Wellness Collaborative is about ‘neighbors helping neighbors’

Information and photos submitted by Rhonda Stock

The word is getting out! The Wellness Collaborative (WC) has only been around for a short time, but boasts a cadre of volunteers ready and willing to help their Big Canoe neighbors with referrals, food, transportation, and friendly visiting.

Pam Mengert shared her experiences with BC Visits which supported her father who lives in a nursing home while she and her husband took a much needed vacation.

Pam Mengert shared her experiences with BC Visits which supported her father who lives in a nursing home while she and her husband took a much needed vacation.

On the other side of the coin, many Big Canoe residents have been the recipients of caring neighbors who want to help out when illness, disability, or difficulty strikes. Big Canoe has always been a giving community, and this generous spirit now expands within our own gates through the Collaborative.

The WC board recently held their second volunteer forum, followed by the annual Wine and Cheese reception to thank program volunteers for their support of the BC Info, BC Meals, BC Rides and BC Visits programs.

The forum provided an opportunity for the 50 attendees to hear program updates, and also give the WC steering committee feedback on their experiences to date. In addition, two recipients of the BC Visits program spoke about their experiences with the program.

Big Canoe resident Pam Mengert talked about relying on BC Visits to provide companionship for her father, resident in a Jasper nursing home, while she and her husband took a much needed vacation.

Judith Persing gives a hug of thanks to Carol Mastroianni, one of the BC Visits volunteers who visited Judith's husband Tom recently.

Judith Persing gives a hug of thanks to Carol Mastroianni, one of the BC Visits volunteers who visited Judith’s husband Tom recently.

Judith Persing called on BC Visits to provide respite for herself and husband Tom, who is dealing with several health issues and needs constant oversight. Both ladies talked candidly about the challenges they face every day as caregivers. They also expressed their sincere appreciation to the volunteers who provided the services, and to the community for supporting this much needed program.

We also heard from two volunteers, Barb Henry and Rob Ricklef, about their experiences as drivers for the BC Rides program.

When caring folks gather, creative ideas flow and one idea discussed during the forum was the development of a caregiver seminar to provide support and assistance to the many caregivers in our community. Much work needs to be done to develop and implement this idea, but most agreed it would be a welcome program.

Sometimes it’s hard to ask for assistance, but so many in Big Canoe want to help others, especially neighbors in need. The four parts of the Wellness Collaborative, BC Info, BC Meals, BC Rides, and BC Visits are fully explained when you visit bcwell.org, the official site for the Wellness Collaborative. Or, residents are welcome to call (706) 268-3334 for a friendly chat to learn about services offered.

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