Editor's Note: This is the eighth in a series of 10 weekly articles that will appear each Thursday as part of the Be Kind campaign, an initiative spearheaded by Orillia's Emergency Management Committee.
Orillia’s Be Kind Campaign recently took root at Trillium Manor, a local longterm care home operated by the County of Simcoe.
Crystal Rosewell, the program and support services supervisor at the Grace Avenue facility, heard Mayor Steve Clarke talking about the campaign and decided to take it to the residents and staff of Trillium Manor.
“We are always looking for opportunities to connect the residents to community — things that are happening — and we thought it would be a great way for the residents to show some appreciation,” Rosewell said.
Trillium staff put up a tree on the wall over the Thanksgiving season and had residents from the Reminiscing Group share with staff the things they are thankful for.
“We found that they were thankful for things that were simple and made us understand how important those small things are in life and that it makes a big difference to them,” she said.
“Some of the things they said they were thankful for were the people they live with, for being alive, for the staff at Trillium Manor, (as well as being) thankful for family, friends and hot showers.”
The tree was posted on the wall in two of the units so the staff could read the messages as well.
“We wanted the staff to see these little notes of encouragement towards them. And then some of the staff got involved, too, because one note (for example) said ‘I’m thankful for my job.’ The idea was to get people to focus on outward things instead of inward things so much.”
Rosewell said the reaction to the tree was quite positive.
“It’s been really nice. I think it’s been a nice reminder for the staff and the work they do. It’s hard work, but it reminds them the residents are really thankful for what they do for them.”
The Gratitude Tree was up over the Thanksgiving season and then staff and residents rolled into giving back for the Christmas season. Residents and staff participated in Operation Christmas Child where they filled shoeboxes with toys and gifts to be presented to children in need all over the world.
“We were thankful for all these things with the Gratitude Tree and then we wanted to share kindness to other people with Operation Christmas Child,” she said.
“I think we packed 42 or 43 boxes. It’s toiletries and things they might need to be able to attend school in another country, as well as toys and other things that might fit in a shoebox.”
Do you know of an act of kindness or generosity that should be shared with the community? If so, please email your idea and contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.