Puzzles & Company
For her ninth grade project at South View Middle School, Kirby had to choose a current issue or topic, volunteer 15 hours at an organization relating to the topic, and conduct research. For the project, Kirby and her group created a website showcasing everything they had learned.
“We decided on memory loss and elderly neglect as our research topic,” she said. “My grandma has some memory loss and my group members also had grandparents affected by Dementia. It was something we all really wanted to be more informed about.”
“Many companies came to our school and set up booths advertising volunteering opportunities with them. The place that stood out to my group and I the most was English Rose Suites. It seemed like a really great place to volunteer,” she said.
When we have volunteers at English Rose Suites, we want them to do things they enjoy so we try to find the perfect fit for them with our residents and homes.
“Our volunteers do things like manicures and pedicures, work in the gardens, read to the residents, baking, playing music, playing cards/games or doing puzzles. The possibilities are endless,” said Katie Rinehimer, Quality of Life Director.
She and her group started volunteering at English Rose Suites this January. When volunteering they kept residents company while staff got meals prepared, sat with them and enjoyed conversations over meals. They played cards and completed puzzles. They also helped fill the bird feeders and watered the garden with the residents.
Once completing their 15 hours of volunteering and gathering of the information for their website, they presented their experiences and findings on a poster board at the ninth grade learning fair. Students and parents had the opportunity to walk around and view everyone’s project.
“We got to share all of the information we learned and share our experience volunteering,” she added.
“I was only able to volunteer when my group and I were able to get together for the project. It wasn’t as much as I would have liked.” said Kirby.
Some groups did their project on memory loss as well and volunteered at other memory care companies in the Edina area. Others completed their projects on homelessness and volunteered at homeless shelters.
“I really enjoyed volunteering here and always had a lot of fun so I decided to continue coming here throughout the summer. I’ve been coming to English Rose Suites for a couple hours every Thursday and Friday since the first week of June,” said Kirby.
Puzzles are always a hit with residents. They enjoy seeing the end product of their hard work. Her favorite memory from volunteering thus far was when the residents and her baked cookies.
“We made the cookies from scratch, so everyone was able to take turns measuring all of the ingredients into the bowl and had fun stirring it together. Everyone enjoyed themselves and the best part was tasting the finished product! It was a fun time,” she said with a smile.
It’s evident that residents enjoy seeing new faces in the homes, especially when you’re willing to spend time with them.
“It amazing watching residents engage in different ways with different people. If you are excited about what you are doing with them they get excited about it too,” said Rinehimer.
Kirby said she sees how the day is going and how everyone is feeling before deciding on an activity for the day. No day is ever the same, so it’s important to take observations before jumping into an activity and it is best to just go with the flow. Some days are all about relaxing with an afternoon story time when she reads a book or two to them. Other days they play dominos and card games.
Had it not been for this project, she would have never heard of English Rose Suites and never had the opportunity to volunteer here.
“I love volunteering here and it’s really a great place to be. I’ve made so many great memories here,” she added.
Kirby moved to Edina four years ago from Los Angeles, CA. She said she really enjoys it here. She is active in plays and musicals and loves to play soccer.
“I plan on trying out for the Edina High School team this year. Soccer and theater keep me pretty busy,” she said.
If you are interested or know of someone interested in volunteering at one of our homes please contact Katie Rinehimer at email@example.com. We are always accepting new volunteering.