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Kittanning students play Secret Santas at Armstrong Health Center

| Friday, Dec. 25, 2009

Helen Yount was as surprised as a kid opening a new toy when Jacob Rearick and his sister Hannah Rearick gave her a Christmas gift at the Armstrong County Health Center on Wednesday.

"Is this mine?" the health center senior asked.

"Oh my," Yount said nearly loosing her breath in excitement as a book, "A Cedar Cove Christmas," was put in her hands by the young pair. "This is really nice of you," she beamed.

Jacob, a seventh-grade student at the Kittanning Middle School, and Hannah, a sixth grader at Lenape Elementary School in Manor, were just as happy as Yount and the other residents, in their role as Secret Santas for the seniors' home.

Jacob and Hannah were there to spread a little holiday joy to the residents. Wearing Santa hats and one donning a red shirt and the other, green, they went from room to room handing out the books, pencils and pens they had collected as gifts.

"We were thinking that a lot of elderly people don't get to celebrate Christmas enough," said Jacob. "They're in here and a lot of their families can't visit them, so they don't get much for Christmas. I feel proud to be doing this."

"This will make them happy, and me happy," said Hannah. "They would probably just be sitting there watching TV, so we thought they might like a good book to read. Now they'll have a smile on their face."

Margy Pearce didn't expect to see kids bringing her a present.

"What a nice surprise," Pearce said. "My favorite gift to get -- a book."

Seroba Anderson has no family left to visit her and few Christmas gifts to open.

"I like them bringing me a gift," said Anderson.

The health center's activity director Hannah Megown said the residents were not expecting the visit.

"We have several here who have no family or they are too far away to come so it's particularly nice that those ones get a Christmas visit," said Megown. "Christmas time can be hard for them."

"I think it's fantastic what these kids are doing," she said. "You don't see youth doing benefits for people anymore."

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