Who are Lenbrook's VICTORS? They are our residents who sometimes feel isolated or lonely, yet have a desire to contribute to others. These feelings can be common occurrences in any setting.
 
Initially, I would direct them to one or more of our regularly scheduled programs, events, activities or excursions. It wasn’t long before I realized that well-planned, parallel programming would offer these individuals an alternative means of fulfilling their particular needs.
 
As a Resident Engagement Supervisor, one of my goals at Lenbrook has been to create opportunities for people to give and to receive care, build meaningful relationships, and for them to be honored and respected for their contributions to our community. I presented a proposal for a "VICTORS" program to our Director of Enrichment and to the Program and Events committee. The proposal was approved and my goal came to fruition with the implementation of the VICTORS Club.
 
The VICTORS first team effort was to create cards for distribution to our Lenbrook Veterans during our Veteran’s Day Program last Fall. When we communicated this idea to our potential participants, it immediately brought joy to their faces because their spouse or family members were veterans, or they were veterans themselves.
 
We started our project by breaking the card-making process down to the simplest form. This way all people would have an opportunity to realize their accomplishments at any level, and know that they were helpful.
 
In our first gatherings, we intentionally observed what each person could do instead of what they could not do. Mistakes were made along the way but our participants were extremely helpful and encouraging to each other. We listened to music and enjoyed the moments as we worked. The VICTORS wore identifying badges and personally distributed the Veteran’s Day Cards with an attached gift to all Lenbrook Veterans attending our community's Veteran’s Day Program this past year.
 
Our goal for our VICTORS is to assist them in strengthening and enjoying their unique abilities. We work to enrich their lives by asking for their ideas and with them create a schedule of planned programs, events, activities or excursions like these outlined here:
• Potting plants and embellishing the pots with military fatigue decor and memorabilia for distribution at the VA Hospital
• Creating wall art for Habitat for Humanity
• Making Valentine's Day cards for Veterans at the VA Hospital
• Hosting VICTOR group luncheons to strengthen relationships
• Creating “Thinking of You Cards” for our Lenbrook residents who are temporarily residing in the rehabilitative services wing of our Health Care Center
 
Our Lenbrook “Can-Do Club Members” offer assistance and reminders to ensure the VICTORS attend and are comfortable contributing.
 
Participants often comment on how much they enjoy the sessions and how good the sessions make them feel. They seem to leave each experience with an increased sense of self-worth, which adds to their overall "quality of life." When the VICTORS are able to recall working on a project or when they express admiration from their experience, we know without doubt that this program is bringing new joy and meaning into the lives of Lenbrook individuals.
 
Helen Hendricks is a Resident Engagement Supervisor at Lenbrook. She plans and implements annual programs, events and excursions to provide whole-person wellness opportunities for Lenbrook residents.