Tips from TAPS: Volunteers are appreciated at Creston seniors program

Web Lead

Not every volunteer could come to the Therapeutic Activation Program for Seniors to be thanked in person this month, but so many were able to make it that Rosalie, Bridget and the staff cooked three meals in one week with helping hands. Forty-five people are listed as volunteers assisting with the daily operation of the program or on call for special projects, or some have specialized roles, such as maintaining the TAPS bus or doing repairs on the building, and, of course, the Krafty Kronys who fundraise and support TAPS in many ways.

Creston Lions Club members were welcome guests at one dinner for their continuing support and inclusion of TAPS in special projects. And a great thanks to the Creston Rotary Club, whose willing hands served one of the meals, with no mishaps whatsoever and some of the ladies attending were quite impressed by the presence of so many gentlemen!

It seems to have been a month of entertaining with intergenerational events, for — in addition to our SchoolWorks student, Jared, and our special ed students, Nicky and Jackson, all helping out — a group of Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) students from Prince Charles Secondary School volunteered to help prepare and serve at our TAPS Christmas party. All joined in the singing led by some of the Happy Gang musicians, with Ward on harmonica, Velma on guitar, Della on piano and Bridget on ukulele. One of the volunteers coordinating the AVID students’ experience tried to keep it to 10 students this year — but enthusiasm to participate meant we got to enjoy the company of 14 youth. The meal ingredients were donated anonymously and seniors donated to the AVID Honduras Market Children program. Enough funds ($283) were raised to help three children go to school for a year.

Wearing our paper hats and wiping traces of dessert from our chins we got to hear and sing along with the Ewashen brothers, Larry, Bob and Alex, during a fine performance of Russian folk songs and Christmas favourites. Thanks!

For anyone who comes to spend time here and interacts with our clients, you can be sure that you will be welcomed when you return again (hint, hint) and many seniors comment on what they appreciated as even the simplest gesture can make an impact.

On a somewhat sad note for us, Rosalie Wilson has retired. Judging by her smile, it’s a happy decision for her of course, and Rosalie, we wish you a much-deserved “kick back time”. Her cooking, organizing and creative uses of donated food are going to be missed as will her smile, generosity, hard work and caring warmth with everyone. Rosalie’s frequent steady helper in the kitchen, Esther, has left us also, and we wish her well as her presence is missed by all.

I’ve mentioned it before, and it strikes me yet again that it’s so easy to write about the details of activities, yet hard to convey the resulting pleasure we hear and see on the faces of individuals touched by the spreading warmth, good energy and connections. And what it really means to each one to join together like this is what it is really all about.

Thanks from all of us to you who make TAPS a reality in Creston for those who need and want this place and wishing you all joy for you and your families. Thank you, Brandy Dyer of Imagine Ink, for donating printing costs for our TAPS newsletter for December, and to Lori Cameron for her donation of equipment for our craft program,

Here’s to 2014 and being together in community!

Maureen Cameron is the community liaison development co-ordinator for the Therapeutic Activation Program for Seniors.