Girls’ rainbows brighten day for Strathcona residents

WELLINGTON COUNTY  – Six-year-old Leah Hutton says her motivation for presenting signs of encouragement  to residents of a Mount Forest nursing home was quite simple.

“To put a smile on everybody’s face,” she said of the March 26 gesture in front of Strathcona Long Term Care.

Asked if the plan succeeded, the first grader from Ayton simply replied “yes,” adding the exchange made her feel “good.”

Leah, joined by her younger sister, Lauryn, 3, and their cousin, Charleigh Johnson, 4, stood outside the Strathcona building holding signs for those stuck inside due to COVID-19 isolation requirements.

The messages included “Stay strong: there is a rainbow after every storm” and “Together we can get through anything”.

Leah and Lauryn’s mom, Tasha Neulitz, who works at the facility as a dietary aide, said, “The girls wanted to do something nice for my work.”

She told the Advertiser the residents, many of whom are “restless” and “missing their families,” appreciated the signs.

“They were smiling and waving and blowing kisses,” said Neulitz.

One Strathcona official stated in an email, “These beautiful little girls made these amazing and uplifting signs and stood outside the dining room … during supper for all the residents to see.

“The smiles on our residents’ faces was enough to bring tears to your eyes. Thank you for making everyone’s day!”

For Leah, helping to cheer up residents at the facility was also a bit of fun.

Asked how she’s spending her days without school, she listed “crafts and baking and walking and (watching) Disney Plus.”

Like many young children across the province, Leah pines for the days she was in class – something that seemed unimaginable for most students just three weeks ago.

“I’m missing my friends,”  Leah said, echoing the sentiments of countless others, both young and old.

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