Showing posts with label Volunteerism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Volunteerism. Show all posts

Sunday, September 23, 2012

This and That and Some Knitting

Something new for fall decoration, cheap, colorful and making the living room smile with cheeriness: colorful plastic acorns.  Now really, don't they look like glass?  You, too, can have them for mere pennies and they are available at Michael's.

The Mr. and I attended two fun events this week. One was a picnic for Hospice of Western Colorado volunteers with a beach party theme.

And the pictures are of the Mr., and friend Mary who was a whiz at hoola hooping.  You can figure out who is who.

Libby Sweetpea is actually the Therapy Dog International volunteer for Hospice and I just drive her around to make her visits with hospice patients. It was the thought on the day of the picnic to leave her home because it would have actually been work for her to greet people, let them pet her, coo over her, and she would have had to be on her best behavior.  So she got the day off after working for four years for Hospice, and we allowed her to sleep in

while her driver enjoyed some picnic food of pork loin.

Then last night was the Gala Event for Community Hospital with the Moulin Rouge theme.  Proceeds ...errr...profits from the gala will be used to buy defibrillator units for our local schools.

On the needles this week is the Broken Rib Cowl:

and these baby booties (except my yarn is pink):
 with the pattern found here.

Thank you for reading my blog.  Thank you for submitting comments; they are very much appreciated.  And thank you all new followers. Please take a visit to these newest followers and say a friendly hello: The Shop Around the Corner, Merione, and Diana Evans.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

CASA for Children

Eighteen months ago, I became a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children and wrote a post about it HERE.

This past week I took on another case, and while at the CASA office I found this writing:


We speak for a CHILD 
who wears shoes that are too small
whose nightmares are a reality
who never heard of Mickey Mouse
whose parents ran away

We are the voice of a child
who feels at fault
who lives in fear of daddy coming home
who wonders what it's like to have a friend
who only eats when food can be found

We listen to the children
who don't know what truth is
who are in constant need of a hug
who find freedom only on a swing
who believe they are the parent.

Together we work to make a difference

It was good enough to share. Please think about volunteering your efforts.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Preemie Hats - Let's Make Some!

From a blog called Calvin's Hats, the purpose of creating tiny baby preemie hats is summarized here:

Calvin's Hats is offering to grieving parents a gift which can bring a small amount of comfort and peace... a hat tiny enough to fit right on their precious child's head and something to hold on to when their child is no longer here.
Our wish is for these hats to bring a small amount of healing."
A couple of weeks ago, Raveler Annie said this:
When Calvin's Hats first started in February of 2009, it was with the hope that we could provide some hats to families who were leaving the hospital with empty arms. We had one knitter (Sarah DuVal) and a website with a limit of 3 pages. We were sending out one or two hats per month and thrilled to be blessing those families.

About 6 months ago, something changed. I'm really not sure what it w as that spurred it on, but our goal of getting hats into hospitals was finally working. Since that point, we've sent out a large number of hats. ... but never once has my hat drawer been completely empty. I don't suppose tiny knit hats can really compare to the Bible story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 with a couple loaves of bread, but that's how it feels sometimes.
If you want more information about Calvin's Hat , Annie's blog can be found here, along with some easy preemie hat patterns.

Here is my first finished hat that took only 90 minutes to complete.  It would fit on a tangerine.

Monday, June 6, 2011

CASA and a Fundraiser at Tiara Rado and Boston's Pizza

Back in November, I became a CASA and posted here about it.
Court Appointed Special Advocates of Mesa County (CASA-MC), recruits, screens, and trains volunteers to speak in court on behalf of children who are abused, neglected or abandoned by their families. These volunteers are the eyes and ears of the Judge. Judges, make the final decision of where a child will live. Will the child be returned to the parent or will parental rights be terminated and the child be placed for adoption. This decision is influenced by the information the volunteer provides to a Judge and could be a major determining factor in the future of that child.
Casa means home, but for thousands of abused and neglected children, it's an acronym that has even more meaning – it's the best chance of finally finding safe, permanent homes where they can thrive.
This morning will be my 15th session of either meeting with caregivers and case workers or being in court to represent my little kiddo in need of foster care.  My partner in CASA and I have created a one inch file of documentation on "our child" so far!  (His foster parents are doing a great job with the kiddo, by the way.)
From the KKCO website:
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO)_11News and Boston's the Gourmet Pizza are teaming up for two great fundraisers to benefit abused and neglected children in Mesa County.
First join 11News this Saturday at Tiara Rado for the 7th Annual CASA Golf Tournament. There's still time to register by calling 242-4191. It's $300 a team or $75 a person. It's an 8am shotgun start.

Then on Wednesday, June 8, join the 11News team at Boston's as the anchors and reporters serve up lunch from 11am to 2pm.
Boston's will also 15 percent of its proceeds for the day to Court Appointed Special Advocates.

Help 11News and Boston's make sure no child's voice goes unheard.
This Wednesday, June 8, Boston's Pizza in Grand Junction is giving a portion of their profits to CASA. If you are not a golfer, at least come out and have lunch or a drink and join the KKCO team in supporting CASA!

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Rainbow Project to Aid Japan

Help support Japan by contributing a picture of a rainbow and a cash donation to The Rainbow Project:
A rainbow is pure magic. Through The Rainbow Project you can share this magic and at the same time help others.
By uploading your own photograph of a rainbow and making a donation, you will connect with communities around the world. Each photograph that is uploaded will become part of unified rainbow and as we go along, these images will be collaged together, forming one harmonious rainbow that represents cosmic solidarity.
Donations made to The Rainbow Project will be allocated directly to Civic Force and Peace Winds Japan. Our goal is to share this project with as many people as possible! As the rainbow grows on the site, so will The Rainbow Project.

1. UPLOAD a picture (.jpg format) of a rainbow. Please include your name, email and location of the photo in the form provided, as well as in the file name of the upload (ex. jane-smith-usa.jpg).

2. DONATE via Paypal to The Rainbow Project. Donate any amount you can afford. Your photo will appear on this site within 24 hours of confirmation of your donation
MSN is doing their part through community involvement while
•Continuing to work with customers, local government, inter-government and nonprofit agencies to support relief efforts. This includes offering free incident support and free temporary software licenses to all impacted customers and partners as well as lead governments, nonprofit partners and institutions involved in disaster response efforts.
•Offering Windows Azure, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Lync Online at no cost for 90 days to help them resume operations more quickly while their existing systems return to normal.

•Providing a cloud-based disaster response communications portal, based on Windows Azure, to governments and nonprofits to enable them to communicate between agencies and directly with citizens.

•Supporting customers directly and providing localized tools such as the Outlook/Windows Live Hotmail rolling blackout calendar. The Microsoft Japan team is also working with partners to create local applications such as J!ResQ, which helps people to find family and friends and aids relief efforts.

•Mobilizing our online properties to help provide information and drive donations. Bing, MSN, MSNBC and are all promoting links to relief efforts and our corporate disaster response page. Xbox Live is running PSAs for the American Red Cross, a new Bing Maps tool has been released to support relief agencies, and MSN has launched its Stand with Japan site.


Help Japan, Buy Needlepoint
Block Prints for Japan
all have lovely items for sale to help in the disaster relief.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hospice and Knitting: The Beat Goes On

A new group is starting up tonight at our local hospice (Hospice & Palliative Care of Western Colorado) where I volunteer.  The group is "Knit & Chat" for both staff and volunteers.  It will be a chance to socialize, knit and gain information to help with patient care.

In 2010, the Education Department at hospice offered Online Education.  I completed a course in one day entitled "Because You Never Died Before".  Great information, excellent speakers, and a quick test at the end.  I'll be taking more online courses this year.  We will likely chat about some of the new online offerings while we knit.

This is my current knitting project, still on the needles, and found here on Ravelry.  It is the Norwegian Scarf found at Silvia Harding Knit Design.  The yarn is laceweight, 100% silk, hand dyed, purchased in London in October.  About another month of intermittent knitting, and it should be finished. This Norwegian Scarf is what I'll be working on tonight at the Knit & Chat group.

This  is the Bandito scarf I finished on Sunday.  It was an easy pattern with good stitch definition, and I'll definitely be making more scarves from the Bandito pattern (free).

And back to hospice: if you have ever thought about volunteering at your hospice, now is the time.  It is truly a rewarding experience.

Friday, January 7, 2011

How to Make an Envelope Laptop Bag

My new little HP netbook needed some padding to protect it when it is carried.  So an internet search on how to make a laptop cover came up with a LOT of information about how to craft one.  A detailed yet applicable site I found for my needs was here at Instructables.  But it sure looked like a lot of trouble.

Modifying the materials of what was needed to make my laptop case sans cardboard, foam padding and buckles, this is the resulting list of necessary items for an envelope case:
1/2 yard of quilted fabric (quilted material takes the place of extra padding)
Sewing machine
Thread, scissors, velcro and adhesive for velcro
This is a picture of a laptop pattern from Instructables (you can go there and look through all those instructions):

But all I really needed was a sort of "envelope" for the netbook. And I wanted to make it look sharp, updated and personalized.

In comes a small piece of needlepoint that my mother completed in the 70's.  Finally, I found a use for this piece that would be just right for using on the front of the case:

8" x 6"

And I bought a half yard of this quilted Amy Butler fabric for the casing from the local fabric store:

Also, I found a previously used leather identification tag to adhere to the back of the case.  In my notions stash was an old ribbon belt just the right colors to match the quilted fabric. That ribbon belt is actually old enough to be called vintage! So the belt was cut up and used for the front and back closing flap finishing.

This is the resulting envelope laptop case that was quickly sewn with right sides together, taking into account the 10 inch by 7 inch by 1 inch size of the HP netwook (the needlepoint was appliqued on by machine).

This is the back of the case showing the id tag, velcro closing, and belted ribbon for extra jazz:

Final picture of the back of the case with flap closed:

Better get cracking and quit playing with my new laptop because Libby needs her face washed, needs her walk, and then must get dressed for her hospital "therapy" visitations today.  (Her dog master even bought her a new purple leash and lead to match our purple hospital volunteer vests!)

handmade projects

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

CASA - Court Appointed Special Advocates

Long time friend Sharon in Dallas encouraged me to pursue CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) volunteerism this summer when we visited over iced tea and salads.  I had been thinking of this for some time, knowing the great need for CASA volunteers in Mesa County, Colorado.  But Sharon spurred me on to start the process of child advocacy due to her commitment as a Dallas County CASA.
Here is more about CASA in Mesa County from their website:and from the Dallas Morning News:
Court Appointed Special Advocates of Mesa County (CASA-MC), recruits, screens, and trains volunteers to speak in court on behalf of children who are abused, neglected or abandoned by their families. These volunteers are the eyes and ears of the Judge. Judges, make the final decision of where a child will live. Will the child be returned to the parent or will parental rights be terminated and the child be placed for adoption. This decision is influenced by the information the volunteer provides to a Judge and could be a major determining factor in the future of that child.
Casa means home, but for thousands of abused and neglected children, it's an acronym that has even more meaning – it's the best chance of finally finding safe, permanent homes where they can thrive.
A CASA volunteer performs these functions on behalf of the child who comes under the court system because of neglect or abuse:
  • investigates the needs and situation of the child...
  • has regular, in-person contact with the child sufficient to have in-depth knowledge of the case
  • makes fact-based recommendations to the court
  • seeks cooperative solutions by acting as a facilitator among conflicting parties
  • advocates for the best interest of the child, including providing reports that include findings and recommendations
  • files interim court reports of important developments in the case
  • advocates for the child's interests in the community by interfacing with mental health, educational and other community systems to assure that the child's needs in these areas are met
  • monitors implementation of service plans and court orders, assuring that court-ordered services are implemented in a timely manner and that review hearing are held in accordance with the law
  • participates in all scheduled case conferences with supervisory staff
  • participates in in-service training
  • maintains complete records about the case, including appointments, interviews and information gathered ab out the child and the child's life circumstances
  • records volunteer hours and submits times sheet to program office
  • maintains strict confidentiality on all cases
  • complies with all applicable statutory requirements pertaining to confidentiality of client information  (from volunteer training manual)
This list may look exhaustive, but as with other worthwhile efforts, much satisfaction can be derived from giving of your time and talents.

 To whom much is given is much required. [Luke 12:48

John F Kennedy : For of those to whom much is given, much is required. And when at some future date the high court of history sits in judgment on each of us recording whether in our brief span of service we fulfilled our responsibilities to the state our success or failure, in whatever office we hold, will be measured by ...

More than a dozen of us will be sworn in as CASA representatives on November 15, 2010 by the Honorable David Bottger, Chief Judge of the 21st Judicial District in Mesa County, Colorado.

In Mesa County, contact 970-242-4191 or email to for further information about how you might become a CASA advocate. (Children from birth to six years of age are the age group under the "expedited permanency planning process" in most states.)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Art Submission to Heirlooms for Hospice

Taking color highlighting to heart, and working more on the Red Claret Day Lily painting taken from this snapshot I took a year ago at an Aukland, New Zealand arboretum... the artwork continues.

This is the piece (after highlighting and a few more brush strokes) I will be submitting to Hospice next week:

Next month, in conjunction with the Grand Junction Visitor and Convention Bureau "Arts, Hearts & Tarts" program, Heirlooms for Hospice will be hosting an art sale to benefit Hospice and Palliative Care of Western Colorado.  Anyone who donates art to Hospice will become a member of the Hospice Art Guild.

Again, art submissions will be released for future use in the creation of cards or other applications, always providing credit to the artist.  Artists have until January 29, 2010 to submit their art donations to Heirlooms for Hospice to be included in this year's February Arts, Hearts & Tarts program. (All art sales benefit our local Hospice.)  The Arts, Hearts & Tarts program will occur in February, 2010 in Grand Junction, CO.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Arts, Hearts & Tarts in Grand Junction

Instead of starting a new painting project at the beginning of the year, I decided to dust off some previous oil paintings and make improvements to them.

For instance, here is The Poinsettia (an original 16" x 20"oil which I supposedly finished in 2006) that hung over our fireplace last month during the Christmas holiday season:
 (before tweaking)

After spending most of the morning and all the afternoon painting with friend Shirley last week, and with her helpful critique, more highlighting in yellows and oranges was added to the leaves. The center stamen was also expanded.  IMHO, this tweaked painting has more life to it:

(after tweaking)

This honing, sharpening and refining of the painting process  has led me to believe that there are a few more oils finished in my oeuvre that I'll need to review for additional brush and color work.

Next month, in conjunction with the Grand Junction Visitor and Convention Bureau "Arts, Hearts & Tarts" program, Heirlooms for Hospice will be hosting an art sale to benefit Hospice and Palliative Care of Western Colorado.  Anyone who donates art to Hospice will become a member of the Hospice Art Guild.  Art submissions will be released for future use in the creation of cards or other applications, always providing credit to the artist.

Hmm...which piece should I choose, perhaps tweak, and then donate for the art sale?  Artists have until January 29, 2010 to submit their art donations to Heirlooms for Hospice to be included in this year's February  Arts, Hearts & Tarts program.  (All art sales benefit our local Hospice.)
Again, it is for a good cause, and it should be fun!  (I'll start this week on polishing up another oil work for Arts, Hearts & Tarts.)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Anne Taintor: Thanks for the Picture

Today is a pretty full day of volunteering for me, so craft projects are on hold.

This picture from the 2009 Engagement Calendar (Anne Taintor) says it all:

But in another vein of awareness, here are some truisms:

How lovely to think that no one need wait a moment: we can start now, start slowly changing the world! How lovely that everyone, great and small, can make a contribution toward introducing justice straight away. Anne Frank


When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die. Eleanor Roosevelt

Learn to lead in a nourishing manner.
Learn to lead without being possessive.
Learn to be helpful without taking the credit.
Learn to lead without coercion. Lao Tzu, philosopher

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Paper Beads used in Earrings

In yesterday's posting about making paper beads with instructions given by Instructables, I wrote about how to use magazines for cut-outs and showed pictures of the glued papers.

Here are pictures of some of the completed earrings made with paper beads, glass, spacers and wires.

These are some of the earrings now sold at the Wooden Horse Gift Shop

...managed by the St. Mary's Hospital Auxiliary, the Wooden Horse Gift shop features a variety of "get well" gifts including flowers, cards, stuffed animals, and novelty items. The gift shop is located on the hospital main floor across from the Columbine Cafe.

Proceeds from sales of gift items go to St. Mary's Hospital. They are priced at $10 a pair.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Therapy Dog at Work

In May of 2008, Libby Sweetpea was discussed in her training as a therapy dog at a local nursing facility. And again, in June, Libby was featured in this post: therapy-dog-now-certified.

Now she has gone to work as a certified Therapy Dog and this is Libby's Video, complete with the background song "Shiftwork", made popular by Kenny Chesney. Libby is shown at St. Mary's Hospital and The Grand Junction Regional Center in this video. She and mom also visit with hospice patients.

Click here to see a working dog: Libby's Work Day.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Volunteer Appreciation Photos

Over the past week, the organizations with which I volunteer sponsored some creative and enjoyable events.

On Saturday and Sunday, Western Colorado Hospice and Palliative Care hosted their annual Luncheon and Style Show to benefit the Children and Teen Programs. Table Hostess Karen Madsen is shown in one of the slide show photos. Thanks for your invitation, Karen! (All the clothes were lovely, and the models looked and danced sensationally!)

An appreciation afternoon tea for over 325 volunteers on November 18 at the Doubletree Hotel sponsored by St. Mary's Medical Center.

November 24 was a luncheon for social workers and patient care volunteers, again hosted by Western Colorado Hospice and Palliative Care. This was a time when staff and volunteer patient caregivers had a time to share ideas on the new patient care model which the hospice has recently implemented. About 50 employees and volunteers attended.

Monday, November 10, 2008

November is National Hospice Month; Veterans' Day Appreciation

All of us must face grief in our lives. Coping with grief is a topic which I have been researching lately because it has hit so close to home in these past months.

Grief comes in many forms, not only in the loss of a loved one through death, but also in the form of other significant losses. Loss of a job, a relationship, an income, our youth, good health, and even the realization of losing unreached expectations can all be forms of deep loss.

There are online support groups for loss who have experienced loss, such as Grief Net, “where grace happens” and Grief Recovery, dedicated to grief loss and recovery. There are community based programs dealing with grief, such as Western Colorado Hospice and Palliative Care Program, with which I am proudly associated.

Last month I completed 30 hours of volunteer training for this group, and look forward to working in the patient care setting for this organization either at the inpatient care center, in private homes, or in nursing homes. Our local hospice has over 300 volunteers, which is a real tribute to our giving community.

From Gifts of Grief, a 52 minutes film can be ordered:
The Gifts of Grief asks a timely important question - How do we transform the tragedy of our losses into a life altering experience that deepens and enriches our lives?...We explore the possibility that grief while very painful, it is one of the closely guarded keys to true transformation and joy.
In a previous post Certified Therapy Dog, and also here at Therapy Dog in Nursing Facility, Libby Sweetpea has been highlighted as a helper dog. She will continue to help me at our local hospice.

An excellent video which I watched over the weekend, entitled "Wounded Warriors", gave helpful information about dealing with war veterans as they face their own mortality and deaths. Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was high on the list for acute awareness in dealing with those who have been engaged in our armed forces, and especially those who have faced battle.

Grief issues addressed to Vietnam veterans are covered succinctly in an article at this Australian supported site A Digger and a Bloke. The article is much too long to quote in this post, but it is worth reading for the enlightenment factor of what veterans often face when dealing with PTSD.

Thank you, veterans, for your service. Thank you, all hospices world-wide, in sensitively dealing with end of life issues.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Orientation at Hospice and Palliative Care of Western Colorado

The last three days of my life were spent in twenty-six hours of volunteer orientation for Hospice. They were intense hours investigating hospice, from the origin of the concept right down to the brass tacks of our local community-wide effort to help people manage …“physical, psychosocial and spiritual symptoms resulting in optimal comfort and quality of life for persons impacted by a serious illness.” In essence, that is the explanation of Palliative Care and Hospice, according to a handout given during the learning session (from Hospice and Palliative Care of Western Colorado, 2008).

(See previous post about Cups, the coffee house owned and operated by Hospice of Western Colorado.)

Briefly highlighted in this orientation were teaching lessons and interactive activities including:
Hospice Pioneers and its History, Missions and Vision; Serving our Communities, Living our Values, Critical Thinking, Self Care, Therapeutic Communication, Safety Issues, Ethics and Boundaries, Advanced Concepts of Grief, Interdisciplinary Care Planning, Spiritual Care, Communication Activities, Introduction to Grief, Organizational Ethics, HIPAA and Information Technology
As you might think, much information was covered in three days.

To obtain a more complete view of our local hospice, visit Hospice of Western Colorado. The website is extensive and gives lots of information.

One exercise I thought was most valuable during the orientation session concerned "loss". The result of the teaching and completion of the questionnaire helped portray just an inkling of what true loss might mean when facing the end of life.

Here is the exercise: a five square by five square grid was filled out by each participant. The squares were to be filled (left to right) with five items or concepts regarded as ...

Most Prized or Useful Material Possession;
Most Important Activities;
Favorite Places, e.g., nature ;
Most Valued Body Parts;
5 Beloved Relationships in Your Life
With the toss of a die, and each player enabled to toss the die, grids were X’d out as the numbers fell. One by one, a prized possession, a life activity, a favorite place, a body part or a beloved relationship was lost to the roll of the die. You see where this is going?

After thirty minutes of dice rolling, half of the valued concepts were gone. Actually, more than half were gone, by implication. If one of your valued body parts such as your eyes were lost to the toss of the dice, then your car (a prized possession) would also be lost, since you would no longer be able to drive. One loss compounds other losses.

Here is my grid.
I found this an exercise which made me even more grateful for those privileges that I am currently allowed.

Why not complete this same mental exercise, fill in the squares, and think about your own gifts and mercies? I guarantee it is an eye opener.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Cups Coffee House

Cups, sponsored by Hospice and Palliative Care of Western Colorado, operates a lovely coffee house at the Old Miller Homestead on North 12th Street. The menu selection of coffees, teas and assorted pastries are an attractive offering to the homey atmosphere.

Cups Coffee House says:

Cups is the first of its kind in the Grand Valley! All proceeds from Cups will directly support the Hospice Child & Teen Center. Staffed by volunteers and one manager, Cups offers fair trade coffees and a variety of pastries. For more information on the coffee house or to become a volunteer, please call 970-623-9665.
A group of my friends sometimes meet at Cups for coffee and a chat. Here they are enjoying some free trade coffee:

The coffee and pastries, clean-up and service is offered by volunteers who generously donate their time. Tips are welcome, as the sign on the jar indicates, but all monies go to Camp Good Grief, a berievement program for children who have experienced the loss of a parent or caregiver. This program is also sponsored by Hospice and Palliative Care of Western Colorado.