Nfld. & Labrador

This N.L. teen wanted to cheer up a retirement home. So she wrote letters — 124 of them

Allison Young, 13, didn't want any of the residents to feel left out of her kindness project, so got busy writing.

Allison Young, 13, didn't want any residents to feel left out of kindness project

Allison Young, 13, spent hours writing letters to seniors inside a Bay Roberts retirement home, hoping to spread a little love. (Submitted by Rebecca Young)

Allison Young could have whipped up a batch of cookies for her mom and probably aced her school project.

But the 13-year-old Bay Roberts student took her "good deed" assignment a step further, spending countless hours writing 124 letters to an entire retirement home — Tiffany Village in St. John's.

"My mom works in there, and I thought to send some to the people on her floor," Allison told CBC News. "And then I decided that I didn't want anybody to be left out. So I sent it to the rest of the building."

"Allison didn't want to disappoint anyone," said Rebecca Young, Allison's mother. 

"When I was on my shift, I wrote a list of all the residents and their suite numbers in the building, and she did all the hard work from there."

Young offered to hand-deliver the cards, but Allison refused, pointing out a letter under the door just wouldn't have the same effect.

"I like getting stuff in the mail, and I thought other people would, too," Allison said.

This is one of the many letters Allison mailed to the seniors. (Submitted by Rebecca Young)

As each resident discovered their own personal note, Young lamented her daughter's absence. "I just wish that Allison could have experienced it firsthand," she said.

These days, when Young makes her rounds, residents ask her to give Allison a hug from them. She's even caught some of them whispering about her. "That's Allison's mom," they say.

"Just this small little act brightened so many days," Young said.

"Everybody just loved it. The residents were so appreciative, and she loved getting their little notes back, wondering what does she want to be when she grows up, if she's happy to be back in school?

"It's really bridging a generational gap."

Margot Evans was 'most impressed' by Allison's idea. (Submitted by Andrea Janes)

Pen pals

The last year hasn't been kind to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians in long-term care facilities. Locked down on two occasions, seniors inside have been denied frequent visitation from outside their immediate contacts and have been cut off from the outside world for long stretches of time.

Tiffany Village resident Margot Evans said she's fared well overall through the pandemic, but roundly appreciated the gesture from Allison.

Evans opened her mailbox one day to find the unexpected letter, penned by a 13-year-old stranger.

"I says, 'My goodness.… A lot of people that age don't want anything to do with adults,'" Evans said, reached by phone in the residence.

"I was most impressed ... she must be a girl that's very interested in others."

Allison got some letters back, too, thanking her for the kind words. (Submitted by Rebecca Young)

Evans — and about a dozen of her neighbours — wrote back.

Allison is now working on replying to those, despite having a bit of a sore hand.

"It hurts a little," she laughed.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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