Bessie’s Hope is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit. all donations are tax deductible

Community & Elders Program: Pinnacol Assurance at Chelsea Place

Pinnacol Assurance employees provided over 150 days of service in 2017! Bessie’s Hope is honored to have been selected by this community-service-focused corporation as a nonprofit to host a group of their employees this year.

We facilitated an educational training session and an elder group visit at Chelsea Place for 25 compassionate, fun Pinnacol volunteers. Smiles and warm memories were shared as the elders and volunteers danced to big band music and talked about their first dance partners. Many of the elders had married that very person! The joy continued as the Bessie’s Hope version of Charades lit up faces with laughter.

When it was time to say goodbye, the “Bessie’s Hope Friendship Train” gave the elders the opportunity to give and receive 25 hugs. Of course, we couldn’t resist one last dance before leaving! The Pinnacol group enjoyed lunch onsite, and the elder care volunteer experience concluded with a debrief session. When asked to describe the experience in one word, the resounding answer? “Fun!”

Thank you, Pinnacol Assurance and Chelsea Place!

Click here to learn more about how your company or organization can volunteer, too.

                    

Youth & Elders Program: Denver Center for International Studies at Fairmont visits Cedars Healthcare Center

There is no greater joy than watching the faces of elders as young children enter a senior living space. Eyes light up, smiles begin to form and laughter quickly breaks out, as the youth bring their boundless energy and unbridled sense of merriment and wonder to the room.

This is especially true of our visits between the youth at the Denver Center for International Studies at Fairmont and the elders at Cedars Healthcare Center!   DCIS has been partnering with Bessie’s Hope for almost a year now, and after each visit at Cedars, we think an intergenerational visit couldn’t be better than this one!  They just keep getting better! The students arrive each time with stories to share, willing ears to listen, and lots of love to offer.

Do you know a school or youth group that needs to be a part of the Bessie’s Hope magic?  Click here to learn more about our Youth & Elders Program.

Family & Elders Program: Etta Veysey and Melba at Brookdale Highlands Ranch

After moving from Maine to Colorado, Etta Veysey yearned to be involved again with persons diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.  Bessie’s Hope is grateful that Etta reached out to become a volunteer in our Family and Elders Program.   We asked her to share her story in our newsletter.

“My mother, three aunts and an uncle were all diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and I spent much time with them during this time in their life.   I came to understand their fears, frustrations, and difficulties dealing with the disease.  My mother also was deaf and had macular degeneration, which added another layer of stress to her.

I decided that if I could bring some measure of comfort, encouragement, and joy to elders, that was my mission.  I searched the web for volunteer opportunities with nursing home or assisted living elders. When I saw the Bessie’s Hope site, I immediately knew this was the organization I wanted to volunteer for. I am so thankful to be doing this work and for such a wonderful organization!!

I have been so blessed from my visits with Melba!  I knew when I first met her that I wanted to really get to know her and develop a relationship with her.  In order to do that, I needed to visit her often and consistently.  It has been pure joy to get to know her and experience her great sense of humor, which makes for a lot of smiles and laughter when we meet!!  We both taught school and grew up in the country, so we have many memories to share with each other and opinions on teaching today!!!  I have learned a lot about shearing sheep and teaching in a one room school house!!

Sometimes Melba and I sing along with music or recite poems and nursery rhymes we remember from our teaching days!  This usually ends in laughter, as neither of us can usually remember all the words!! ,I have gained a very special and treasured relationship with one of the kindest, sweetest, and wittiest human beings I have ever met!  If I have brought her any measure of happiness, friendship, and comfort, then I am truly blessed!!

This week when I came in, Melba’s eyes lit up, she got a big smile on her face, and she started tapping on the table!  “Oh”, she said, “I had hoped you would come!  I am so glad you are here!”  That made my day.  I gain more from the visits than anyone!”

Click here to learn more about our Familiy & Elders Program.

Mike Bucher & Angela Schreffler at Forest Street Compassionate Care

Mike Bucher and Angela Schreffler have been volunteering with the Family and Elder program for almost a year. They were fortunate to have been matched with two roommates at Forest Street Compassionate Care, Clyde and Adib. Mike and Angela visit the two men once a week and have been enriched by the experience.

Adib is a quiet, thoughtful, and inquisitive conversationalist, who loves to swap fun facts with Mike. He has shared his experiences of living all over the country and loves to speak about his Muslim faith. Clyde is kind and content, and he enjoys sharing stories about his childhood, including memories of his parents and siblings.

Mike and Angela started volunteering with Bessie’s Hope after Angela’s father became very ill and spent the last five months of his life in a nursing home. When visiting him, they were struck by how many individuals in the facility never came out of their rooms and didn’t seem to have any visitors. Having worked in nursing homes in high school and college, Angela realized how wide-spread this issue and both agreed that they wanted to help make the life of an elder a little less lonely and isolating.

Mike and Angela consider their visits with Clyde and Adib to be the highlight of each week! Each has learned so much from their time with the men, both individually and as a married couple. Bessie’s Hope has connected them to two individuals who have become part of their family.

If you would like to learn more about our Family & Elders Program, click here.

Youth & Elder – McAuliffe International School @ Rosemark at Mayfair

Students from McAuliffe International School have been visiting Rosemark at Mayfair for over a year, sharing stories, creativity and laughter with one another. The youth and elders alike have benefited immensely from the joy of relationship-building.

Smiles beamed, feet tapped and hands clapped as the 7th graders recently revived their production of Once on This Island for the residents. Studies have shown that music can shift mood, manage stress and stimulate positive interactions for our elders. The youth spoke afterward about how they, too, felt transformed. One student exclaimed, “I can’t believe how happy that made me!”

Life-enhancing experiences like these happen all the time with Bessie’s Hope because we ground our work in education and training volunteers of all ages.

Community & Elders – Mile High Youth Corps

Bessie’s Hope has had an alliance with Mile High Youth Corps for several years.  The service-oriented organization was set up at about the same time as was Bessie’s Hope.  They are a youth development agency dedicated to career and college readiness, self-improvement and job skills.

Their corps members have been some of our most treasured volunteers.  They have visited literally hundreds of residents in many of Bessie’s Hope’s elder care community partnerships.  The combination of youth wanting to make a difference and elders open to those youth is profoundly beneficial for all involved.

The Bessie’s Hope system provides the education and structure to make the initial discomfort much more comfortable.  The music and activities add the fun factor.  The result is connection and appreciation regardless of outer differences.

Another factor in our success with MHYC is the compassion and willingness of their group leader, Ms. Sierra Cashion. She has been a champion of this intergenerational work and we wish her well.

Our enthusiasm to work together – Bessie’s Hope and Mile High Youth Corps – continues, with the knowledge of future success!

 

Nancy Blizzard

Nancy Blizzard has been volunteering in the Bessie’s Hope Family and Elders Program at Chelsea Place in Aurora.

She regularly visits several women, and she also tries to introduce herself to new residents while she is there. When asked how the volunteer experience has added to her own life, Nancy says, “Making new friends is always a blessing. You can’t have enough friends.”

 

“This program provides the elders with someone to talk to and connect with on a personal level. Whether you are just talking with them or playing a game, they appreciate your kindness and friendship.”

 

To learn more about the Family & Elders Program, click here.

Nina Stasser and Dana Thompson.

For several years, Bessie’s Hope has been honored to receive funding from St Gabriel the Archangel Episcopal Church.  Bessie’s Hope Board member, David Geras, introduced the church to the work of Bessie’s Hope.  We are very grateful for the financial support from the church, and we are also so grateful that Nina Stasser was interested in initiating a monthly group visit with Bessie’s Hope to a nursing home.

Nina and Dana Thompson are the Group Leaders, and they have gathered other fun, compassionate women to join them in bringing joy, music, hugs, crafts, friendship, dancing, laughter each month to residents at Orchard Park Health Care Center.  Nina and Dana are hopeful that the group from St Gabriel will grow and will continue for years to come.

Every nursing home is filled with wonderful people who have wonderful stories.  Bessie’s Hope would love to have more groups of volunteers like this to go listen to the stories and share joyful times with the elders.

To learn more about the Community & Elders Program, click here.

Best pals — Children from Gethsemene Lutheran School and residents at Park Regency Assisted Living at Thornton.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gethsemane Lutheran School has partnered with Bessie’s Hope for many years to provide the beautiful experience and joy gained from service to others, and to give the youth the opportunity to cultivate mutually rewarding relationships with the elders. During the course of each school year, students from 1st through 7th grades participate in the training and in the visits with the elders.

To learn more about the Youth & Elders Program, click here.

 

 

Priscilla at Briarwood Health Care Center and Jeremiah at Third Way Center

From preschool through high school, youth groups are educated and trained by Bessie’s Hope to enable the cultivation of mutually rewarding relationships.  Youth learn about aging, dementia, and life in the nursing home world.  They gain insights, understanding, and skills that can be used in every area of their lives.  They recognize that the elders in the care facilities, although isolated from the community, have vast wisdom, knowledge, and experiences to share with all younger generations. The youth gain patience, respect and compassion and are able to have meaningful interaction with elders of all levels of cognitive functioning, including advanced Alzheimer’s Disease.  The elders feel needed, valued, seen and heard. They are given a sense of purpose.  This has happened for Priscilla.

Having raised her own grandson, she has desperately missed him since he went to California a few years ago.  “He doesn’t have time for me now.  He is 18, and I know he is a fine young man, because my husband and I gave him guidance and values for living a good life.  We didn’t have much, but we had love, and he felt that.  Bessie’s Hope has given me Jeremiah.  He is 18, and I feel like I have another grandson to love and help with life’s ups and downs.  I’ve told him that I want him to graduate from high school because he needs that to get a job, and I want to get him a graduation present.  I also told him he should work hard and go to college.  This year that I’ve had with Jeremiah has meant a lot to me.  I’ve watched him grow into a more confident young man.”

The teenage boys and girls at Third Way Center, a Denver residential treatment center for teens with behavioral issues, began visiting Briarwood once a month.  Then, one day, they went to the counselors and reminded them of what they had learned.  When they were trained about the elders, they were told that most of the elders didn’t have visitors.  The boys said, “Really?!! Once a month?!!  That’s all they get?!!  That’s not enough, and we want to visit twice a month.”  The past few months, they have visited their “grandpartners” at Briarwood every other week.  Jeremiah has also requested permission to visit Priscilla on his own.  He will be graduating from high school this month, and he thanks Priscilla for being such an inspiration to help him do that.

To learn more about the Youth & Elder Program, click here.