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

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.

Living Water Unity at Greenridge Place

Living Water Unity, a church that understands service, has worked through Bessie’s Hope for an elder care service program.   A group of the members gather monthly at Greenridge Place in Westminster to share their joy.  Each month, the volunteers and elders laugh, create, dance, sing, share stories and hugs, and the promise to “to see you next month.”   Thank you, Living Water Unity.

“True happiness is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”  Helen Keller

 

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

 

The Fipps and the Sartan Families at Juniper Village at Louisville.

Thank you to the Fipps and Sartan families for sharing time, love, fun, hugs and joy with the elders at Juniper Village at Louisville.  There is no measurement for the depth of joy and contentment experienced each time each of these families visit the elders. The holistic benefits for the elders are plentiful, and the glow shines brightly from their eyes and faces.

And, on the other end of the age spectrum—What compassionate, empathic, understanding adults these children will be.

From John Lennon:  “When I was 5, my mother told me that happiness is the key to life.  When I went to school, they asked me to write down what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I wrote down HAPPY.  They told me I didn’t understand the assignment.  I told them they didn’t understand life.”

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

And check out these adorable videos from a visit from the Sartan family on our Facebook page.  Click here and here.

Youth and Elders Program Highlight

The students from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Early College have a wonderful opportunity getting to know the fabulous residents of Chelsea Place during their monthly visits.

The students have enjoyed learning from the residents and hearing about their life experiences.

Some students were surprised to hear from people who had lived through Word War II. Others enjoyed sharing about their high school experience and getting some interesting career advice from the residents.