SOUTHINGTON — Donning her girl scout uniform and grabbing her viola, 11-year-old Nicole Kleinhen decided to spend Thanksgiving morning with those who had less be thankful for.
“I wanted to play my viola for anybody that didn’t have anyone visiting,” said Kleinhen, explaining why she played for patients at Southington Care Center.
Kleinhen’s aunt was a patient at the center before she died and she felt the need to make sure everyone had at least one visitor for Thanksgiving.
With a Southington Care staff member holding her binder of songs, she started playing some of her favorites.
“Long, Long Ago” seemed to resonate the most with the audience. As she started playing, one of the patients began to sing along.
“They were very happy, they seemed so welcoming and appreciative that Nicole wanted to do that,” said Sharon Kleinhen, Nicole’s mother. “This was one of her ideas to help in the community and set a good example.”
While Nicole’s girl scout group disbanded as its members began getting older, she wanted to continue as an individual member.
“I just wanted to show everybody that girl scouts can do other things too, like they can play instruments,” Nicole Kleinhen said.
On top of her daily viola practice, an instrument she has been playing for three years, Nicole Kleinhen has been a member of a half dozen clubs and organizations.
“Last year I never had a free night. I did an after school activity every day of the week. It was crazy, but I loved it,” she said.
She was also recently named Student of the Month at Southington’s DePaolo Middle School, where she is a sixth-grader.
The giving spirit extends to her whole family, which every year gathers presents from family and friends to donate to the Southington Community Services. Last year they collected over 200 gifts, filling their living room. They are continuing to collect gifts through a decorated box outside their home until Dec. 14.
“We just love doing and giving,” Sharon Kleinhen said, hugging her daughter in their kitchen.
Nicole is practicing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and The Celtic Carols on her viola to play at the Southington Care Center on Christmas Day.