Looking Back and Moving Forward
Like most great ideas they sometimes start by chance. Just three people sitting around having coffee and discussing how they could make things better for seniors in care homes. It was like lightening struck us all at the same time while our thoughts and ideas starting surfacing. And so, the story began…. Slowly these thoughts and ideas were implemented throughout the care home at that time, Laurel Place.
Together the three founding members, Linda Fernholm, Patrick Doyle and Janet Isherwood, started looking at sensory tools and felt this was where we had to start.
We started working with Troy Hutchinson and Daryl Langridge, both from Associated Health Systems, helping them understanding what needed to be done.
First, we needed a name and together settled on the Lark Angels Foundation.
Our dream was to turn the care home into a sensory home, but that required money. Janet started with a Winter Craft Fair in 2016 then moved to a summer Health & Wellness Fair the following year, then finally to their biggest fundraiser in the fall of 2017, the Black Tie Gala. This gala opened many doors to giving our foundation a start.
Jodie Blaney, a Vancouver Artist, encouraged all her artist friends to hold an Art Auction one afternoon, followed in the evening with a Black-Tie Gala, with Steve Elliot, a talented Elvis impersonator, keeping everyone entertained. Jodie & her artist friends raised almost $4,000 that evening, giving the LAF a good beginning. It was also our introduction to the Telus Ambassadors, as they volunteered for our event.
Although we started in September 2016, the LAF charity was not officially formed until January 2nd 2018, opening up new adventures. Creating a Charitable Foundation was a challenge, yet 18 months later, we happily received our certification as a charitable organization, allowing the foundation to offer tax receipts for funds donated.
Attending one of our Black-Tie Galas was Nadine Jans, MSc Clinical and Health Psychology. As she spoke, the guests turned silent, for her words woke everyone up as to the needs of seniors with dementia, how they react, why they do what they do, and how we, as caregivers, could help. Her speech was so powerful, it touched the hearts of all attendees, moving Surrey’s Larry Fisher, President and owner of the Lark Group, to donate $10,000 to the foundation.
In 2020, LAF received a donation of $15,000 from Kirk Fisher, P. Eng. MBA, Executive Officer at HealthTech Connex, forming a partnership with the LAF and soon to open the first Multi-sensory room, here in Surrey, BC, under the care and direction of Sonia Brodie, MSc, CCRP.
The Lark Angels Foundation is a charitable organization, primarily dedicated to improving the lives of our Senior Population, especially those living with Dementia. They aim to provide sensory stimulation rooms accessible to Seniors living with dementia within their community.
As an advocate for seniors with Dementia and Director & COO for the Lark Angels Foundation, I, Janet Isherwood, speak often of Multi-Sensory Stimulation, and we, as a foundation, are working hard to open the first Multi-Sensory room here in Surrey, BC.
In June 2020, LAF was happy to accept a donation of $2956 for the foundation and continued support for the foundation by the Telus Ambassadors. There are about 150 retired Telus employees who make up the Telus Ambassadors and their hard work and dedication to seniors supplies the foundation with bibs, sensory mats, lap blankets, and bed blankets to help make our sensory baskets for seniors with dementia.
LAF Sensory Baskets. These baskets are made up from donations, not only by our Telus Ambassadors, but by the many volunteers who support us in our Winter Craft Fairs and Spring Health & Wellness Fairs. These small businesses donate hand warmers, exercise balls, toques, baskets, and sensory animals, which are all part of the sensory bag packages.
2020 has been a sad year for all, as we adjust to the new rules and safe conduct expected of us. The LAF had to cancel the planned spring Health & Wellness Fair. The September 25th Black Tie Gala 2020 was held online, narrated by Mike Starchuk, with speakers Nadine Jans MSC, Troy Hutchinson, and Sonia Brodie MSC . A silent auction was held, gathering funds in support of sensory rooms. Pictures and videos can be viewed at https://larkangelsfoundation.org/2020-black-tie-gala-online-event/. With the cancellation of the LAF Winter Craft Fair, scheduled for November 21, another fundraiser for the Lark Angels Foundation in 2020 was lost.
Currently, we reflect on our senior community, especially our seniors with Dementia. The lack of conversation, no visitors or family visits….it is now more that ever that we see the need for multi sensory rooms. 1 in 11 Canadians over the age of 65 has Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia.
Most of us have visited care homes/facilities, where one can find people with Dementia lost, alone, agitated, sun downing, and scared. Now, the Lark Angels Foundation wants to change that, by building Sensory Stimulation rooms that offer a tranquil, stimulating, calm, and safe environment for those with Dementia.
There have been, in the past, many thoughts and ideas carried out in this area of dementia care, but now technology and the future have crossed paths, opening the five senses of stimulation with sensory rooms.
The LAF now more that ever relies on donations as our only means of fundraising and so, we are holding a Toonie Challenge as an additional fundraiser, and participants can send their accumulated donations via Interac email transfer to email@example.com or by arranging to drop them off. Watch Today’s Senior News Magazine as well Global Events Calendar and our own as LAF Website for further updates on upcoming events and opportunities to support and participate in reaching our goals.
Together, let us all welcome Lena Elrick, our LAF Web Designer, as our newest Director with the Lark Angels Foundation. Congratulations Lena, you have been an integral part of our foundation and we are excited to have you on board.
Founder, Director & COO
Lark Angels Foundation