Thomas Upham: A New Way of Volunteering

Grace Gulbankian '21, Contributing Writer

In past years, the Thomas Upham Club has visited the nursing home down the street from our school, the Thomas Upham House, to brighten the days of the elderly living there. I remember that the highlight of my week was always the moments I shared chatting with these residents and getting to know them as unique individuals. Whether we were playing Pictionary or balloon volleyball, the genuine and heart-felt smiles of the residents were always the most rewarding aspect of the club. The ongoing pandemic has prevented us from visiting this year, but I am proud to say that our club has remained active and dedicated in its mission of bringing joy to the elderly. This fall we have been reaching out through other means to make sure our friends down the street know that we are thinking about them.

At the beginning of the school year, our club met virtually over Zoom to discuss plans for the year, but it was difficult to truly connect, so our meetings switched to being in-person. I am so very grateful for all of the time we have been given to meet as a club and for all of the Montrose community who have attended our meetings. When Halloween came around, our club made some very spooky cards which I later dropped off at the nursing home because, no matter what age you are, I think it is always fun to celebrate such a scary and sugar-filled time of year. For Thanksgiving, we created some turkey placemats and listed things that we are grateful for so that, whenever the residents used one of those placemats, they would be reminded of life’s blessings and our support for them. Cheerfully and carefully laminated to stand the test of time, these placemats will bring many smiles. Due to the worsening pandemic situation, the nursing home is no longer able to accept these tangible tokens of our love. However, I know that they would appreciate all thoughts and prayers for their safety and well-being. I look forward to exploring some virtual opportunities for us to connect with the Thomas Upham House as a club when we return from break.

While it is certainly challenging that we are unable to visit the residents in person, this situation presents us with the unique opportunity to put in the extra effort to express our love for their community.  Our practicing of social distancing and mask-wearing testify to our love of the elderly and all those at higher risk of Covid-19, and I hope that, by doing our part, we will be able to return to our weekly visits sooner rather than later.

To learn more about the Thomas Upham House Club, you can contact Grace at

Grace Gulbankian ‘21, Contributing Writer