Journey of Dreams 2016 - Heading Back to the Bronx
Minnie Sutton, a resident at Bishop Wicke Health and Rehabilitation Center at Wesley Village, had dreamed of returning to her home in the Bronx, NY, for some time. But as she neared her 106th birthday, traveling back to the city was not something that she could simply “put on the calendar” and make happen. Thankfully the staff at Bishop Wicke Health and Rehabilitation Center had other plans!
During National Nursing Home Week, May 8th -14th , the skilled nursing community organized a week-long celebration which culminated with a special “spirit renewal” event. The event, entitled, “Welcome the Dream Weavers” included a gathering of residents, staff, family members, and guests and featured storytelling, discussion, refreshments, and entertainment, as well as a special surprise. Everyone who participated in the event was invited to share any memories about dreams, both those that have come true and those that have yet to be fulfilled. A vase of ribbon wands was the focal point of the event, with each ribbon representing a resident’s dream. The highlight of the event was a special surprise, which recognized resident, Minnie Sutton’s longtime dream. (Minnie would be turning 106 years old later in the month on May 27th .) Staff surprised Minnie with her dream come true, the chance to return to her childhood home in New York City one more time. Plans were made to chauffeur Minnie to her New York City neighborhood in the Bronx to see her old home and stop by a few favorite spots.
Bishop Wicke Recreation Director, Mary Barbin and her team helped to coordinate Minnie’s special day, recruiting the help of Wesley Village driver, Angelo Constantini. Mary and Angelo served as Minnie’s escorts for her trip, picking her up at 9:30 am on a warm and brilliantly sunny day, Wednesday, May 25th . They headed into the city and visited Minnie’s old neighborhood and her home on 4216 Oneida Avenue in the Bronx. “I’m back home,” Minnie said with a smile, as she sat beside the same stoop outside her old building.
They strolled along Arthur Avenue, where she used to shop, and later stopped at Woodlawn Cemetery, the burial ground where Minnie’s daughter was laid to rest. With the help of Mary and Angelo, Minnie was able to locate her daughter’s gravesite and have a moment of remembrance by the beautifully carved stone. “It was the very first time she had seen the gravesite; a special moment, for sure,” said Angelo.
Around noon, Minnie, Mary, and Angelo stopped for lunch at Pasquale’s Rigoletto Restaurant. When restaurant guests learned of Minnie’s special trip, they offered their best wishes for her upcoming birthday and even took a photos with her; one guest even sent over a glass of red wine! (Cheers to you, Minnie!) Before heading home, they stopped for cookies at a local bakery. “There is nothing like the cookies and pastries in New York,” said Minnie. She also picked up some imported cheese, a surprise gift for a friend back at Bishop Wicke.
Minnie and her escorts returned home to Bishop Wicke later that afternoon and staff from all over the building rushed to greet her and find out all about the trip. “To think that Minnie is nearly 106 years old is incredible. We are so happy we could make this dream come true for her. It was really a great day,” said Mary. Minnie enjoyed the day immensely. “I never could have imagined them doing anything more for me in my wildest dreams.”
Minnie’s dream is just one of many that have been fulfilled for residents at Wesley Village, the campus of senior living and care communities on which Bishop Wicke Health and Rehabilitation Center is located. The award-winning “Journey of Dreams” program was created on the campus to offer opportunities for personal growth and fulfillment of individual dreams. The program has enabled Wesley Village residents to fulfill some of their lifelong wishes by doing things like broadcasting the weather on the local news, baking apple pies at a nearby bakery, riding in a hot air balloon, and providing horse drawn carriage rides to residents. For more information about the program, visit http://www.umh.org/journey-of- dreams.
“Our mission and values and our focus on relationship-centered care plays a huge role in everything we do,” said Debra Samorajczyk, Administrator at Bishop Wicke Health and Rehabilitation Center. “Being able to fulfill the dreams of our residents is not only an expression of those values, but an opportunity to enrich the lives of our residents in a life-changing and unforgettable way. We are honored to be part of our residents’ stories.”
Wesley Village is a campus of senior living and care communities including Crosby Commons Independent/Assisted Living Community, Wesley Heights Independent/Assisted Living Apartments and Cottages, Lifestyle Transitions Memory Care, and Bishop Wicke Health and Rehabilitation Center. The campus, located at 580 Long Hill Avenue in Shelton, is owned and operated by United Methodist Homes (UMH), a local, mission-based, not-for- profit organization serving all members of the community. To learn more about the continuum of care offered at Wesley Village or the mission of UMH, please visit www.wesleyvillage-ct.org.