Bessie’s Hope: Bringing Generations Together
Celebrating Its 25Th Year Of Building Bridges Of Love ~
The Work of Bessie’s Hope: Across the country, over 60% of nursing home elders receive NO personal visitors. As a second grader told Bessie’s Hope, “They deserve friends…just like we do!”
Bessie’s Hope is a rare nonprofit, addressing this sad statistic with proactive solutions. Last year, the organization served just under 2,000 elders in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. During its 25 years, Bessie’s Hope has served over 50,000 elders and youth of all ages, many of whom are from “at-risk” groups and residential treatment centers for teens with behavioral issues. Not only is Bessie’s Hope filling a void in the lives of many forgotten elders, it’s transforming the lives of so many youth. Both populations feel valued and needed by the other.
Bessie’s Hope has won two prestigious national awards, one from Generations United as a “Program of Distinction,” and the other, the “Points of Light Award.” Key to the organization’s high-quality intergenerational work are the education and training, so that youth and adult volunteers can have comfortable, meaningful interaction with elders of all cognitive functioning levels.
At the core of Bessie’s Hope are compassion, empathy and respect. In addition to the youth volunteer program, Bessie’s Hope provides the same education and facilitation for adult groups, families and individuals. There is a program just right for you, your family, church, club or workplace, and there’s an elder waiting just for you!
This winter, through the Bessie’s Hope “Dreams Can Still Come True Program”, May Alm, a 103-yr. old decorated WWII Army nurse and former avid skier, took to the slopes again. In our culture, where there is often the notion that the older a person becomes, the less they become, the youth at Bessie’s Hope know that the opposite is true: the older a person becomes, the more they become. Ageism is eradicated within Bessie’s Hope Land, where the elders are recognized as resources of vast knowledge and wisdom from that which comes only with time—life experiences.
In their 25th year, Bessie’s Hope has launched another solution, this time for another societal issue, the critical shortage of workers in long term care. High school students explore the many jobs and career paths within geriatrics and long term care through the “School-to-Career Work Force Development for Long Term Care Initiative.” Because the Bessie’s Hope youth demonstrate a respect and empathy for the elders and enjoy spending time with them, it just made sense to the Bessie’s Hope co-founders to introduce these compassionate youth to the idea of a career that serves their “Grandfriends”. At the youth visits, available 7 days/nights a week, you’ll see the youth intently listening to the wonderful stories of another era. The ripple effect of Bessie’s Hope strengthens the very fabric of our society. A high school girl remarked, “It’s amazing how easy it is to make the elders so happy.”
For information about the Bridge of Love Gala or about getting involved with the work, call 303-830-9037 or visit www.bessieshope.org.