Student with special needs crafts memory books for seniors in Delaware County

WALLINGFORD, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- "When Nora came to Chestnut Ridge, we discovered that she had a great love of scrapbooking," said Lisa Razzi. "And so we began using that love to make memory books at our memory care residence."

Razzi is the Life Enrichment Director at Chestnut Ridge Wallingford, a senior living facility whose memory care floor was in need of another engagement activity.

That's where 19-year old Nora Deskis came in.

Despite having a communication disability, Deskis was able to excel at setting tables and tidying up the eating space. She was also given the chance to construct special books to help provoke memories for seniors. With the help of her job coach, Jodi Esslinger, Deskis cuts and glues magazine photos of people, places, animals, and food into a binder.

"Everyone has abilities. Everybody has a gift," said Esslinger. "And it's really important for somebody to really take time to tap into those gifts in order for them to have a well rounded, meaningful life."

Esslinger co-founded Tall Transitions with members of her family, all of which are former special education teachers.

"Tall Transitions is an agency that works with young adults and adults with disabilities," she said. "And we focus on finding unique employment and job training for individuals."

With this experience, Nora Deskis can potentially find her place in the world upon graduating from Strath Haven High School.

"It's a volunteer position for her and then she can gain skills and possibly use them somewhere else," said Lisa Razzi. "Or, she can continue with us and see where it goes."

To learn more about Chestnut Ridge Wallingford or the opportunities provided by Tall Transitions, visit their respective websites.

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