Youth a shining point of light

Youth a shining point of light
Alex Pogrebniak gently removes eyeclasses from a resident at Taylor Manor to clean them.

San Marco resident Alex Pogrebniak really helps make the light shine for senior residents living at Taylor Manor.

Every Saturday he spends the morning visiting the residents, playing games, chatting and cleaning eyeglasses. It’s those little things that make them look forward to his weekly visits and also prompted Activity Director/Volunteer Coordinator Kathleen Wilkes-Pierce to nominate Pogrebniak for the Daily Point of Light Award (created in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush).

Pogrebniak_02Pogrebniak, a sophomore at The Bolles School, said he is quite comfortable around older people. “I think they rock. Volunteering at Taylor Manor felt a little like going to my grandmother’s house [in Louisville, Kentucky]. I help my grandmother a lot when we are together, so it was pretty much the same at Taylor Manor. It is just that at Taylor Manor I have a lot of grandparents!,” said Alex.

When Pogrebniak is at the Manor, he reads to the residents, cleans their eyeglasses, plays card games and Bingo with them, plays his French horn, helps them with the arts and crafts projects, decorates their bedroom doors, opens doors for them and encourages them to socialize together. “The most important thing that I do is talk with them and listen,” he said.

The residents have embraced Pogrebniak and last Christmas one of them pulled an ornament from the tree to take home to his mother. “She said, ‘You are one of us now.’  The funny thing was that I did not want to take one of Taylor Manors ornaments, but I also did not want the resident to see me putting it back because I was afraid it would hurt her feelings, so I just had to wait and do it when she was not looking,” he shared. “It really was sweet of her and made me feel so good that she had bonded with me.”

The volunteer experience will certainly be an asset on his college application and, if he continues his weekly visits, may shape his future.

“I would like to become an industrial engineer, unless I decide instead to run a nursing home!” Pogrebniak said.

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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