2012 Overview

Dayton’s Bluff Seniors Living at Home/Block Nurse Program 2012 Overview

by Rhonda Battisto, Executive Director

The year 2012 was eventful for us at Dayton’s Bluff Seniors Living at Home/Block Nurse program (DBS). Carolyn Heim was hired to be our new volunteer coordinator as four board members, appointed in late 2011, worked to gain familiarity with the organization while seeking to do irreparable good. Planning began for our first annual signature fundraiser, a spaghetti dinner and auction event. Held in April, it was a success due to the board working as a cohesive team with our director, Maryann Chowen, PHN. Generous donations of time, money and auction items were made by board members, volunteers, local businesses and community members.

Our fine team of complementary and alternative modality healers, coordinated by Rhonda Battisto, worked with dedication to provide healing services to low-income and homeless community members at Love Grows Here Wellness Center (LGH), held each week at First Lutheran Church. In addition to serving elders in their homes with a myriad of services, DBS weekly wellness clinics were well attended by seniors 65 and better, as well as disabled residents 55 years and up at Wilson Hi-Rise and Parkway Gardens Apartments. These clinics provided service learning opportunities to U of M Nursing School students during the school year. We learned and shared much information while collaborating with Conway- Battle Creek Block Nurse Program. Maryann, our founding director, resigned in May to return to full-time public health nursing at Healthcare for the Homeless. Tina Morgan became our service coordinator volunteer and webmistress – read her personal reflections on page 7 of this paper. Rhonda Battisto, board member and long-time volunteer healer with extensive retail and wholesale business experience, was hired as director in June. Her immediate challenges included filling vacant board positions, broadening volunteer recruitment and ensuring financial sustainability, while getting up-to-speed on nonprofit sector administration.

In late summer, several of our volunteer teams were growing; nurses, drivers, web designers, chore providers, office support, bookkeeping/accounting services and healers for LGH. In the fall, service learning teams of U of M nursing students worked with our seniors weekly. They provided wellness education and health care and monitoring to our appreciative elders while working with their professor and our volunteer RNs. By the end of the year, we’d served 139 seniors and many, many other community members in wellness clinics and the homes of seniors.

In addition to some city and county funding, we received funds from Otto Bremer Foundation, Stevens Square Foundation, and MN Philanthropy Partners in 2012. We are grateful to Maryann Chowen for her years of dedication and great work in our community; to First Lutheran Church for our rent-free office space and telephone/internet services; and to all of our supporters. We couldn’t possibly do what we do without our amazing and selfless volunteers. We are pleased that they choose to make a difference for our seniors! We approach 2013 with an eye toward increasing awareness of our program and the services we provide and expanding our services to include social opportunities for neighborhood seniors.