Activity Fair for seniors is tomorrow

Teen organizes event focusing on those with Alzheimer's

November 16, 2007|By John-John Williams IV | John-John Williams IV,SUN REPORTER

Laila Handoo, a 14-year-old sophomore at Glenelg Country School, wanted to do more after she spent the summer working with elderly residents who have Alzheimer's disease and dementia at the Harmony Hall assisted-living center in Columbia.

She approached her school's civics leadership teacher with a plan, and then organized the school's first Activity Fair for Howard County elderly who suffer from such ailments. More than 20 of her classmates have agreed to staff the event, which will be held in the school's gymnasium from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow.

"She really connected with that experience in such a way that she felt that she truly made a difference in the lives of the elderly there," said David Weeks, Glenelg Country's civic leadership director. "She wanted to continue her contribution."

Laila's efforts have made quite an impression on Weeks.

"As an aging baby boomer, I'm glad to have her in my corner," he said. "She, in her quiet and determined way, is definitely making a difference in the lives of elders, and modeling to her peers the importance of giving back and helping those in need."

Laila based the fair on Glenelg Country School's Spring Fun Fair, which caters to students from Cedar Lane School, a public school in Fulton for those with severe physical and mental disabilities.

Tomorrow's event will feature a variety of booths that will include a sensory station, a pingpong toss, a history timeline station, a talking station and a flower pot decorating station.

"She wanted [participants] to have reminders of the event, and she wanted to make a really pleasant environment for the seniors," Weeks said.

Laila raised money for the fair by holding a bake sale at the school this month.

"I get so inspired by people like her," Weeks said. "They are really leading the way for our future. It is so important to let the community at large appreciate the gift that they can give to all of us."

john-john.williams@baltsun.com

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