Eight fifth-graders at Rymfire Elementary School are making weekly visits to a local assisted living facility, bridging generations with smiles and hugs.

Shaun Ryan @shaunryannj

PALM COAST — The residents of Princeton Village of Palm Coast are gathered in a large room and adjacent foyer, smiles on faces that regularly turn toward the front door in anticipation. It’s Wednesday afternoon — a high point of the week for many of the people who live here.

That’s because it’s the day the children visit.

Not a moment too soon, the doors open. An entourage of fifth-graders pours in. Parents, teachers, siblings and four kindergartners follow in their wake. And those smiles broaden as the students rush to greet and hug the residents.

They fall into easy conversation, the young and old — there’s no generation gap here. And, it being the holidays, the students hand out greeting cards they’ve made themselves and ornaments bearing their photographs.

“I adore them,” says resident Beverly Major. “They see me and they call me Grandma Bev and they come up and give me hugs.”

Soon, the children gather and sing Christmas songs, and some of the residents join in. One woman is moved to tears by the experience.

The students have been visiting Princeton Village weekly since September, doing crafts and playing games with the people who live there.

“And they talk to them,” said activities director Carolyn Jensen. “I think that means a lot to our residents.”

The children stop by on some Thursdays, as well, to dance with the residents during a period appropriately named “happy hour.” One Saturday, they dropped in for lunch. For Halloween, they arrived in costumes and held a parade.

The students leading the effort belong to a Community Problem Solvers group at Rymfire Elementary. The group is known as HEART, which

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