The Giving Group

July 30, 2015
Denise Hyde

Sanctuary at Bellbrook, in Rochester Hills, MI, shares this great story of how Elder empowerment is really thriving in the home.

As I am walking by the Hearth Room, I peak my head in, there I see 6 or 7 ladies, sitting in wheel chairs, up to the table, busying themselves with something…Maybe a craft, perhaps some program…

I start to walk away, but then back up when and listen closely… “Marian, make sure you put enough pencils in those backpacks…We are on a deadline here…”

Upon further investigation, the ladies were speaking amongst themselves about their latest “community project”.  This year, this group of ladies, that have recently changed their name from The Ladies Auxiliary to “Samaritans Touch” are not just working on a project to help other residents here at Bellbrook, no they are working to help local children from the Pontiac School District.  When hearing from the community life staff how Pontiac was struggling to fund basic supplies for their school district, this formal ladies group decided they could find a way to help.  As they busied themselves with the sorting of school supplies, Julia, a resident residing in the long term care Sanctuary, filled me in on their mission…

“We are helping in three ways”, she told me…

  1. The Baldwin Center:  The Samaritan Touch Group provided 45 monthly enrichment packets for the after school program.  These enrichment packets are sorted, labeled, and packaged by this group.  They are also sending seasonal goodie bags for Valentines, St Patrick’s Day, Easter, and Thanksgiving.
  2. Pontiac School Students:  The Samaritan Touch Ladies held a fundraiser (setting up tables, posting lists of supplies that children would need) to provide school supplies that filled over 600 backpacks for Pontiac School Children.
  3. Pontiac School Teachers:  The ladies of the Samaritan Touch also supported Two Pontiac School Teachers by gathering paper, pencils, wipes, paper towel and other donations, all supplies which these teachers must pay for out of their own pocket.

These ladies, all close to 90 years old, most unable to walk, eyes sparkle as they share stories of their own children returning to school each year.   They share about helping out their own communities as adults, and how good it feels to be able once again give back, when, “Not much else works”.

I saw these ladies through a different lens that day.  They were helping others, not getting help from someone else.  A few weeks later when the thank you notes started coming in from the Baldwin Center and the Teachers…These ladies, turned to each other and say, “So what’s next?”

These projects are supported through the Community Life Department at Sanctuary at Bellbrook.  This program is a resident directed and resident driven group that develop ideas and select programs in which they choose to support

1 Comment. Leave new

So beautiful and so layered. Transforming the people we tend to see as care-receivers from people who need help and care to people who are needed, is healing and transformational and will likely reduce how much is spent on medication which Big Pharma may not like too much. Confirms that most times solutions are under our noses. In addition to individual transformation happening here, there is also intergenerational interaction which we do not see a lot of. The elderly have so much more to contribute than we have given them the opportunity to.


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