As we start off 2019 with renewed hopes and aspirations, we find ourselves in awe of the generosity of the many grantors, donors, volunteers, and supporters of Old Friends Club in 2018. Your gifts of time, money, and passion to help, have helped over 50 families this past year through three respite/day programs. It means the world to us to know that there are so many people who share in our mission to cultivate joy in the lives of adults with cognitive challenges and nourish the well-being of family caregivers.
"Mum has settled in so beautifully and it has become a welcome routine for her and my Dad. As Mum's dementia worsens it has become so helpful for Dad to have a break."
With generous grants from Brookdale Foundation and Alzheimer's Foundation of America we've been able to not only continue our programs in Carnation, Kirkland, and Sammamish, we've also opened our fourth Old Friends Club in Bellevue, which is already helping more local families. Additionally, very kind grants from Holy Family Parish Catholic Church, Sammamish Rotary, Chisholm Foundation, and Eastside Community Aid have helped keep the Clubs engaging, joyful, and affordable for families.
"…what a wonderful experience this has been for him and even more for me. It has really been a life saver. You are all angels and have made my life much easier. I'm so glad I found out about you.”
Each Club has its own personality, thanks to Program Coordinators Joan, Lori, Susie, and Mary. They devote their energy and creativity to create a space of friendship where Club Members can be genuine, playful, serious, and downright silly.
The Program Coordinators rely on the help of those big-hearted volunteers who join us for a full day, once a week. These Volunteers are Vital to OFC's Success, and we can’t fully express our gratitude for them. They are considered volunteer “staff” as they not only help to stretch our donation dollars but also our staff's human capacity.
"Just wanted you and the others that help at the OFC that mom was so tickled today over the birdhouse art project ...it was very endearing :). She really likes the art/craft time!"
A Grateful Note to Club Volunteers: You are the extra eyes, ears, voices, hands, and hearts. You help make sure Members feel included and respected. You make a more relaxed day, and if there are enough hands, you make it possible to do activities we can’t otherwise do…like taking a nice walk on a sunny day. You share your talents and time out of a generosity that is always too big and yet fits just right.
We can’t thank you enough. You make a real difference.
A very special shout out to the students of the Mt Si Digital Media Academy and their teacher, Joe Dockery, for creating the videos that can be seen on our website and YouTube Channel. They managed to capture the laughter, creativity, friendly competition, and camaraderie of the programs. Their videos show the joy of the volunteers and the relief and surprise of the caregiving families when they see how engaged their loved one is. We’re not sure how they did all that, and so expertly, but we’re delighted they did. We see a bright future for these creative young scholars. If you’re as impressed as we are, please support their efforts too.
Finally, our gratitude is beyond measure to our top individual donors of 2018. Your belief in us and continued support ensures local families have the support they need as they manage their journey with dementia. We especially want to thank our staunch corporate sponsor, Northwest Cellars. Winery owner, Bob Delf, has been instrumental in keeping Old Friends Club on its feet and expanding. As an OFC board member, his expert help with our business operations has been indispensable and a key driver of our success.
Another standout donor is volunteer and artist Meenakshi Sinha. Meenakshi started The Giving Canvas to raise money for various non-profits and charities through art auctions on Facebook. She has given people a chance to learn about and support Old Friends Club's mission while adding beautiful art to their home. Thank you for sharing your joyful creations!
"I can't tell you what a boon the Old Friends Club is for all of us caregivers. What you are doing is marvelous!"
Throughout this blog post, there are quotes from families who express thanks through us to you, our donors, sponsors, and volunteers. Old Friends Club is valued by those who find us and are bolstered by our services. While it can take time for the Club to become a routine cheerfully anticipated part of a routine, (Perseverance Eats "Resistance" for Breakfast) families describe the experiences as life-changing for the better.
Your contributions have changed lives and we look forward to more opportunities to make that happen in 2019!
Do you know a family who might benefit from joining Old Friends Club or someone who you think would enjoy joining our team of volunteers? Please have them call us or contact us at our Old Friends Club Contact Us page.