In the next few weeks, Babbling Brook readers, you can expect to see a series entitled “A Day in the Life.” These blog posts will focus specifically on a “typical” day for various Willow Brook employees across our campuses. For our very first installment we welcome Cassie to tell us a little bit about what she does in her role as Life Enrichment Coordinator at both of our Delaware campuses. Happy reading!
First of all, I’d like to say how blessed I am to be in my current occupation. I started working at Willow Brook in March of 2014, as a high school student serving in the Water’s Edge restaurant, almost exactly 9-years ago to the day. From there I continued to work in the Delaware Run culinary department while working to obtain my degree in History & Education from Ohio Wesleyan University. As I was searching for a teaching position, the Life Enrichment Coordinator position became available –I was intrigued! I was hired for the position in July 2021. While each day brings familiarity and consistency, it also brings spontaneity.
My job entails enriching the lives of our independent residents, through various events, activities, presentations, and bus trips at our two Delaware campuses, Willow Brook at Delaware Run and Willow Brook Christian Village. It is my goal to provide a balance of easy-going fun, such as Jeopardy-style trivia or Pictionary, while also providing and emphasizing activities that create cognitive and physical stimulus among our residents. This could mean scheduling an intellectual presentation given by an Ohio Wesleyan professor or an engaging exercise program that focuses on performance optimization, balance, and breathing techniques.
Each month has recurring activities and events such as, Flex & Balance (one of the exercise class options), Bingo with fabulous prizes, and Billiards. And I keep these in mind when creating the monthly activities calendars. Of course, there are additional programs month-to-month as well, including but not limited to, concerts and performers, bus trips, museum visits, lunch outings, sporting events, and various educational and informative programs. One of our resident favorites is the six-week summer concert series at Gallant Woods Park (affiliated with the Preservation Parks of Delaware County). Once a week for those six-weeks in the summer, I drive a bus of residents to the concerts. Each concert is a different genre of music and our residents enjoy the variety as well as the camaraderie of being with one another –plus, sometimes we get ice cream after the concerts! Each month brings new and exciting moments, which turn into fond memories and remind me why I hold Willow Brook so near and dear to my heart.
But of course, my job is not limited to these ventures alone. Each day also includes meetings, office work and coordination, promotion and publicizing activities and events, diffusing issues or concerns, and building rapport with staff and residents at both of our Delaware campuses (I split my time between the two campuses as evenly as possible, but occasionally it will vary from week-to-week based on the activities scheduled for the week).
While I could sit here and explain my day-to-day work schedule, bouncing back-and-forth between the two campuses, I would rather tell you about what makes my job so special. The activities are fun and engaging, but it is the residents and fellow staff members who make it phenomenal and remind me why I love to come into work each day. Residents become your friend –and unofficial grandparents. Staff members become as close as family, make you laugh until your belly hurts, and come alongside you as a team. They both genuinely care and are curious and invested in how you are doing. They give reassurance, wisdom, advice, and insight. They encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone and follow your heart.
Through my work at Willow Brook thus far, I have grown as a person –I am more confident now than I was as an unsure 18-year old. As I continue to grow and learn in this position, I know that I have a forever support system that is the Willow Brook family, and is irreplaceable and invaluable. Now on to the next fun activity I’ve got planned for you –Let’s Go!