Thursday, May 29, 2014

Sharon (Message to New Venues)

I've said before that I don't have a favorite senior story – that’s because I love them all. But my favorite story? That, I do have. Ours! The story that is writing itself with a massive, invisible pen, threading your lives and mine together. Last week, an email came through my inbox that reminds me of how big, beautiful and alive that story is.

Most of you know the lovely Sharon from previous blog posts. She is the staff member who is instrumental in bringing the first of our 2014 groups to Pitman, NJ. Sharon recently sent an email to the staff representatives at the JUST announced Best Day venues,  offering the best encouragement and peer support anyone can ask for. Reading it on my phone, it just made me smile. It’s like Sharon and Pitman have assumed the role of older sibling to these new groups, and the family feeling that fills our senior storytelling sessions every week has spread to the conversations that are now happening between venues, across the country.

To keep up on great news like the start of new groups, and read stories from groups across the country, be sure to sign up to receive our Story Letters HERE.

From: Sharon Yesner
Date: Wed, May 21, 2014 at 7:00 PM

Hello Everyone,

It is exciting to learn some of the new venues that are joining the Best Day of My Life (So Far).   We just had a weekly group earlier today and the members once again did some incredible writing.

In one of my emails to Benita I wrote that I noticed a lot crossover between my current involvement with Best Day and both my personal and professional experiences.  Once I again, I see the crossover as I see the new venues.  The reason for this is that I see the Klein JCC on the list.   I grew up in the Somerton Section of NE Phila.  and went to George Washington HS, only a short drive from the Klein JCC.  In fact, my brother still lives there so I still get to the area regularly.  I lived in that area until 1998 when I moved to the “other side of the Boulevard”! Now I am a Jersey resident.

I am also somewhat familiar with Center in Park since I previously worked at the Germantown Home and CARIE!  Unfortunately, I have never been to Seattle, WA but one of our volunteers, originally from Lower Moreland, PA, spent many years living in Washington State.  She has shared some information about the state with me.

Anyhow, enough about me. 

I can tell you that our residents, volunteers and our staff truly enjoy the Best Day of My Life (So Far) Program.  Pitman Manor is a senior continuing care community with about 250 residents in 3 different areas-healthcare, assisted living and a memory support residence all in one building.  We have residents from all three areas participating in the program.  We meet weekly in our building’s library.  In addition to the residents participating, we also have a family member who has joined the group. Two of our residents (in wheelchairs) in the healthcare unit, get themselves from their section of our building, down to the library for the group every week.   This means they go down two floors on the elevator to the main floor and down the long hallway to the other end of the building to our library!

I read some of your comments of anticipation on Facebook.  I want to tell you that actually being at the group, seeing the participants creativity come alive through writing their stories of their life experiences is a great experience.  I can write a lot about it but I won’t.  I will simply say, just wait until you experience it.  One other word of advice is to  be patient.  At first your participants may not truly understand what type of group they said yes to joining.  It may take a few weeks for them to feel comfortable with the group.  However, once they do, watch out!  The results will be amazing!

Thank you for taking the time to read my lengthy e-mail!  Welcome to the Best Day of Your Life (So Far)!

Sharon Yesner
Volunteer Coordinator at Pitman Manor