PM

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h3RoR8ugJLn4KmI52BWX6FvZHysCXv9VjTJUMh4dwM0.jpg By Christine Hayes, Globe Correspondent 

For many Emerson College students, the Veteran's Day holiday was a chance to catch up on work or just relax. But not for Monica de Pinto Ribeiro Hancke, Sarah Dwyer, Morgan Turner, and Chloe LeMenager. Instead, the four students headed to the Hale House on Clarendon Street to spend a few hours playing games with elderly residents. 

The students were among 75 students who signed up to participate in Emerson Action Day, an annual event in which students volunteer around the city in places ranging from the St. Francis House shelter to the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center. This year's turnout was the most ever since the event began seven or eight years ago.  The students went to seven different locations. 

Group leader de Pinto Ribeiro Hancke, 21, of Portugal and Norway, was excited to volunteer at the Hale House because she had never been there before and said she enjoys working with the elderly."
 
"The elderly community is very often ignored...but we can't forget about them," she said. 

On this occasion, the students' goal was to engage the Hale House residents in a fun activity. They set about playing the game Family Feud on an iPad in teams of two students and three or four residents. The student team captains passed the iPad back and forth, typing in their team's answers before the clock ran out. 

The students and the residents couldn't help but laugh together at the silly questions like, "What would Indiana Jones have in his closet?" and "What words can describe both a mattress and a person?"
 
Turner, 18 of Hanover, Mass., said, "It had a grandmotherly/grandfatherly feel to it. It was like a little piece of home."

Hale House Activities Director Clara Agoada, 61, said she saw the residents really brighten up and enjoy themselves. She was surprised that both groups stayed with the game for over an hour. 

Dwyer, 22 of Dartmouth, Mass., said she had been to the Hale House once before to teach dance and enjoyed seeing some of the same residents again.

"I definitely want to look into coming back in the future," she said. 

This article is being published under an arrangement between the Boston Globe and Emerson College. 

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