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January 23, 2013

Team’s visit is a slam dunk

By Maria Allard
C & G Staff Writer

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Warren Mott High School senior and varsity basketball player Katie Braschayko serves as the caller during the Bingo rounds when visiting the St. Anthony Health Care Center Jan. 12.

WARREN — “Please clear your cards,” Warren Mott High School senior Katie Braschayko called out, as another bingo game got under way at St. Anthony Health Care Center. “Is everybody ready? The first number will be….O-65.”

On the afternoon of Jan. 12, the Mott girls varsity basketball team dribbled its way over to St. Anthony on Ryan Road to spend some quality time with the residents.

The 12 teammates traded in their basketballs to play several games of serious bingo with those who reside at the home. Sitting at tables, the students helped the men and women of St. Anthony with their bingo chips as Braschayko called each number. Prizes, including Cheetos and baseball caps, were awarded to the winners. While some residents needed assistance, others were able to follow the game on their own.

This is the second year the star athletes visited the nursing home. Mott is part of Warren Consolidated Schools. Also enjoying the experience was the team’s coach, Patrick Schmidt, who teaches special education at the district’s Carlton Middle School.

“We wanted to do something to show the girls a sense of the community,” said Qwiyauna Coleman, mother of team forward Cherish Coleman. “It was unbelievable the way the residents lit up when they saw us. We were so well-received. The girls had such a good time. A lot of the residents remember the girls from last year. That’s what’s so nice.”

Cherish Coleman re-connected with the same occupant from last year. The two carried out a brief conversation.

“She did try to get some words out but not many,” Cherish Coleman said. “I find it’s good for them to see us and to see young people.”

“It’s a good experience trying to visit with people and helping them do things. Just to get them out of their rooms and have a little fun,” junior Shelby Corbett said. The event marked the first time since fifth grade that the team’s guard played Bingo.

“Clear the cards,” Braschayko said toward the middle of the visit. “We are playing four corners.”

“I am going to switch cards around,” said 65-year-old resident Nancy Blacksmith, who was scheduled for release last week after completing therapy following surgery. “It’s been nice having the girls in. It’s nice to see fresh young faces.”

Junior point guard Ariell Young was one of the students who played Bingo with Blacksmith. Also having a good time during the visit was 74-year-old Sue Ann Jackson, who is the center’s resident council president.

Some friendly conversation with punch and cookies finished out the visit.

For more information on St. Anthony Health Care Center, call (586) 977-6700.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Maria Allard at allard@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1045.