Prosper youth work together to benefit community

By Aubrey Turner
For the Prosper Press
Representatives of the Prosper Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ meet with directors of Saddle Brook Memory Care Community to donate supplies produced by the church youth group.

The youth group at the Prosper Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints created and donated needed supplies to a local nursing home.  The group met on Friday, April 2nd for a day of service.  The teens, ages 14 to 18, worked at assigned stations to create cards, mealtime bibs, blankets, and rhythm instruments for the residents of Saddle Brook Memory Care Facility in Frisco.  

This project day required many supplies, and the teens used a recent conference time to collect from their peers in the area.  Over three hundred teens gathered together during the conference earlier this year.  As part of the ministry of this conference, youth donated supplies for this service project.  According to Kara Schofield, a spokesperson for the church, the focus of the conference was “connecting them to their friends, their faith, and fulfilling needs in the community.  Gathering these supplies, and the subsequent assembly and donation, fit with the theme.” 

Angela Johnson led the project, and assisted the planning committee to find a way to use their time and skills to help members of the community. “My thoughts immediately turned to the residents at Saddle Brook. My son Clayton and I used to go visit a resident there twice a week for about two years. I have always loved the feeling that I had when we went there,” Johnson said.  However, with Covid-19 restrictions still in place, Johnson knew that the youth would not be able to meet the residents and provide one-on-one service and fellowship. Johnson worked with Saddle Brook Active Living Director Jennifer (JJ) Dunn to determine Covid-safe activities that would allow the youth to serve the residents and keep them safe.  

Johnson and the planning committee planned the project out carefully and were intentional on giving residents items that were needed at this time.  “While volunteering with my son, we would often see music therapists visit the residents and provide care,” Johnson said.  “The residents would light up when they heard the guitar and the singing.  Sometimes residents would hold maracas or other noise makers.”  This past experience helped Johnson and the Saddle Brook staff add homemade maracas and pool noodle balloon boppers to the list of supplies to donate.  

Additionally, washer-safe blankets and mealtime bibs are helpful to the residents.  In total, the youth assembled 250 maracas and pool noodle balloon boppers, 45 mealtime bibs, and 40 fleece blankets.  The youth also created a card for each of the 20 men and 20 women who live in the care center.  

“It is nice to be able to serve other people,” Joel Mann, a freshman, said.  “It is fun serving others while being with a group of friends.  We put our heads together to design the card.  Helping people who are not able to help themselves as much is a good thing to do.”  

Ena Riches is a freshman at Lone Star High School in Frisco.  “It is awesome to be able to help people, even if it is in a small way.  The little things count.  My great grandpa had Alzheimer’s Disease, and I remember when I was small, he gave me a blanket to warm me up.  Now I can do that for someone else, even if it is an anonymous little gift.”  

It was important to the youth group organizers to provide an opportunity for the students to serve those in their community.  “In following the example of Jesus Christ and meeting some immediate needs within their own communities, these teenagers experienced firsthand the 2021 youth theme of the global Church of Jesus Christ,”  Schofield said.  As a global religious community, we are focused on the theme of “A Great Work.”  This invites us all to diligently serve others, to share their hearts and willing minds, and to know that the little things really do count.”

The Prosper Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is located at  522 North S Teel Pkwy in Prosper.