There was a bond with greeks and elderly, and Bingo was its name-o

Kate Sheafer

Kappa Alpha Psi gives back to community by spending afternoon at nursing home

Daniel Butler, member of Kappa Alpha Psi, plays bingo with residents at Kent Healthcare Center, Saturday afternoon. Abra Williams-Witzky | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

“Bingo!” shouted Bette Laquatra, 85, of the Kent Healthcare Center. Groans filled the room as she chose a candy bar prize, while everyone else reluctantly cleared their cards.

The game is nothing new for residents of the Kent Healthcare Center; they play three times a week. But Bingo took a new twist Saturday as members of fraternity Kappa Alpha Psi joined the residents during their afternoon activity.

“Since I’ve been here, we’ve never had anybody come in to play with us,” Laquatra said. “This is the first time.”

Kappa Alpha Psi member Danny Butler said he used to visit nursing homes when he was younger and thought it would be a fun way for his fraternity to give back to the community.

“I don’t really know if they get a lot of visitors,” he said. “If I was older, just to have someone younger come in and talk to me, play with me and have fun.would brighten my day.”

Residents and fraternity brothers filled the dining room to capacity as they shared stories and marked off their cards.

“Usually, it’s about six or seven people, the usual people that come to Bingo all the time,” said Ashley Walter, activities leader for the center. “But this place in here was packed. A lot of the residents loved interacting with younger people.”

The normally quiet dining room was filled with laughter, chatter and the whines of unlucky players as nearly 30 people bonded over Bingo. The fun, casual atmosphere allowed the true characters of the residents to come out.

“A lot of people that were here today I haven’t seen smile in a while,” Walter said. “And they were happy.”

Perhaps the most interesting pairing of the afternoon was between Butler and his partner George. As the numbers were called, George would loudly repeat them back to the room, often incorrectly to joke with the other residents in the room.

Butler, whose shirt accurately bore the title “Klass Klown” on the back, laughed along with George and helped him mark his cards.

“[George] had a really good sense of humor,” Butler said. “He was a class clown. That name describes him perfectly, and I think that name describes me as well. He was a lot of fun; I’m glad I worked with him.”

Several of the fraternity members had to help their partners mark their cards and hear numbers, which created a friendly, reasonably competitive game for everyone. Butler and George even worked together on a plan to cheat to win, which other players caught on to instantly.

“George was.kind of getting upset that he didn’t win,” Butler said. “He wanted a candy bar. I was like, ‘Alright, George. If we put our minds together, we can try to figure this out.’ We came up with a plan to make it seem like he had a Bingo, but it didn’t work out too well.”

By the end of the afternoon, both parties involved were reluctant to say goodbye after such a successful Bingo party. Nearly everyone wore a smile on the way out of the room.

“We just really appreciate Kappa for being here,” Walter said. “Bottom line, you guys made their day.”

Contact Greek life and ROTC reporter Kate Sheafer at [email protected]