Friday, May 4, 2012

This year in our Summit group, we accomplished:
- A successful relationship with the residents and staff of Ravenwood Assisted Living
- Events that the residents enjoyed and talked about afterwards
- Bringing in other Drury students - a total of five throughout the year, almost all with multiple visits

I learned a lot about working with a team this year and communicating effectively. Coordinating schedules and communicating changes was sometimes hard, but I think we all learned a lot about interpersonal relationships within teams. We also learned to be flexible, and cater our events to what the residents like; we decided not to stick to our original plan if it wasn't something that would benefit the residents. Personally, I also gained song-leading skills and picking songs out by ear on a whim. 
In conclusion, this year was one of growth for me, and being a member of Summit was a big part of that. I learned a lot about leadership within the group dynamic, and how to develop relationships with people (the residents) who come from a very different background. I'm glad I was able to participate in Summit, and I look forward to using the skills it has taught me in the future. 

From Katie

·       -  Forming lasting relationships with the residents of Ravenwood
·       -  Integrating other students into our project and letting them become involved as well
·       - Working and Communicating well as a team
This year I feel as though I have accomplished a lot at Ravenwood.  I’m very proud of the progress that my group and I have made with forming relationships with the residents and increasing the activities that the residents have to do.  But, I also feel as though this project has caused me to grow a lot as a leader.  Due to this service project, I have learned how to better communicate with my team, how to better my time management skills and how to be more flexible.
Summit is a unique and interesting experience.  It allows you to not only work with a group of peers, but also to live with them.  Therefore, communication is crucial.  Through this project I feel that I learned how to better express myself and to correspond better with my team.  I also learned how to manage my time.  I had to move around certain events and activities that I had scheduled in order to be able to complete my volunteer hours.  This also allowed me to be more flexible, something that I was not very good at before Summit.  Along, with moving around our dates, we also had to change the events that we had scheduled because they weren’t popular with the residents.  This made me a little nervous, but it turned out great and the residents loved the new events.
Summit is an amazing experience and I feel that I have learned many things about my leadership style and have been able to accomplish a lot at Ravenwood.  I have grown to really care about all the residents at Ravenwood and I know that I’m going to miss them!  Although, I plan to drop by and visit them throughout my college career!
- Katie

Thank you, Ravenwood!

We accomplished our purpose of building personal relationships with the residents of Ravenwood Assisted Living. I now know the names and stories of over ten ladies who live at Ravenwood. I enjoyed interacting with the residents and I truly feel like I know them. Our goal of giving the residents more weekend activities was achieved because we were frequently able to provide them with activities over the weekend. Finally, we were successful because not only did we build relationships with Ravenwood residents ourselves, but we were able to involve other Drury students who developed relationships with the residents as well. It was a fruitful year for our group because we gained the privilege of knowing these women and spending time.
I have grown both as a leader and as a person throughout my Summit experience. I have learned that it is important to communicate and coordinate with your group, even if it is difficult to meet due to busy schedules. I now know how important effective communication is within a group in order to be effective and a positive experience. Summit provided me with growth as a human because I am able to relate with older adults with more ease than I had before. I learned the significance of older adults in our community and how important it is to spend time with them and befriend them. Summit was a wonderful experience and I am grateful for the memories I now have with the residents of Ravenwood Assisted Living.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Katie's Blog!

The major issue that I have learned about our community issue is how neglected these residents are.  While they get attention from the workers and nurses who work at Ravenwood, there are not many volunteers to come and spend time with each individual resident.  I think that this is really sad, because it causes the residents to feel like they have been forgotten and are not important anymore.  Many of the residents don’t get to see their families everyday, so for people to just take a few hours out of their week to come and visit them would help keep the residents happy and occupied.

I think that this issue effects me as a student, first of all because I can do something to change and help with the situation and secondly because I might be in the same position when I’m older.  I am able to go and help these residents with the other members of my Summit group by just spending time with them.  By doing something about the situation and being there to help our community partner plan events, makes me feel connected with the residents and the issue at hand.  I also feel connected with this issue because we are all getting older every day.  I understand and recognize that I might someday be in these ladies shoes, and I would love to have some new people come and spend more time with me.

When I was looking at Ravenwood's website, I found this paragraph in their "About Americare" section. (Americare is the nationwide organization that sponsors Ravenwood)
    "At the heart of every Americare community is a philosophy of person-centered care. This philosophy guides every decision we make. Person Centered care comes alive in our communities and truly makes a difference in the lives of our residents, their families and our co-workers." 
I thought this was a great example of a healthcare facility doing things right. It is an issue in healthcare, particularly assisted living and nursing homes, when the staff is negligent and does not put the clients first.  Even beyond the care of basic needs, attention is not often paid to older adults. Our project seeks to address the latter problem. I hope that when I become old enough to be in a nursing facility, I will have family and friends to visit me. Or maybe some college students doing a service project ;) 
The first part of their mission statement reminds me of the American Music Therapy Association's code of ethics that we're studying in one of my classes. One of the most important lines in the code is "The welfare of the client will be of utmost importance to the music therapist." I think that really is the basis for the rest of the code of ethics, and I'm glad to see other organizations feel the same way. 

Quality Time

I have learned that the community issue of almost "forgetting" about the older generation definitely exists and is a prevalent problem. I would speculate that this is probably true for multiple communities, and not a unique problem to Springfield, Missouri. However, it is disheartening to enter Ravenwood Assisted Living and know that few if any volunteers have spent time with the residents since our last visit. Our community partner, Sharon Mathis, told us last semester that when she came back to Ravenwood on Monday morning the residents would often still be talking about or excitedly relay stories to her about our visit with them Saturday afternoon. One thing that has definitely frustrated me while becoming more familiar with the issue of a forgotten generation, is that even the care takers employed to help the older adults are not always as friendly to the residents as one would imagine. These older adults have little to look forward to throughout their long days because no one is engaging with them anymore. Some of the residents' families never or rarely visit and that's what it is important for employees and volunteers to talk with them, play games with them, and engage them in life daily.
I feel connected to this issue because I think that it means Project Ravenwood is really making a difference. Our team can make the days of the residents we spend time with, play music for, and talk to. Going to Ravenwood Assisted Living and simply asking a resident what they are feeling and listening to a story they want to tell makes a difference in their life because even if only for that day, they feel loved and important. Everyone should have the benefit of feeling loved and important. I am glad that our project can help the residents of Ravenwood and I am honored to hear the stories they have to tell and spend time with them, especially when it brightens their day.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Our last class period, we learned about our communication styles, what our strengths and weaknesses are, and how those can affect others. We took a fun quiz that classified us into different animals - I'm a fox, apparently. I like to compromise if possible in conflict situations, although if something is very important to me I might refuse to compromise. I definitely see how this is true in my life. I mostly want to make everyone happy with the outcome to a situation, but if something is important enough to me, I will stick to my guns, so to speak. I think a way I could improve my conflict skills is to step back from situations where I feel I cannot budge my opinion, and evaluate what it is about my solution to the conflict that seems so vital to me, and how that could be approached in a different way, or if it really is not a good reason and I need to reevaluate my priorities. I do think my willingness to compromise in most situations is a strength, as is my ability to see things from other's perspectives. While I don't avoid conflict at all costs, it does at times make me very uncomfortable and I think it would be good for me to gain more confidence in addressing issues with others.