Hello. Today is Give to the Max Day. I’m sure you’ve seen your inbox is inundated, and you’ve seen it on billboards around town, about Give to the Max today, which is a big deal for a lot of nonprofits here in the Minnesota area and in your communities. But nonetheless, hopefully you received our snail mail or internet email e-newsletter. Our Facebook marketing I’m sharing with you. Give to the Max, and the opportunity today to try to reach $10,000 with us. As you know, as you might know, I should say, we have this wonderful opportunity right now with the $50,000 matching donor up till Thanksgiving Day. So I think it’s awesome that Give to the Max falls right in the middle of that opportunity, and so I really encourage you to, if you can today, reach out and take a moment and push that button to give a donation to us.

Today, I was doing some training with some of our new employees that were onboarding some new nursing aides, and one of the things I do with them is kind of talk about environment, how to be a listening presence to residents and their families, and just a kind of more high touch kind of skillset. And one thing I was training them on was this idea and concept of tree rings. So we use BeFrienders Ministry, which is an ecumenical based ministry, to teach our staff how to be a listening presence to those we care for and for their families when they’re in a challenging situation as end of life care, or as their loved one progresses with dementia, there are just going to be all these challenging moments along the journey where we really have to be there for the family. And often the news or where we’re going isn’t always a positive experience, so enabling and giving our staff tools has been really helpful.

So I thought, you know, I want to share that with our friends and donors tonight. And one thing we talk about is tree rings. So here I have my tree ring. This is a wonderful tree ring that was gifted to me by my friend Barb Schwery at BeFrienders Ministry here in the Twin Cities. And anyway, a tree ring, as you may remember from elementary school, every ring on a tree ring depicts what kind of year that tree had. Also, every ring stands for one year. So again I can’t, I’m not an arborist, so I can’t read what kind of tree this had, but what I understand is that each ring can tell if it was a fire, if there was disease, if it was a drought, just all the way from the very little seedling all the way up to this is quite an old tree actually if you look at it.

And so it’s something I keep right in front of me here in my office, because it reminds me to pause and think of us as individuals. Think of just the staff I had in training today. One was from Ethiopia, one was from Kenya, and the other was from an American born African American. And also absolutely just delightful young women, all have a varying amount of experience in longterm care and memory care specifically, and I always take the opportunity to have them share three tree rings from their lives, and it fascinates me how so many of us don’t pause and think about what has impacted who we are, where we were born, were we the fourth of nine children, were we born in poverty, were we refugees? You know, I was born in a small Midwestern Minnesota town, a small hobby farm, and all of these things kind of make us who we are, just like the water we drink.

And so it’s fascinating how we get to know each other and understand that it’s not a badness, but it’s an understanding of who we are and that this whole concept of understanding the other can really help us to be more of a gift to them somewhere in our lives by your own experience. Then we also talk about lens, and what is a lens, what are the lens we see life through? And many of us, because of our tree rings, have a very different way of seeing the world around us. And just in training today, the three potential employees really had a totally different way of interpreting different words like dignity or quality of life, or just the phraseology of welcome home, which is part of our mission statement. Or what is, what does loving kindness mean, which also is part of the mission statement here at Gianna Homes.

So to drill deep into those things and from our own experiences and from our own life journey, bring that in, too, to our experience here. And so I want to encourage you to think about your tree rings. What has influenced you in your life? Who has reached out in love and charity or generosity? Who has been a welcoming presence to you? Who has lit your world and some moment of your life? Maybe as a student there was a teacher, maybe as an adult, you know, maybe it was a nurse when you were in the hospital or a coworker, or maybe it was just somebody at the gas station was kind for you, or one of those things where people pay it forward in the fast food line. That’s happened to me. That’s pretty cool.

So there’s so many different things of where there’s goodness and there’s generosity and kindness, and it just really put a smile on our face. And I noticed that today in training, I just noticed how different things we were talking about when we really got to know each other, really paused, and all of a sudden by the end of our training we had this relationship and they all left the office today just as joy. And I just thought, this is cool. This is what we should be about. And I want to share that with you today. It’s just a moment in the life here at Gianna Homes. But also I want to invite you to maybe think about how paying forward something you’ve received, paying forward what was maybe a challenge for you in your life, and you want to make a difference in saying, hey, Gianna Homes, we want to be part of what you’re doing there with your team. Let’s donate to what your cause is today.

So an opportunity in front of you to maybe impact the life of one of those in our care with dementia who really could use your support, financial support, or even volunteerism if you have volunteering and time to give. We are in need of volunteers every day of the week. That’s definitely something. Reach out to Cari Doucette or McKenna, our life engagement person, to connect with them if you’re able to do that and give of your time. But today, if you can give of your dollars, we would love that. So again, we have Give to the Max Day. We’re trying to do $10,000 just today. So see if you can help us. We would love it. And then that’s all part of our $50,000 matching donor opportunity.

So I look forward to hearing from you, sharing of your stories with us so that we can share those with others and pay it forward. Thank you. Help us Give to the Max and have a fantastic day.