BYU-Idaho Public Relations Student Society of America, or PRSSA, group won the Star Chapter Award previously, and this year they hope to earn it again.
PRSSA gives the award to schools that complete a set of requirements, making them some of the best in the nation. One of the requirements for this award is listed on PRSSA’s official website as “Initiate and complete at least one community service project.”
The project these students selected was a Valentine’s Day gift for the elderly.
The group made homemade cards and delivered them to the people living at Homestead, a local assisted living community.
Bellva Hansen, an 85-year-old woman living there, said, “Oh, it was wonderful, I have several (Valentine’s) in my room that were delivered to me.”
Her husband, Keith, died two years ago, making life more lonely. When the students came, it made her day.
“It made me feel special,” Hansen said. “I don’t feel so lonely.”
For the people in PRSSA, it was just as meaningful of an experience. Jasmine Torres, the director of PRSSA and a junior studying communication, attended the event.
“It was a great opportunity as PR students to get more involved in helping others,” Torres said.
She said a lot of PR is about talking to people, making a connection and reaching out to the public.
Torres said she liked going to the senior home to visit those who wouldn’t normally get many visitors on Valentine’s Day. At Homestead, she said they were able to help the elderly, talk to them, provide companionship for them and laugh with them.
“They were so happy,” she said. “It was nice to see them smile.”
More than just the effect she had on them, Torres said being there impacted her life as well. She said it had been a stressful day up until she went to the event.
After she spent the day at the assisted living center, she discovered they had to deal with some hard things too.
“I definitely left there feeling a little more appreciative of my life,” Torres said.
One step closer to the Star Chapter Award, the members of PRSSA said they learned from their experience at Homestead and learned about what it truly means to be a Star — it can mean giving a paper heart to someone in a wheelchair.