Yesterday was the 2nd anniversary of my grandmother’s passing and I spent the day reflecting on this wonderful legacy that she left me. On every visit to her in the nursing home I knew we were going to be able to turn her fight with dementia into something positive. From an early age she taught me the importance of taking care of the elderly and ensuring that they were shown the respect and care that they deserved.
From my first visit I started to recognize that there were many that were not as fortunate as my grandmother to get visitors, cards and other items. My mom and aunt were so wonderful at ensuring her room was decorated for all the holidays, her cards and pictures were posted around the room and there were things around the room to brighten up the concrete walls. I had assumed this was the norm. However, as I walked the halls with her and observed other rooms I soon learned that this was not the norm, but rather an anomaly.
I knew I had to do something and decided to ask all my friends and family to send cards that I could then deliver to the residents in my grandmother’s community so they too could have something bright for their room. The response I got was overwhelming and from there Bring Smiles to Seniors was born. I combined my business experience with amazing support from my friends and family and in March 2016 the journey began. I now do this with five amazing volunteers. The one thing I always remembered along the way was my grandmother’s mantra, “never do a job unless you are going to do it right and never start a job unless you are going to finish it.”
My grandmother’s spirit will always be at the core of this program. Her spirit keeps the passion alive in me to continue this journey for as far as it will go. Turning her fight with dementia into what we do today has built a legacy that knows no boundaries. Those first cards have now turned into over 47,000 smiles since the program started.
Through this program we have continued to connect the circle of life and involved Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, elementary schools, high schools, colleges, civic organizations and corporations. We have taught people the power of one single card. We have provided opportunities for individuals to get involved that may not have otherwise had that opportunity. We have given people a new purpose. We have become so much more than just a card delivery service. We have built a community, a family and a network of the most caring people on the planet.
Although I am sad on the anniversary of my grandmother’s passing, I try and turn that sadness into celebration for what her life meant and now what her legacy means to so many people. Looking down on us I hope that she is proud that we are doing the job right and smiling along with the thousands of seniors there are benefiting from what we do.
Have a great day and remember to be the reason someone smiles today.