Therapeutic Activation Program for Seniors volunteers Claire and Nikki.

Tips from TAPS: Many ‘someones’ keep Creston seniors program running smoothly

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“Someone’s in the kitchen with Dinah, strumming on the old banjo.”

There are many “someones” in the kitchen at the Therapeutic Activation Program for Seniors and the strumming today comes from the big room where Ivan and Vera are practicing while the rest of the Tuesday Strummers arrive. The enticing smell of meatballs cooking and date cake just out of the oven attracts appreciative comments from the morning arrivals.

A lunch meal is offered most days, except when an outing to a local restaurant is planned, and it takes many hands to bring it all together. For some folks, coming to share a meal in good company is the highlight of their day or week.

If you peek in during prep, cooking, serving or cleanup times, you’ll see a flurry of activity, except for the much needed “supervisors” — you know, the dedicated back benchers sitting along the far wall whose idea of participation is to watch and comment. Everyone finds their place at TAPS. Then there’s the dining room setup with chairs and cloths and place settings, serving refreshments and eventually bringing the meal items to the tables and then dessert. And, of course, the dishes, then cleanup to do. Amidst all this is the joking with one another, teasing, quiet times, meeting new people, or noticing someone needs help.

I mentioned we had a mix of ages in our volunteer team, and indeed the age range is from 19-80. Nikki and Clare are our youngest, having originally been part of a student work experience through the high school. Mentored by our staff and experienced volunteers, Nikki and Clare have become a much loved and appreciated part of the team. We are pleased to be part of their lives, too, as we see them mastering new skills, sharing who they are and bringing joy to our seniors and to the staff. Participants from the Cresteramics program come once a week with Colleen, Ed and Reg as our awesome cookie making team under the guidance of Randy.

Our yearlong program working with youth from Grizzly Bear Out of School Care, Homelinks and the Mormon Hills School is coming to a close. We at TAPS want to thank the teachers, instructors and students for participating in this intergenerational and multigenerational project to get to know each other through sharing stories and culture. We’ll be writing more about what we all got up to, and plan to display the project at events around town in the coming months. Our thanks to a grant from the federal government’s New Horizons for Seniors program.

A big thank you to all who bought our 2016 calendar, to Mike at Creston Card and Stationery, to Teresa and Gary at Black Bear Books, and Joe and Katherine at Kingfisher Used Books for putting them on display, and the Creston Rotary Club for its financial assistance.

Maintaining a program like TAPS in our community is a credit to all of you. It is one way we can honour the lives of our seniors and their life contributions by providing this opportunity for social engagement and being part of the community with a little help from friends.

We apply for a variety of grants each year, do fundraising and recognize individuals and groups such as Gleaners who have donated financially through Valley Community Services annually or in the past year. Information on our new endowment fund through Valley Community Services is on the website (www.valley.services) or by contacting the office at 250-428-5547.

Maureen Cameron is the community liaison development co-ordinator for the Therapeutic Activation Program for Seniors. For more information on TAPS, run by Valley Community Services, call 250-428-5585.

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