Show YXU Care
Posted on 03 April 2017
There is no doubt that we are all busy people. Our lives are powered by our ambition to succeed (and at least for me, a whole lot of caffeine). It’s easy to move through life following your own day to day schedule; waking up, making breakfast, maybe getting a workout in, going to work, coming home, dinner, sleep and repeat. I found myself in this rut after graduating from Ohio Wesleyan University in May of 2016. I didn’t have a steady job lined up, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and I had just moved back home to Solon, Ohio. I grew up in Solon, a suburb in Northeast Ohio, and I was back as an “adult” with a college degree and a drive to tackle a new job. I knew that no matter what I ended up doing, I wanted to have the opportunity to give back to my own community and to show that beyond my own busy schedule, I cared. In July, I found that opportunity.
CARE is a new program that I have had the privilege of working on since July of 2016. This program, whose mission: to engage community resources to maximize the safety and independence of older adults who wish to remain in their homes, could not have appeared at a better time. As a country, we hear every day on the news about the Baby Boomers and how they are in fact, “booming”. Our population is shifting, and it’s projected that by 2030 one in five Americans will be an older adult. That’s a lot of older adults! And their needs are shifting as well. Thankfully, people are beginning to recognize this. The CARE Program, funded in part by the Division of Senior and Adult Services through the Cuyahoga County Health and Human Services Levy, was developed as an innovative approach to helping the people who have worked hard to build and develop our communities, the people who have created our neighborhoods, supported us in our schools: the older adults in our communities.
I am the Program Coordinator for CARE. This position allows me to show that I care on a daily basis. It’s my job to coordinate the day to day activities of CARE that will allow this program to successfully assist older adults who want to remain safe and independent in their homes. I mean c’mon, who wouldn’t want to feel safe in their own house? But as we age, it takes a lot more effort to maintain a whole home and that’s where the CARE Program comes in. By coordinating and completing different service tasks in and around the homes of the older adults enrolled in this program, CARE is able to take away some of the stress that comes with keeping up with your house. By using volunteers to get these tasks done: yard clean ups, help around the kitchen, organizing closets, all of those things that get harder as we age but are crucial to staying in our homes safely; CARE provides a secure way for older adults living in our community to get help around the house and provides a chance for new relationships to form between our older community members and volunteers of any and every age looking to help maintain the community in which they live!
CARE is unique in that it brings together four senior service agencies: Community Partnership on Aging (serving Highland Heights, Lyndhurst, Mayfield Heights, Mayfield Village and South Euclid), Cleveland Heights Senior Center, Maple Heights Senior Center and Solon Senior Center; all who have a history of showing they care. Each day as Program Coordinator has provided me with new and challenging opportunities that have worked to build my leadership skills. The ability to communicate, to have a plan but not be overly rigid in its delivery and to keep those you are serving at the forefront of everything you do are just a few qualities I have been able to develop further through my work with the CARE Program.
We all have that one thing, that one reason we get out of bed each morning. It’s what we care about. But how do we show that we care? Is it through activism? Volunteering? Visiting an old friend going through a tough time? Spending time with our families? For me, one way I show I care is through the CARE Program. YXU has built this amazing platform to showcase individuals and groups who really CARE about their communities, and I am grateful for an opportunity to partner with them this month.
So think about it, how do you Show You CARE?