Malia Leighton’s sending smiles to everyone!

Malia Leighton, left, presents Christmas cards to be forwarded to residents of the Manitoulin Lodge Nursing Home in Gore Bay to Gloria Hall, activities director of the Lodge.

GORE BAY – Manitoulin Secondary School (MSS) Grade 12 student Malia Leighton, of Gore Bay, has brought smiles to many seniors and others living in Gore Bay and area communities through her Christmas, birthday and ‘thinking of you’ cards and pictures.

“There were handmade cards, as well as some that had add-ons as well as some lovely artwork,” said Gloria Hall, activities director at the Manitoulin Lodge Nursing Home in Gore Bay, in an email to the Recorder on January 3. “Residents loved to get a card and be thought of during this time. Each card had much thought put into it.”

Malia, with the support and help of other students, sent out cards as part of her ‘Sending Smiles’ project. She explained, “I was assigned a culminating (year-end) school project for my equity and social justice class to design and implement a micro-social action initiative, a small action with the intent of making a much bigger impact. My plan was to reach out to seniors, or anyone for that matter, who could use some cheering up. As we all know this year (2020) has been incredibly challenging for everyone and many people have suffered loneliness due to all the (COVID-19) restrictions.”

“My goal is to combat loneliness and get people back into the tradition of sending ‘snail mail’ to not only their friends and family but to strangers. I reached out to the local schools to see if any classes wanted to join my ‘Sending Smiles’ project and I am very thankful that students from C.C. McLean Public School in Gore Bay, St. Joseph’s Anishinabek School in Sheshegwaning and Manitoulin Secondary School in M’Chigeeng assisted me by making cards and pictures. I also reached out on social media to encourage everyone to join in on my ‘Sending Smiles’ project by sending at least one thoughtful card/letter to someone. Take care and keep smiling!”

“The Manitoulin Lodge residents wish to thank everyone involved in making these lovely (Christmas) cards,” wrote Ms. Hall. “We also received cards for other occasions as well.”

A resident of the Manitoulin Lodge Nursing Home is very happy to have received a Christmas card from Manitoulin Secondary School student Malia Leighton.