One of the most popular calendars around town this month has helped put fun into fundraising for the Therapeutic Activation Program for Seniors (TAPS).
The 2015 TAPS Calendar, with its small format and black and white photos, features seniors and TAPS staff dressed in vintage costumes and posed in a variety of scenes. It is sure to put a smile on faces throughout the year.
The idea for the calendar came from summer intern Jamie Pommier last year, said TAPS community liaison Maureen Cameron.
“It was something our seniors can be a part of,” she said. “It illustrates people coming together and supporting each other, all while having fun. It is a great reflection of the TAPS program itself.”
Operated by Valley Community Services, TAPS serves about 60 clients who range in age from their sixties to nineties. Social activities around the community (the program will soon be housed in Rotacrest Hall) keep clients active and in touch.
“The biggest thing is participating in their community,” Cameron said.
A combination of staff and volunteers (many of whom are seniors) co-ordinate activities as diverse as cooking and baking to singing and playing in a band. Intergenerational activities are an emphasis, with visits with day care children and “play dates” with kids in a park.
“It is important that people can just be themselves, whether it is singing, playing an instrument, helping in the kitchen or just socializing,” she said.
Clients’ needs vary. Some may have early onset dementia, others physical ailments and, most commonly, others simply don’t have a large support network that keeps them stimulated and active. The TAPS program was started because health and social service workers know instinctively that loneliness and inactivity are major contributors to poor health.
The calendar project was a great illustration about how a small thing can have a large impact.
“We started planning about two months before the photo shoot,” Cameron said. “It started with broaching clients and asking for ideas. In the end, we had enough ideas for 10 years of calendars!”
On the day of the photo shoot, staff, volunteers and TAPS members gathered at Jimmy’s Pub and Grill, where a variety of costumes awaited. Photographer Brian Lawrence and lighting director Jason Smith set the poses and Gail Kitt helped with the costumes; all three are active in community theatre with Footlighters.
“It was a great day,” she said. “The seniors had a great time posing and they just loved seeing the photos that were shot a few days later. They all had input in the captions we included with the photos.”
Of the 500 calendars, only about 100 remain to be sold at $10 each. They can be found at Creston Town Hall, Creston Card and Stationery, Black Bear Books, Kingfisher Used Books and Creative Fix.
Cameron said an unexpected consequence arose in the printing of the calendars. A decision was made to send one to each TAPS donor from recent years, as a thank you for their support. As a result, more donations have rolled in.
“It’s a never-ending struggle to find funding to keep the program going,” she said. “Every dollar helps.”