Garden work started with an energetic group of 8th graders from Light House School. They ended their time here with a great song and dance of encouragement for us on our deck. We were blessed with perfect weather the day they came.
Plans for a rummage sale during our monthly volunteer gardening hours (second Saturday of the month from 9am-11am) are in the works. And planning for musical events has started with generous musicians offering to play for tips. We are always busy in the house, but I thought it might be interesting for you to hear about some of the things that go on around us too!
In the last few weeks we have had opportunities to enjoy final presentations by UW students that partnered with Hope & A Future this semester.. April 25th, Allison presented for her N511 Service Learning class. This class focuses on Community Support for People with Dementia. In her presentation she shared her experience in our homey setting. One of her observations was that staff knew the residents, their history and their families and she believed this personalized the care residents received. This was very different from another presentation where a student had been in a large facility and reported that the staff reported knowing very little about the residents they cared for. This is a common experience for staff working in large facilities–there is simply not enough time to get to know those being cared for. And their care is very generic and not personalized. Allison specifically mentioned the joy of learning each person’s unique style of communication. One of her semester goals was to make playlists of music specific to each resident’s history and liking. She was able to play these for the residents and enjoy their delighted responses. Allison brought a fun loving and kind energy with her. We miss her! It was heartwarming to watch her grow throughout the semester.
May 1st and 3rd Paula Reif (co-founder) and I went as student clients to the School of Human Ecology. We were part of a design class co-taught by Professor Jung-hye Shin and Assistant Professor Uchita Vaid. Early in the semester I was asked to share my thinking behind our intentional neighborhood model along with the footprint for the design concept of our planned expansion. I then talked a little about the interior design needs for our Therapeutic Interactive Intergenerational Neighborhood (TIIN). Students were to reflect on the concept and then develop public, semi private and private spaces in the neighborhood that met the needs of young and old. Thought for accessibility, sound control, lighting, and choice for differing levels of engagement in the spaces were briefly explored when I talked with the students. The students put a great deal of thought and effort into their plans and it was a learning experience for Paul and me. We enjoyed listening to the thinking behind their beautiful and fun ideas. At the end of the class, students were asked if they thought this project influenced their thinking in any way. The students did not know this question was coming. Their answers were heartwarming. During my first talk I had mentioned current alarming statistics of loneliness in our country. Across age groups 58% of people report painful loneliness. Students came to the realization that designing spaces that meet the needs of multiple age groups can encourage meaningful interaction and offer choices for intergenerational engagement. They were empowered by the awareness that their design could help make a better world for young and old. We are excited that our TIIN model helped expand the way young people think about combating loneliness through their profession–by intentionally creating spaces that are comfortable for all age groups and encourage daily interactions.
Spring invigorates all kinds of activity at Hope & A Future. Volunteer coordinators are looking forward to working with people like you to prepare our grounds and gardens for the growing season and for outdoor activities. For those of you who own a chainsaw and know how to use it, stay tuned for a major clean up event in our woods! If you want to join the fun, please feel free to sign up on our volunteer page! Ruthie, Our Art/Activities Director, is scheduling musicians for yard parties. Volunteer Musicians are also encouraged to sign up on our volunteer page. We will be having a very exciting event this summer where we can all learn about the history of this extraordinary property! The development team is moving forward with multifaceted expansion plans. Trees and perennials are blooming and we have 6 much loved baby chickens growing by the day–currently in a box in the house. We are promised real spring weather this week and I am listening to the Spring movement from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons on YouTube while writing this!
Embrace the day with a friend! And smile, it will make you feel better!
My best to you,