While this is a nationally recognized week honoring Shelly Estes and her peers, she took the opportunity to thank the people who make her job easier.
Estes is the activity director at Cherry Village Benevolence, a non-profit short- and long-term-care facility at 1401 Cherry Lane. She and others around the country are observing National Activity Professionals Week, Jan. 21-27.
“I get a lot of support from our residents and their families,” Estes said. “And my co-workers are amazing. They are always willing to help because they realize the importance of activities for everyone here.”
During the Christmas season, everyone pitched in to help with several events. These included: Santa Claus handing out presents to all 56 residents; a holiday dinner that was prepared on site for approximately 200 residents and guests; and visitors from schools and churches who sang Christmas carols and/or played music.
“These events wouldn’t be possible without our staff,” Estes said. “There are a lot of logistics involved to make them successful. And Cherry Village came through once again.”
While Estes schedules special events for every holiday, she doesn’t neglect the day-to-day need for activities.
“We have multiple activities every day,” she commented. “There are socials, bingo and game time. And we love it when young people visit our residents.”
Estes encourages members of the community to participate in events any time. “I will work our schedule around anyone who wants to volunteer their time. We will adapt to them because community involvement is so important here.”
Estes noted activities increase socialization, which is key to the health and well being of Cherry Village residents.
“We do all we can to keep minds and bodies active,” she explained. “For example, we do chair exercises every morning to increase arm and leg strength. And everyone loves our kickball game.
“Exercises and activities keep our residents motivated to interact with one another and with visitors.”
Erin Lewis, Cherry Village marketing director, said Estes is a valuable asset to residents and their families.
“Shelly truly cares about the people who live here and their visitors,” Lewis said. “She is enthusiastic and compassionate, and puts a lot of time and effort into everything she does.”
A local family has operated Cherry Village since it opened in 1978. It is a non-profit facility.