Bridging People and Places
One Person at a Time
How You Can Help: VOLUNTEER ~ FUNDRAISE ~ DONATE ~ GIVE a PRODUCT or SERVICE
Residents in Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing Facilities have been working with us since we began our "Bear Hugs" projects. The hours of volunteer service they give are appreciated and very helpful to Bridging People and Places. Bears dressed by these seniors are filled with special loving hugs before they are sent to their new homes.
Often youngsters, such as church youth groups or Girl Scouts, will come into the facilities to work hand in hand with the seniors on the "Bear Hugs" projects. Both groups enjoy experiencing one another while engaged in a meaningful activity that has a direct impact on the lives of others. One Girl Scout commented, "It's not often the kids get to help with things as important as this."
Many of the seniors also knit sweaters for the bears. Some of the facilities have started knitting groups that meet bi-weekly or monthly to socialize and knit "Bear Hugs" sweaters.
A nice added feature, which we began at Woodlawn Commons in Saratoga Springs, NY, is "Afternoon Teas." A representative from Bridging People and Places attends as a guest speaker. The residents get a first-hand update on the latest news and heart-warming stories from our "Bear Hugs" projects.
The Activities Director at Woodlawn Commons, Geri Geruso, has been working with us for many years. According to Geri, dressing the bears, and filling them up with hugs, has become one of the residents' favorite activities.
Jan Thurling, of Chestertown, NY, has been a volunteer with both Bridging People and Places and Double H Ranch for a number of years. Jan brings the North Creek United Methodist Church Sunday School together with residents from the Adirondack Tri-County Nursing Home to decorate "Bear Dens," the bags which carry the bears to Double H. In Jan's words, "We encourage the kids to partner with a resident, and that happens very naturally. The older folks appreciate the help applying paint to the stamps, but once they see how easy it is to print "spring things" shapes on the bags, they just keep on printing for the joy of it. The kids just love creating patterns of color and shapes on their bags."
This is a wonderful example of "Bridging People and Places," bringing seniors and youth together to work on a project for children with serious and life-threatening illnesses. Hats off to Jan for her good work!
Volunteers are needed to organize and lead knitting groups and to help with bear dressing and bag decorating activities in Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing Facilities.
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