St. Ann’s Center Programs Benefit from Financial Gift
By: Brandon Lemke and Bianca Constanzo
Earlier this year in July, The Center for Life Transitions announced it was making a donation of $25,000 to the St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care. The St. Ann Center, located in Bay View, is using the gift to help fund two of its core community programs. “We emphatically support the professionally delivered, compassionate care St. Ann’s provides children, the disabled and seniors” said Dr. Tom Bachhuber, President of the Center for Life Transitions Board, as he presented the donation to Sr. Edna Lonergan, President of St. Ann’s. “Sister Edna and the Center’s work are internationally recognized,” Tom added,
It is clear that the Center for Life Transitions and the St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care have well matched purposes. The organizations have similar goals and values, serving essential needs of individuals who are in striving and often struggling in transitional stages. Through financial support from the Center for Life Transitions, both the St. Ann Center and the Center for Life Transitions are achieving their goals of serving both young and old. The two organizations are maintaining a mutually beneficial relationship.
At the St. Ann Center, the young and old benefit from the presence of each other through social, recreational and educational interaction. The St. Ann Center is a place where children, the elderly and disabled can receive the care they need during the day and still return home in the evening. Additionally, there is a Respite Center where elderly adults can stay over night to provide the family a vacation from caretaking.
Sr. Edna Lonergan, President of the St. Ann Center, expressed her gratefulness for the support received from the Center for Life Transitions, “I want to say how grateful we are for your faithful support of the care we provide,” Lonergan said. “This gift is a wonderful symbol of our continuing, exciting partnership with the Center for Life Transitions.”
The goal of the Center for Life Transitions is to help people at a “crossroads” in their personal, professional, and spiritual lives. By reaching out financially to the St. Ann Center, they are supporting two key services--the Buddy Program and the Benevolent Touch Program.
The Buddy Program Serves Milwaukee Youth
The Buddy Program is a community service of the St. Ann Center that reaches out to central city youth between the ages of 12 and 16, aiming to teach them valuable life lessons.
“Youth gain job training, budget training, and have an opportunity to work on social skills,” Tony Phillips, Buddy Program Coordinator, said.
Youth qualify for the program based on their attendance at the Academy of Learning and Leadership, Central City Cyber School, and Fernwood Montessori. Even though the program collaborates with these schools, the program is open to youth throughout Milwaukee. Transportation is a challenge in getting the youth to and from St. Ann’s. “Currently, we only have one 7 passenger van,” Phillips said. The gift will help support transportation.
Through the program, youth spend time at the St. Ann Center, learning while interacting with St. Ann clients. “Youths spend two hours a week with St. Ann Center clients, sharing life experiences, playing various games, and helping transport clients to their vans at the end of the day.”
The program is effective in teaching the young people to show respect to all, no matter their age or what kind of challenges they’re facing. Buddy Program participant Cassidie said, “I have learned not to judge someone because of how they look or talk.”
The program is mutually beneficial to the young people and the St. Ann’s patients, who benefit from having the youth around because of the assistance and company they provide. “Clients get an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others despite their own challenges.” Phillips said.
Benevolent Touch is a training service that allows caregivers from a variety of settings and services, professionals to home caregivers, to expand their expertise in enhancing the quality of life for those with Alzheimer’s, dementia, sensory loss due to aging and other special needs. Participants in the Benevolent Touch workshops learn how to relax patients using gentle massage techniques as opposed to the sole usage of medications in calming patients.
The four-hour long course covers the normal and not so normal aging process for the elderly. Relaxation and rage reduction exercises are discussed and practiced. The latter part of the workshop consists of hands-on techniques where the participants learn gentle, nurturing massage techniques from head to foot.
“We hope that wall participants within the Benevolent Touch workshops will learn that there is another way to communicate the feeling of safety, security and love to their clients who at times are agitated and not so benevolent,” commented Sandy Anderson, Benevolent Touch Coordinator.
The St. Ann Center has received positive feedback from participants in Benevolent Touch who have put to work what they learned in the program.
“I have two gentlemen with Alzheimer’s disease who become agitated around 3:00 p.m. Instead of the usual medication routine, I gave them a hand and shoulder massage and they fell asleep. The power of touch is so simple and yet so effective,” David, a case manager for a group home, said. According to Anderson, it is not only Alzheimer’s patients that benefit from the effects of hands on massaging. The caregivers are given a sense of accomplishment as well.
“The benefits of a gentle nurturing touch are more far-reaching than they may at first seem. It helps the caregivers feel secure in their ability to do something positive for their loved ones who are experiencing the aging process or some kind of decline,” Anderson said.
Through supporting these two vital programs at the St. Ann Center, the Center for Life Transitions is achieving their goals by assisting the aforementioned groups of people--the young, the old, those with special needs, as well as their caregivers. With the support of the Center for Life Transitions, the St. Ann Center is better able to serve their clients in core services like the Buddy Program and Benevolent Touch.
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