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

Bessie’s Hope Benefits from Latest Cocktails for a Cause

The Villager – March 06, 2014

Cocktails for a Cause was started with one woman, Rene Harding, and her latest quarterly event filled the Cable Center to the walls with 305 women.  This time Bessie’s Hope was the beneficiary.  A new non-profit is chosen each time and this one connected with everyone, whether they ahve an elderly relative in a nursing home or not.

And speaking of connecting, Bessie’s Hope brings trained volunteers together with patients for a mutually beneficial connection.

When first learning of what began as Rainbow Bridge by co-founder Linda Holloway, many of us were shocked to learn that 50 percent of nursing home residents get no visitors.  Now frail and infirm, many lighten up at the sight of a friendly face and the video Holloway provided detailed just such responses, their eyes aglow.

The Villager

GloryUs Goings On – Take a trip back in time to The Copa at Bessie’s Hope

The Copa is the spot that attracted entertainment icons, such as Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Dean Martin and others most of us only knew through tabloids. If you have no such memories yourself, ask your elderly relatives. Enter the Denver Tech Center Marriott Rocky Mountain Event Center, May 18, and be transported to the famous New York City Copacabana, courtesy of Bessie’s Hope.

Now, about those elderly relatives. Many are spending their last years in nursing homes alone there as children’s jobs and other opportunities took them thousands of miles away. They live on those memories of a full dining room each holiday dinner.

The average nursing home resident gets about one visitor each year. They deserve better. Bessie’s Hope brings youth in at-risk programs and other volunteers to area nursing homes as each mutually finds a caring avenue of connection and Bessie’s Hope’s been doing this for 18 years.

Funding this program depends on the annual gala being co-chaired by LaFawn Biddle and Dr. Sandra Arkin. Claudette and Bruce Ereck are sponsorship chairs.

Working with them are Frances and Monica Owens, Louise Richardson, Anne Stotts, Pat Robinson, Courtney Drake-McDonough and Claire McDonough, Kay Ray, Jamie Angelich, Hildegard White, Rosalina Diecidue, Cathy Felling, and Adrienne Ruston Fitzgibbons. They’re planning sound-a-like performers to put on a Copa-like show.

For information, call co-founder Linda Holloway, 303-423-4197.

Denver Business Journal

Thanksgiving thoughts on Denver businesses honoring community

Date: Wednesday, November 21, 2012, 2:39pm MST

As we sit down with our families and give thanks, we need to remember the people who don’t have families or friends to visit on Thanksgiving. Many of those people are in nursing homes and rarely get visitors at any time of the year, let alone the holidays.

The management and merchants at Aspen Grove Lifestyle Center in Littleton are doing something to help some of those elders. They are partnering with Denver-based Bessie’s Hope, a nonprofit that connects elders in nursing homes with their communities, for the “Queen for a Day” program.

The monthly program honors a nursing home elder who receives little to no visitors. She is treated to a day out at Aspen Grove, where she gets a free lunch, a new outfit, salon services and other gifts from participating merchants.

“Queen for a Day allows Aspen Grove to support Bessie’s Hope in their mission of bringing comfort and friendship to nursing home elders,” said Kim Cronin, marketing director for Aspen Grove. “The retailers enjoy pampering the queen with meaningful services and gifts to show her how special she is and how much we all care.”

Elizabeth Horner, a 90-year-old resident of Cherrelyn Health Care Center in Littleton, was the Queen for a Day in October.

“I had such a good time. We went into almost all of the stores,” Horner told me. “The managers of those stores were so wonderful.”

One of her favorite memories of the day was a visit to Gigi’s Cupcakes, as well as being treated to a beautiful artificial orchid plant by the manager of Pier 1 Imports.

“He went downstairs in the store and pulled up an orchid that looks so real, my neighbor was giving me advice on how to water it,” she said, laughing.

The Queen program is an offshoot of Bessie’s Hope’s Community and Elders program, which is targeted at the business community, said Linda Holloway, co-founder of Bessie’s Hope.

Bessie’s Hope can facilitate partnerships between nursing homes and companies so that the partnership can be part of businesses’ corporate social responsibility programs or community service projects, she said.

“Our Community and Elders program is so great for businesses,” Holloway said. “Businesses can come to us and tell us how often they’d like to get involved. It’s a great team-building effort, because when employees are in the nursing home, in the light of compassion, they see each other in a whole different element.”

Corporate volunteers receive training, materials and support from Bessie’s Hope to make visits with nursing home elders, who are often isolated from and by society.

For its “Queen for a Day” efforts, Aspen Grove was named the 2012 U.S. Community Support Award western region winner in September by the The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) Foundation.

ICSC also recognized Cronin, Dawn Marie Lecklikner, regional vice president of shopping center marketing, DDR Corp. (owner and manager of Aspen Grove), and Margie Munoz, general manager, DDR Corp.

Calder and Munoz gave a $5,000 donation to Bessie’s Hope during the October Queen for the Day lunch at Panera Bread in Aspen Grove.


Get Involved: Bessie’s Hope

When Linda Holloway’s grandmother, Bessie, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, Holloway visited her Texas nursing home every month. And while she was able to provide companionship and support, she couldn’t help but notice that a majority of the patients often sat alone.

What’s even worse, says Holloway, is that nursing home staff did little to combat the painful cycle of seclusion, and oftentimes even encouraged it. Patients were urged to limit outside visitations, because seeing friends and family members “would just confuse them.”

The lack of community inspired Holloway to take action, and together with friends Sharron Brandrup and Marge Utne she created an organization to address this issue. Founded in 1993, Bessie’s Hope now arranges visits for more than 3,800 nursing home and assisted living patients each year in the Denver metro area. And the feel-good effects of the program extend beyond the elderly community, as the majority of Bessie’s Hope volunteers are “at-risk” youth, or children exposed to a life of drugs, abuse, gangs, and violence.

Once the young volunteers are matched with elderly counterparts, frequent visits and planned activities help cultivate relationships between the generations. According to Holloway, over 90 percent of the at-risk youth who participate with Bessie’s Hope experience increased self-esteem and exhibit more compassionate and caring behavior. “I’ve witnessed a ripple effect in these kids,” Holloway says. “Their time spent with the elders makes a difference in all aspects of their lives.”

The goodwill practiced by Bessie’s Hope proves contagious, as the organization is now active in 45 Colorado nursing homes and assisted living facilities and incorporates families, businesses, and community member as volunteers. There’s even an affiliate program in Germany. Holloway likes to think of the many young and old lives impacted in terms of the sunrise and sunset. “They’re both equally beautiful and equally needed,” she says.

Denver Post

‘Copacabana Night’ is a good one for Bessie’s Hope

Some of the biggest names in showbiz entertained at Copacabana Night: Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra … what’s that you say? They’re no longer with us? True, but people who look and sound a lot like them are. And they put on quite a show for the 450 guests at this dinner gala chaired by LaFawn Biddle and Sandra Arkin.

Westminster News

Generations were united during the annual Bessie’s Hope Intergenerational Bowl-a-thon at Brunswick Zone in Westminster.

Bowlers from the age of 3 all the way to 103, enjoyed a day of friendly competition on Oct. 27 while raising money for Bessie’s Hope.

Bessie’s Hope is a metro-Denver nonprofit organization that brings generations together to enhance the lives of nursing home elders and at-risk youth. For 18 years, the organization has helped create mutually rewarding relationships for both elders and young people, said Linda Holloway with Bessie’s Hope.

“About 60 percent of elders in nursing homes receive no personal visits. So what we do at Bessie’s Hope is connect that at-risk youth with one of those elders,” she said. “What we’ve discovered is that both parties want to feel valued and needed and it creates a success story that is win-win.”

Bessie’s Hope also provides volunteers opportunities for people interested in giving back to the elders in their community. Holloway said she helps families and individuals adopt an elder in a near-by nursing home.

“Through Bessie’s Hope, the elders regain a spark in their eyes, and they have something to look forward to,” she said. Whether it’s volunteer or a youth, being there for the elder is replacing the loneliness and the hopelessness with their caring presence and loving touch.”