Paying it forward

The hallways of ManorCare Health Services, 1008 Thompson St., Jersey Shore, were filled with the sound of music on July 9. Children in the Jersey Shore Summer Recreation program traveled to ManorCare to sing, hand out homemade cards and plant flowers with the residents.

“Summer Rec” is an individual nonprofit that is held to keep children ages five through 12 socially and physically active during the summer. The program is free to children in the Jersey Shore Area School District, and is funded through grants and donations. Meals for the children are provided by local churches and the Love Center donates snacks.

Each week Summer Rec has a theme and the children participate in rotations around that theme that include, “rec” (physical education), art/music and science/social studies. Through the rotations, the children are able to burn off energy and keep their minds sharp while learning new things.

“The rec program offers a lot for them (the children), so we thought it would be a good opportunity for them to do things for other people,” said Dawn Stiffler, Summer Rec counselor.

The trip to ManorCare was part of Summer Rec’s “Pay it Forward” week. The children and their

councilors took a week, July 7-11, to do good deeds for other people and to show gratitude for what they receive through Summer Rec.

On July 7 the children learned songs such as “America the Beautiful” and “This Land is Your Land,” to sing to the residents of ManorCare. On July 8, half of the children traveled to ManorCare to sing to the residents, and on July 9 the other half of the children went to sing and plant flowers with the residents.

“We are here to spread some cheer to the residents,” said Emily Cromley, Summer Rec director. “Most of them do not get many visitors, so we thought that it would be nice to come and have the kids go around to sing and plant flowers with the residents.”

While visiting ManorCare on July 9, the children were split into two groups.

The first group traveled the halls and sang the songs that they learned, while the other half got their hands dirty and planted flowers for the residents to keep in their rooms.

“A lot of the kids don’t get the opportunity to do something for other people, so we thought it would be a great idea if they could do things for other people and get a sense of how good it feels,” Stiffler said.

On July 10 Summer Rec collected SPCA donations, wrote letters to military men and women, and made cards for children in hospitals. To conclude the week, they took a trip to Lake Tobias on July 11 to celebrate all their hard work.

The goal of the Pay it Forward week was to teach the children how good it can feel to give back to the community.

“We hope they take away a sense of pride and doing something for their community and for others,” Cromley said.

For more information on the Jersey Shore Summer Rec program, visit it’s Facebook page at