Members of Cub Scout Pack 255, Webelos I Den 2 were recognized by Harker Heights Mayor Mike Aycock last Friday for raising money for dolls that were handed out to Alzheimer’s patients at the Indian Oaks Living Center.
The boys participated in several fundraisers throughout the city, earning nearly $400. They used the funds to purchase 30 dolls, which were delivered to the residents Sept. 20.
Aycock commended the young men for their efforts in having a positive impact on other people’s lives.
“Having to do what they did in consideration of the elderly and taking time out of their day, which I know is tough for a small child, is amazing,” he said. “I don’t know if they liked the dolls more or the kids coming to see them.”
A former Boy Scout, Aycock said the organization continues to provide young men with valuable life experiences.
“Some of the most memorable years of my life have been in Boy Scouts and I think it gives structure and builds character,” he said. “In today’s society, you need those character-building skills that only Boy Scouts can give you right now.”
The mayor presented Den Leader Larry Galyardt with the honorary seal of Harker Heights.
Each individual member was also awarded a certificate of recognition.
“We always give back to the community when we can,” Galyardt said. “It gives the kids a sense of being a part of something and a sense of roots.”
Matthew Westman, 9, said he felt really good about helping the residents.
“They said nice things like ‘thank you’ and ‘you’re nice people.’”
Isaiaa Mair, 9, didn’t make it to the center but helped his troop raise money by selling Papa Murphy gift cards.
Cub Scout Dylan Clinton, 9, sold popcorn at Lowe’s and said he would want to do it again because it makes people happy.
Dylan’s mother, Amber Bitondo, praised the project.
“It was a good opportunity for them and he was happy that he was able to do something and to help others,” she said. “It’s helping them grow-up.”
The project came about after den coordinator Ann Westman was approached by the Indian Oaks activities director to do something specifically for the Alzheimer’s residents.
Westman was compelled to get involved, and the experience, she said, was meaningful for both sides.
“These residents don’t see too many young kids running around who want to give something to them and a lot of the older people didn’t know how to handle it,” Westman said.
“With the kids, I think it humbled them and it showed them the reality of what happens when you get older.”
The dolls have a calming effect on the residents and provide therapeutic support, especially in the most extreme cases like those who suffer with Sundowners Syndrome, said Indian Oaks Activities Director Marna Sahagun.
“When they start screaming or crying or when they’re being very demanding, I give them their doll and it calms them down and they’ll carry them everywhere,” she said.