Haley Jenkins' grandparents died when she was young and one of the ways she dealt with the loss was by visiting nursing homes. Now, she's living in an Iowa retirement community and both she and the residents are seeing the benefits.

Jenkins is a 21-year-old senior at Drake University in Des Moines who applied to be the artist-in-residence at Deerfield Retirement Community in Urbandale. Deerfield was looking for someone who could perform for residents and Drake saw it as a wonderful opportunity for a student to do just that. In exchange for free rent, Jenkins sings for residents a couple times a month. And WOW can she sing. Jenkins is a classically-trained singer who listened to opera in her baby crib and actually sang before she talked. She may not be paying rent, but both Jenkins and the residents are getting far more than that out of the experience.

Jenkins moved in during the early part of January and one resident told the Des Moines Register their new tenant and performer is like a "breath of spring." Haley says the residents, "... want to treat me as a granddaughter, which is adorable."

This is believed to be the only retirement community in Iowa that has a college-aged student living with seniors. However, it's happening around the U.S., bridging the gap between generations. I have a feeling the Drake Music Department and Deerfield Retirement Community have started a partnership that's going to continue for a very long time. And that will be good not just for the young, talented college students, but also for older residents with a passion for music and love to give.

[via Des Moines Register]