Second Grader Declan Baquerizo Brought Smiles to Shaker Place Seniors During Early Stages of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Declan Baquerizo, a second-grader from Blue Creek Elementary, was honored at the Board of Education Meeting on Monday, Oct. 25 as the North Colonie Kids Care recipient for October 2021.

Declan was nominated for the award by Ellen Lowndes, the school psychologist at Blue Creek. Throughout the school closure during the 2019-2020 school year, she passed along information to Blue Creek students that the Shaker Place Rehabilitation and Nursing Facility was accepting eCards to help brighten their residents’ days. They were separated from their families at a scary time.

For many weeks, Declan would draw or make different creations each day to virtually share with the residents. He would often dress in different costumes and proudly display his artwork for the photo his mom would take of him and send to the residents.

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According to Declan’s mom, Kelly, the project became a special family project and was something they looked forward to each day. It also made Declan feel important and good about himself. “We called our project: Brighten Your Day – sending smiles to those who need them most,” explained Kelly. “To be honest, we needed something to brighten our days during the pandemic. This family project helped bring us through it.”

In early April, Kelly received an email back from the facility, telling her that one of the units of residents had “adopted” Declan and hung his pictures up in their dining room for everyone to enjoy. He also contributed some of his own money around Easter to send a floral arrangement to Shaker Place.

“Declan truly made such an impact on so many people, particularly the most vulnerable and isolated, during that very challenging and scary time in the spring of 2020,” said Ms. Lowndes. “His goal was to bring happiness to others, and he achieved that each day. He showed selflessness and kindness through his actions, and I’m certain that he made a difference. I am proud to know him!”

Declan created photos and artwork through the summer until the 2021-2022 school year began.

As for the recognition, Declan told the Board, “I just wanted to make people happy. I didn’t know there would be a reward.”