NHVP continues to make a difference

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NHVP continues to make a difference

Katelyn Black, Lifestyle Editor

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The idea for the UW-Whitewater Nursing Home Visitation Program (NHVP) started years ago when a student came to Dr. Clifford O’Beirne, a then school psychologist, looking for extra credit by visiting a nursing home.

Now, 43 years later, that idea has transformed into a program with a total of 5,000 nursing home visits per semester.

The program, which currently sits as the largest program of its kind in the United States, consists of 11 separate groups that visit and spend time at nursing homes around the area once a week.

During these visits, students meet up with residents and help them to make crafts or simply sit and chat. Still, even a one hour visit like this can do a lot of good for the resident.

According to O’Beirne, the now director of the NHVP, for the nursing home residents, a weekly visit from their student is the highlight of their lives.

“To me, it’s actually a miracle that that many people [students], for that amount of time would just keep doing something to help others,” said O’Beirne. “And without realizing it at first, it comes back to them [students] and it helps them. It adds so much happiness to their life.”

And for UW-Whitewater junior and Huntington Place coordinator Abigail Graf, that idea of love and joy between a student and their resident absolutely rings true.  

“I joined this program for extra credit and fell in love and decided to continue,” said Graf. “Being able to visit the residents and be the reason they smile gives me a reason to smile.”