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We Get By with a Little Help
from Our Friends:

Community Partnerships in Action

Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song

Help, and the need for help, comes in all shapes and sizes. No matter what point we are at in our lives, we all could use a helping hand. DARTS is committed to offering services to older adults in the community to assist with keeping them in their homes for as long as possible before having to move into assisted living, a nursing home, with family, etc. Our helping hands come in different forms, one being of connecting with an organization that works to, “enhance the quality of life for people with disabilities in the areas of employment, life skills and community inclusion.” (ProAct, Inc).

As the Home Services Program Manager here at DARTS, I see that there is always had heavy interest in our Homemaking Services. Keeping homes clean and tidy help our clients feel more comfortable at home and create a safer environment for them to live in. With a growing waitlist of potential clients and faced with hiring challenges, I knew we had to expand our Home Helper staff. Through some outreach, conversation, and critical thinking, we built a partnership with ProAct!

How do I feel by the end of the day?

I remember when I first visited the ProAct campus and got a firsthand view at what the future of this partnership could become. Imagine walking into a school, filled with happy faces, cheerful voices, and laughter. Picture classrooms with attentive faces as students are learning a new form of art or craft. Think of a huge room, almost warehouse like, with the engagement of those same smiling faces packaging products into boxes. Sounds of, “good job!” and high-fives circulate throughout the building. Oh yes! I knew this was something special 😊

Just like that, our partnership began. Boy, were they eager to get out there. Eager for a change. Eager to learn. Eager to meet new people. Eager to help.

Would you believe in love at first sight?

As the ProAct teams began their role as Home Helpers, I visited and called to see how they were doing. I remember speaking with one of the clients who had the pleasure of working with the team. She was a retired teacher and told me how much having the ProAct team over reminded her of being with her students. She was able to “teach” them just how she wanted her bed made. She understood how each person may learn at a different pace, but she didn’t mind at all. It made her feel good to help them learn something new.

I later visited a client and the team towards the end of an appointment. This time, the client was thanking them for all of their help that day. Looking at their faces light up with pride and satisfaction was a very heartfelt moment. It was meaningful to them that they were able to not only help clean for their client, but to know they made a difference. Their help mattered.

Oh I get by with a little help from my friends

Relationships were built throughout these interactions. To wrap up a visit, one client broke out her fine china, set the table, and provided coffee and some sweet treats. It was her way of saying thank you, but also her way of keeping some normalcy to parts of her life that you could tell she enjoyed.
Cleaning was integral in creating this partnership. However, it also made for true intergenerational connections—”the purposeful bringing together of different generations in ongoing and mutually beneficial activities.” Help came in the form of patience. Help came in the form of kindness. Help came in the form of teaching and learning. Help came in the form of smiles and laughter.

Remember, we all need a little bit of help from our friends sometimes. Whatever form it may come in, it is usually sent to make a difference. This connection made a difference.

ProAct team in action!
ProAct team in action!

Author

  • Chamille Edmonds

    Chamille Edmonds is the Program Manager of Home Services at DARTS. She attended Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, as well as Normandale Community college, here in Bloomington, MN. Having started with the nonprofit in March of 2015 as the Program Assistant, Chamille has well over 25 years of experience in customer service. Throughout her journey at DARTS, she has become a member of the Minnesota Leadership Council on Aging (MLCOA), an organization and educator that advances positive system change for older adults. Just recently, Chamille was recognized as a MACC member honoree for being a great partner and member. Some of Chamille’s hobbies and passions include cooking, traveling and spending time with family and friends.

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Chamille Edmonds (Author)

Chamille Edmonds is the Program Manager of Home Services at DARTS. She attended Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, as well as Normandale Community college, here in Bloomington, MN. Having started with the nonprofit in March of 2015 as the Program Assistant, Chamille has well over 25 years of experience in customer service. Throughout her journey at DARTS, she has become a member of the Minnesota Leadership Council on Aging (MLCOA), an organization and educator that advances positive system change for older adults. Just recently, Chamille was recognized as a MACC member honoree for being a great partner and member. Some of Chamille’s hobbies and passions include cooking, traveling and spending time with family and friends.
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