Cards from the heart

Londyn Supa, Caitlin Ammerimin, Camille Nowakowski, Brianna Caplan, Anuja Achareya and Sadie Littlefield present Bridgeport Elementary School's Christmas cards and artwork to the Bella Vida Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center. Jose Herrera/The Signal

There’s a group of mischievous, giggling and sweet girls on the loose spreading Christmas cheer. The girls, some in their pajamas, were last seen dropping off holiday cards and art for seniors at Bella Vida Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center. 

Brianna Caplan, a teacher on special assignment at Bridgeport Elementary School, and five of her students delivered 300 Christmas cards from students and staff, some handmade and others bought from the store, and a Christmas tree tessellation artwork for seniors to enjoy.   

“This will have a huge impact on (our seniors),” said Robin Clough, volunteer coordinator and care manager at the senior center. “They’ll know that people took time to do this for them.”  

It means a lot to seniors to see a kind act, especially coming from children, and that’s what the holidays are about for many people, Clough added.  

“This is going to really brighten their day,” Clough said.  

Caplan said the staff and students of Bridgeport like to do outreach programs during the holidays. Often, they host food or toy drives for children or homeless families.   

Bridgeport Elementary School students made 300 Christmas cards for seniors. Jose Herrera/The Signal

“(This time around) I thought it would be nice if we included our seniors because a lot of times, they don’t have a lot of family around,” Caplan said. “I thought it’d be nice to share some holiday cheer and give them Christmas cards because some of them don’t have anyone to get them gifts or cards. It could feel as if they’d been a little forgotten during the holidays.”  

In the future, the senior card-giving outreach will become a tradition, she added.   

“This is something that we might start doing from now on. The senior center was surprised that we picked them because I feel like sometimes people just overlook our seniors,” Caplan said.  

Fourth graders Sadie Littlefield, Camille Nowakowski, Anuja Achareya, Caitlin Ammermin and Londyn Supa came with Caplan and dropped off letters from Bridgeport Elementary students to seniors at the center.   

Students drew different things like Christmas trees, presents, wreaths, snacks and drinks on their cards. They wanted to wish seniors a merry Christmas and happy holidays.   

“I wrote that we are thinking about them and care about them,” Supa said.   

The girls also created a Christmas tree artwork made of smaller Christmas trees – a tessellation. Each piece was different because each student styled their section.  

Bridgeport Elementary School students and their teacher Brianna Caplan pull out some of the Christmas cards students made for seniors. Jose Herrera/The Signal

“What’s neat about it (the tessellation) is each piece fits uniquely into the other to create an overall bigger image,” Caplan said. “It was a message: All of us working together to make a big impact.”   

Caplan used to be in charge of Bridgeport’s student council and organized events. However, since the start of COVID-19, “they haven’t been able to get everything back together,” she said.  

“These girls used to be in my class the year COVID-19 hit, and they still see me during their lunchtime,” Caplan said. “After we did a Veterans Day project, they wanted to do an outreach every month and chose somebody new each time.”  

Together they brainstormed and decided to choose the senior center.   

“(It’s important to show seniors) that kids are thinking about them because there’s that generational gap,” Caplan said. “Sometimes kids don’t think about older people as much, but it’s good to remember and cherish those people that are part of our community for so long.”  

Caplan said her students inspire her and show that she’s making a difference in their lives.  

Her goal as a teacher is to educate her students. It’s also important for her to make a difference in their character.  

“I’m hoping that when they’re older, and how they went through different experiences in their lives, they start to do some of these things on their own,” Caplan said. “(I hope) they inspire other kids to do things on their own, too. We can make such a difference in lives — even if it’s the littlest thing we do. It can mean so much.” 

Brianna Caplan, a teacher on special assignment at Bridgeport Elementary School, delivered Christmas cards to seniors. Jose Herrera/The Signal

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