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

Staying Connected Initiative Volunteer Christina Manweller

One of our new volunteers, Christina Manweller,  came to help Bessie’s Hope through our  “Staying Connected Initiative.” Christina provided multiple recordings of herself reciting poetry that she had written to engage with elders and offer a creative and peaceful reflection during this difficult and stressful time.  Below you can read one of her poems!

“Aiming Toward Evening”, by Christina Manweller

Yesterday I cut back the unruly trumpet vine,

cut it back to a stubby flame of stick.

Like me: a shadow of itself,

but soon to bloom out of so dry a wick.

A bird busies himself,

knitting a distinct lulling song

around the late afternoon Sabbath.

The sun, sweet on my back,

won’t settle for long I know—

the earth inevitable in its movement.

Another bird starts a song

from across the yard,

knitting his own Sabbath coat.

It is possible to swaddle oneself,

to let go,

to bathe in song and in sun

and close your eyes, let go

of, and let go of . . .

A squirrel starts yammering

in the tall blue spruce,

a tree planted by Grandpa

when his son, my uncle, died.

I must remember

to water tomorrow if there’s no rain;

there will be no rain.

A crow calls from the yard next door.

Somewhere nearby, an electric saw cuts

the afternoon in two. Stops.

A finch flashes past

to land on the tall plank fence.

The sun warms my back still

though shadows crawl forward,

forward, and in a new wind I feel the start

of a certain coolening

as the Rocky Mountains reach reach for that sun,

so that I know the afternoon will bottom out

before long in a quick-fallen dusk.

From here I can see Pike’s Peak

rising deep blue, rising to the south

straight out of nothing,

the sky light and lightening up above.

Clouds, burrowing into one another,

form, re-form, then stagnate, and calm.

The crow yells, a primitive sound beseeching;

lifts off, flap-flapping away

to the west out of sight. The breeze stills.

A neighbor starts hammering—

hammering at something.

Whap whap whap whap. Stops.

“O.K.” he says. “O.K.”

Youth and Elder Program Feature Page July/August 2020

Evergreen Middle School student, Orlagh Laking, participated in our Youth and Elder Program with her classmates, but the experience didn’t include the physical interaction with the elders.  While the Evergreen Middle School students’ visits to The Garden Care Homes had to be cancelled due to Covid-19, we appreciate their cards, letters, drawings to still connect with the elders.

Orlagh painted stunning cards and wrote her heartfelt messages inside to send to send to our elder care partners.  Her efforts to be involved tapped into her artistic abilities to brighten the day and bring nature inside for the elders!  Pictured is one of her  hand-painted cards.

The students received the Bessie’s Hope education and training, so they were filled with compassion and respect for the elders.  Next school year will bring another opportunity to experience the beautiful interaction and cultivate relationships with the elders.

Family and Elder Program Feature Page July/August 2020

Family and Elder Program volunteer, Robin Arnett, has been participating in biweekly zoom meetings with her grand friend, Marge.  She also has consistently been sending letters to Marge and other residents in need of knowing that someone outside the elder care home is thinking of them and sending them love.  We deeply appreciate Robin’s commitment to our elders during this time, and we know that Marge loves staying connected even if it is virtually, for the time being.

Community and Elder Program Feature Page July/August 2020

The Regis University Service-Learning Department has been partnering with Bessie’s Hope for their healthcare students’ geriatric experience for almost 20 years in our Community and Elders Program.  Regis students of nursing, physical therapy, counseling, and pharmacology spend 10 hours with Bessie’s Hope, receiving our education and training relative to working with people who are living in elder care. They also receive information regarding the detrimental effects of ageism in healthcare, as well as society in general.  Other topics covered by Bessie’s Hope include having comfortable and meaningful interaction with elders who have advanced Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia.

The Regis students also participate in group gatherings facilitated by Bessie’s Hope at nursing homes and assisted living.  Even though COVID led to the hands-on visits being cancelled, the students participated in our Staying Connected Initiative.  They provided an abundant outpouring of letters, cards, gifts, and artwork, all of which were more than well received from our elder care communities.  One activity director said, “the cards and gifts were amazing, and it made everyone so happy.  We’re so grateful for you, your program and your volunteers.”  We are so thankful for our partnership with Regis University!

Family and Elder Program Feature Page – May/June 2020

We are grateful for technology during this time to help keep connections alive! Family and Elder Program Volunteer, Alex Cossoff, and Carol, resident at Bethany Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, have been enjoying 30-minute zoom calls once a week for the past month. Knowing how important Carol’s faith is, Alex suggested a virtual church service for Carol to attend! 

We are all adapting to this difficult situation and finding ways to stay together. Thank you to our Family and Elder Program volunteers for continuing to find ways to support your adopted family members. Thank you to all staff in nursing homes and assisted living homes for finding time to help nourish these important relationships to keep residents happy and engaged in meaningful relationships.

“I started visiting Carol in late 2019.  She requested someone to spend time with her, and I have been lucky enough to have the privilege to be her friend.  At first we got to spend time face to face, but now, we do a weekly Zoom meeting.  We love to dive into Biblical philosophy and talk about food, and her life growing up in Colorado.  My life is more fulfilling and rich with Carol in it.” – Alex Cossoff

Community and Elder Program Feature Page – May/June 2020

Teachers and administration staff from St. Mary’s Academy had a wonderful time at Garden Care Homes Pinehurst on Valentine’s Day! The volunteer group led a gift raffle, and residents got to pick out fun prizes! In true Bessie’s Hope fashion, there was a lot of laughter, singing and dancing!

We are so appreciative of our long time partnership with St. Mary’s Academy. The youth and adults from the school are supportive and loving toward our beautiful elders. Through our Staying Connected Initiative, students and adult volunteers have sent many loving and encouraging notes and artwork to elders who are so terribly isolated during this time. Over 25 students just from SMA have started a pen pal program!

Thank you to our partners, Garden Care Homes! We miss you and can’t wait to visit again!

Youth and Elder Program Feature Page – May/June 2020

Montessori School of Evergreen

Prior to COVID-19, eighth graders from Montessori School of Evergreen conducted monthly visits to Tendercare Pinehurst and The Gardens Care Homes Pinehurst.  During their last visit, students and elders traced and colored one another’s hands during an activity called Cold Hands Warm Heart. The incorporation of touch allows both the elders and youth to truly connect and create enriching bonds with one another.  Those who attended the visit said it was absolutely heart warming!

Escuela de Guadalupe

Bessie’s Hope has continued a partnership with Escuela de Guadalupe for over thirteen years and this year was no different as students visited residents at Cedars Healthcare Center in Lakewood.  Each month, third graders from Mrs. Carranza’s class excitedly gathered to create bonds and crafts with the elders.  Despite not being able to visit during this time, students mailed in letters to be sent to residents to let them know they were still thinking of them and missed them dearly.  We are so grateful for the connections made through our Youth and Elders Program

New Legacy

Students from New Legacy Charter School and residents of Balfour at Stapleton, love visiting one another!  The Balfour Community always ensures fun dance parties and meaningful dialogue while New Legacy consistently shows up with kindness, creativity and amazing talent! Sadly, we have had to cancel many in person visits, including our end of the year celebrations. This has not stopped our thoughtful youth groups, including New Legacy, from keeping connections alive with our assisted living and nursing homes through encouraging letters, beautiful artwork and creative videos.

We are thankful for our partnerships with Balfour at Stapleton and New Legacy Charter School! 

Youth & Elders Program Features – March/April 2020

Summit Academy High School recently started partnering with Bessie’s Hope. They are the perfect sized on going youth group for a smaller home, The Gardens Care Home – Jewell Estates. Students and residents enjoyed getting to know one another, playing balloon volleyball, “Chair Yoga Bingo” and celebrating Valentine’s Day together. The residents especially loved having the students sing “The Wonderful Song” to them!

We are thankful for our partnerships with Cindy Kreis’s class at Summit Academy High School and all the Gardens Care Homes!

Polaris Elementary School

Long time youth group partner, Polaris Elementary, began visits this spring with residents at Brookshire House.  Students and residents were able to experience each other’s worlds, as the residents visited Polaris school, and the students then travelled to Brookshire House. 

 In addition to the Bessie’s Hope training, Group leader and the Gifted Resource Teacher, Catherine Forington, prepped students with sensory simulations to provide the students with a perspective on navigating the world with reduced sensory input while building empathy.

 

 Bessie’s Hope facilitated the intergenerational interaction with getting-to-know-you activities, rock painting, and of course, “The Wonderful Song”.  Both the elders and youth were smiling ear to ear and filled with joy and connection during every visit.

 

 Thank you, Polaris Elementary School for your partnership with Bessie’s Hope!

 

McLain Community High School at MorningStar Assisted Living and Memory Care of Littleton

For many years, LeNora Weaver has partnered with Bessie’s Hope to provide her students at McLain Community High School with the life-enriching experience of cultivating relationships with elders in long term care.   The students listen intently, while the elders reminisce, sharing stories of favorite memories.  Since their Bessie’s Hope “grandpartners” are at MorningStar of Littleton Memory Care, the youth also have the opportunity to enter into and be present in the elder’s reality of the moment. 

The students and elders enjoy spending time with each other, and there is always a room filled with laughter, hugs, dancing, singing, conversation and participating in an activity or craft project together.  In the 7-sec video clip, the elder is creating the music by humming and setting the rhythm and tempo, and the teenagers are respectfully and joyfully dancing with her.

Community & Elders Program Feature – March/April 2020

Regis University students and teachers have woven participation with Bessie’s Hope into the Pharmacy and Nursing Service Learning curriculum for many years. Students are able to experience the variance among many nursing homes, assisted living communities and be introduced to the vast career opportunities in long term care.

Regis students enjoyed singing, dancing, conversation and games with residents from Balfour at Stapleton, Bethany Nursing and Rehab,  Brookshire House, Brookside Inn, Cedars Healthcare Center, Chelsea Place, Cherrelyn Healthcare Center, Forest Street Compassionate Care Center,  Greenridge Place, Mesa Vista of Boulder, MorningStar Assisted Living and Memory Care of Littleton, and Orchard Park Health Care Center.

Thank you to our partners at Regis University and all of our assisted living and nursing home partners! 

Family & Elders Program Feature – March/April 2020

Bessie’s Hope volunteer, Tonya Lacy, began volunteering at Juniper Village Aurora at the beginning of the year to engage with the residents there. However, once introduced to Ms. Yvonne, her volunteer experience turned into a family one. Her twin teens, Resa and Rueben have also joined in on the fun, and have enjoyed getting to know and playing card games with Ms. Yvonne.

 

However, due to COVID-19 precautions, visitors are unable to enter our elder care communities at this time. Although, that did not stop the Lacy family from connecting with Ms. Yvonne. They took the time to write letters, and Resa, Tonya’s daughter, shared her passion and talent for art by creating pictures to share with Ms. Yvonne during this time.

 

At Bessie’s Hope, we are so thankful for volunteers like Tonya and her family!