When Blakeford developed our WellLife at Blakeford program, we felt strongly that creating a sense of community through volunteering was extremely important. As a result, the CONNECT WellLife Dimension was put into place. By our definition, CONNECT is designed to strengthen the Blakeford community and the greater community by the sharing of personal knowledge and skills of residents and team members.
Holli Passmore, Director of Wellness and Life Enrichment, works within the Nashville community to discover volunteer opportunities for Blakeford residents and team members.
“We have to consider a lot of different needs when evaluating a potential opportunity,” Holli notes. “We have to offer a wide variety of opportunities to meet all of the different schedule needs and any physical limitations. We strive to identify opportunities that are both ongoing and one-time commitments to encourage participation from as many people as possible.”
While opportunities are provided through Holli and the CONNECT WellLife Dimension, some residents have created their own opportunities to give back to the community. Knitters and Knitwits, a group that meets weekly at Blakeford, have made blankets, hats, and booties and donated them to the Ronald McDonald House and a local church’s homeless ministry.
Increased Quality of Life
Because Blakeford believes in the whole community, Holli also looks for inter-generational opportunities where residents and team members can volunteer together. As Holli says, “It adds a whole new layer to the opportunity that is especially powerful.”
As she secures opportunities for Blakeford, Holli has found that residents and team members approach them from different places. “Residents enjoy these opportunities because many of them were very active in the community and had thriving careers,” Holli notes, “so having the coordination and availability of volunteer opportunities to participate in through the community allows them to continue to stay connected which is proven to increase the quality of life.”
Holli continues, “In the line of work that our team members are in we are giving back of ourselves every day, but having the opportunities coordinated through Blakeford to give back in different ways, such as a Habitat for Humanity build or raising awareness for a cause through a walk/fundraiser, allows them to utilize other parts of themselves and their talents. It increases satisfaction in both their personal and professional lives.”
Holli works together with a group of team members called the WellLife PACE Team to discover additional ways of reaching out and connecting beyond the Blakeford campus. Having several people with different backgrounds and ideas on the team helps in developing new opportunities that will appeal to a variety of people.
In the last two years, Blakeford has contributed volunteers to several organizations including a Habitat for Humanity build, blood drives for American Red Cross, various fundraising for the Arthritis Foundation, and participating in the Happy 5K Run for the Mental Health Association.
The Right Thing
Holli is looking forward to future CONNECT possibilities. “One of the opportunities we are most excited about developing is a partnership through the PENCIL Foundation of Nashville for 2015,” Holli says. “where residents and team members will have the opportunity to partner with a local grade school to tutor children in reading and math once a week as well as holding school supply drives to benefit the local public schools. We are also planning another Habitat for Humanity build for the fall, community events, and a holiday gift drive for the children in need.”
As the CONNECT WellLife Dimension continues to grow in scope, Holli is getting positive feedback from people are finding new ways to feel a part of the Nashville community.
“People are encouraged and inspired after being involved in a CONNECT opportunity. The joy and satisfaction they share with each other and the smiles on their faces only confirm that we are doing the right thing by identifying and coordinating these opportunities for them.”
To learn more about WellLife at Blakeford, contact us.
Holli Passmore serves as the Administrator of Independent Living Services and Director of Wellness and Life Enrichment. Her responsibilities include managing the independent living community and overseeing its daily operations. As Director of Wellness and Life Enrichment, she works closely with the community’s Life Enrichment and Wellness team to develop and implement WellLife at Blakeford, which provides Residents the platform to maintain optimum well-being based on the six dimensions of wellness.