Gracepoint’s Valentine’s Day of Compassion

Today is Valentine’s Day. And Lunar New Year. I had a great day. Went to Gracepoint church for the first time in a month…finally, a Sunday devoid of ABA activities…

After service, I took part in Gracepoint’s annual Valentine’s Day of Compassion, when we visit a nearby convalescent home and sing and talk to the old folks there.

We went to a retirement home in Oakland this year – the building looked pretty depressing, with an empty courtyard and no one to be seen outside.

The inside smelled funky, and there was the hustle and bustle of nurses and random people visiting their loved ones for Valentine’s Day. The home had already gathered a group of seniors in a meeting room, waiting for our presentation.

We started by “mingling” with the seniors there, which consisted of walking around with a partner, stopping and kneeling next to a senior sitting on a wheelchair, and trying our best to make small talk with them.

For the most part, the people there were very responsive and warm. It made it a lot less awkward for me (I started by standing awkwardly, looking around for something to do).

Soon, our group gathered around the seniors and sangs hymns, followed by a short message prepared by Wesley.

We sang another song and handed out our handmade gifts to the seniors: colorful tissue boxes decorated with construction paper cutouts and Bible verses. It definitely made my day watching some of the seniors’ reactions to receiving gifts – their eyes just lit up.

Finally, we spent another 15-20 minutes talking to some of them. I met several interesting people. The first lady I talked to was named Mary. She smiled and listened to me and my partner talk to her. I also talked to a man named Therman, who was in the U.S. army for over 20 years and traveled to places in Europe, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

After a few more conversations, we said goodbye and headed out. Our group shared our experiences, and there were definitely touching as well as funny stories.

Many of the seniors living there said that hardly anyone visited them, let alone put together a presentation for them. They were very grateful that we took the time to come out and just talk and interact with them.

A lady had asked Kenton to sing for her, and even though Kenton is severely tone-deaf, he did, and the lady said it was beautiful.

We cheerfully headed back, but of course, we stopped to get food and celebrate, first at a cafe in Oakland Chinatown, where I had ice cream and waffles, and then at In-n-Out, where I enjoyed a number 1 with grilled onions.

Like I said, it was a great day.

More adventures at

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