Alec Anders is a 7-year-old first-grader with a heart for folks many times his age. He feared elderly residents of care facilities might feel sad and lonely, with COVID-19 rendering them unable to have face to face visits with their families. So he drew pictures for them.
For the Easter holiday last weekend, Alec drew colorful pictures of Easter eggs on 8-by-11 copy paper. He and his mother, Tamara Anders - both of them wearing masks - then brought the pictures to Wellington Health and Rehab where they were met outside by staff from the assisted living facility. Alec gave them his drawings to distribute to residents of the facility.
"He is very artistic," Tamara said. "He loves to draw. He’s always thinking of others and wants to help and make people happy."
Alec would like to become friends with older people in the community who would be interested in writing and exchanging letters with him as pen pals.
His grandparents and several of his great-grandparents are still alive, but two of his great-grandparents whom he spent a lot of time with passed away two years ago. Although he was only 5 when they died, Alec still has fond memories of them.
He misses them and the stories they would tell about life when they were kids, like the time when his great-grandfather, whom he called "Poppy," was a boy and buried his father’s watch in the yard for a treasure hunt. The family dug throughout the yard to find the watch.
Of such stories, Alec said, "They were funny."
Alec's desire to help people may have been inherited from his mother. Tamara, a para at Lincoln Elementary, has been busy making masks for people to protect against COVID-19. She and a friend spent a summer, volunteering in an assisted living home where her grandmother worked.
"She has always been thoughtful of others," her mother, Nancy Karnes said. "Alec is in tune to the changes going on in this crazy, messed up world right now. His heart is filled with compassion for those that can't be with their families during these times. He's concerned with the loneliness that the elderly must be feeling right now. He wanted to do something to cheer them up. I think his understanding may have emerged from from his recent experience with isolation when he was ill."
Alec enjoys learning whether it’s through Spanish lessons on the Rosetta Stone program, taking online guitar lessons or finding out about the Illuminati. He would also like to learn about the lives of elderly people who can be like grandparents.
Anyone who is, or knows of an older person, willing to become pen pals with Alec can email his mother at firstname.lastname@example.org.