Community News

The littlest volunteer

Kayelyn Thomas with Lillian Forney, center, and Janie Stallworth, right

News Staff Writer

When this edition of Atmore News is published, Kayelyn Thomas will be back home in North Carolina. She left Sunday, August 12.
Kayelyn has been in Atmore visiting her grandmother (Nana) Lillian Forney since early July. It’s not unusual for a youngster to spend time with a grandparent during the summer break. What is unusual about this summer visit is the impact Kayelyn had on dozens of people.
Lillian is a nurse at Atmore Nursing Center. In addition, her mother, Janie Stallworth, is a resident at the facility.
Not long after Kayelyn arrived in Atmore, she learned that a bingo game was scheduled for the residents at the nursing home – and she wanted to go. So Nana took her to work.
“It was so much fun,” Kayelyn said. “I helped them mark their cards and get their prizes when they won.”
That began a month or so of volunteering for the eight-year-old.
For two or three days a week, she’s been visiting the nursing home, making friends with residents and employees and helping everyone who needed her.
Kayelyn painted nails and read to residents. A member of her youth choir back home, she’s quite a good singer, and entertained residents and employees in song.
When asked what she liked best about volunteering at the nursing home, she said, “I like helping residents and doing activities,” she said. “I just like helping people.”
Kayelyn starts the fourth grade on August 29. Her favorite subjects are math and lunch. She makes top grades, as you would expect if you met her. She wants to be a nurse or doctor or engineer or lawyer. If she becomes a nurse or doctor, she would like to work in a nursing home.
Her last day at the nursing home was Thursday, August 9. Her birthday is August 24, so the staff held a going away / birthday party for her.
“I’ll miss everybody,” Kayelyn said. “I may be back for Christmas. If I do get to come back, I want to come to the nursing home.”