Yuba City Walk sponsor engages employees and residents
Summerfield Senior Living is a gold level sponsor for the Yuba City Walk to End Alzheimer’s and a top fundraising team. With a local Walk committee made of senior staff, this sponsor knows how to raise funds all year. Marketing Director, Brenda Williams shared how they encourage everyone to participate in Walk.
Supporting their residents
Summerfield is an assisted living community with secured Memory Care apartments, where seniors, both with and without memory loss, are given the opportunity to keep active, stay involved and age gracefully. They see their involvement with Walk to End Alzheimer’s® as a necessity, supporting not just their residents but all those living in Yuba City.
“People who don’t understand Alzheimer’s disease look at it as something that’s sad,” said Brenda. “We look at as a great opportunity to help families and their loved ones transition through one of the most challenging times of their lives. Our residents with Alzheimer’s are some of our favorite people to work with. It’s a great pleasure when we see them smile because we know who they are today, and we celebrate that.
“There are so many people getting this disease. We see it as our responsibility and our pleasure to get involved with Walk to End Alzheimer’s the best we can.”
Brenda has been working at Summerfield for about a year, but the company was participating in Walk long before that. By the time Brenda arrived, there was already an established Summerfield Serenity Walkers committee made up of Summerfield team members.
“My Executive Director is really wonderful. She does everything she can to get everyone involved,” said Brenda. “There are nine of us on the committee. We get together to plan both during working hours and after. It’s so nice to have a team of people to help. It really feels like the fun in fundraising.”
Finding her calling
Brenda didn’t begin working with the senior community until after her mother had passed. “My mom had Alzheimer’s for 15 years,” shared Brenda. “She needed professional care and I’m glad that we [her family] were able to provide that care for her. In the end she didn’t know who we were, but she knew she loved us.
“At the time I didn’t know working with seniors would become my calling. I spent my life mostly with kids. When I got the job as an activity director for seniors, I realized that these are my people. When I had the opportunity to help raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association®, I couldn’t think of a better thing to do with my life.”
Creative ways to raise funds
Despite the pandemic, Brenda and the staff at Summerfield are continuing to raise funds to support the Yuba City Walk to End Alzheimer’s. They meet every three weeks to come up with new ideas. Here are some of their activities:
- Car Wash
“We have one scheduled this year, and it’s COVID-friendly. We will also be selling food and drinks.”
- Auction on Facebook
“We receive a lot of furniture donations,” shared Brenda. “We really wanted to do this in person and make it a real event, but that just wasn’t possible this year.”
- Yard Sale (COVID-friendly)
“Whatever doesn’t sell in the auction we’ll put in the yard sale,” said Brenda. “It’s a lot of fun because we don’t put prices on any of the items, we just let people donate what they’d like. Some people will give us a quarter for something really nice, but others will give us $100 and walk away with nothing. In the end, it all works out.”
- Casual for a cause
“Our staff are required to wear a uniform, so they love it when they have an opportunity to wear jeans and a t-shirt,” said Brenda. “They donate $2 and they can wear jeans and either a Walk to End Alzheimer’s shirt or one of the shirts we make for Walk day.”
- Walk shirt auction
“We realized there were some staff that don’t have an Alzheimer’s shirt to wear for Casual for a Cause,” said Brenda. “I reached out to the Walk Manager at the Alzheimer’s Association who gave us a few shirts from previous years. We auctioned them off to staff, the lowest shirt selling for $25.”
- Staff Walk day shirt sales
“Every year for Walk we also design our own shirt for our team to wear,” said Brenda. “We give all team members the opportunity to purchase our team walk shirts and all of that money goes towards our fundraising goals.”
- Sending out letters
“We send out letters to our current and past residents’ families asking if they’d like to join our team or make a donation,” said Brenda. “We use this an opportunity to remind them that we’re still thinking of them. A lot of people will donate as a way to thank us.”
Growing their team
The team members at Summerfield feel that having a team for Walk to End Alzheimer’s is another way of helping their residents. Brenda and her teammates also encourage their residents to join their Walk team. Brenda says, “Anyone in our community who wants to participate can sign up and join.”
Brenda and her coworkers also encourage their residents to join their Walk team. Brenda says, “Anyone in our community who wants to participate can sign up on our team.”
Walk day adjustments
In past years, Summerfield has use the Walk as a day of celebration, not only for the team but for their residents. There, the residents enjoyed a day out and about, seeing new faces and walking the Walk route if they wanted to.
Because of social distancing, Walk to End Alzheimer’s will not be meeting as one big group. Instead, we ask walkers to walk with their families within their communities. “We were disappointed we couldn’t bring our residents to the Walk this year,” said Brenda. “We’ve been working on a new plan to make the day enjoyable.”
While it is still in the works, currently Summerfield is considering taking their interested residents on a walk through their local park. While practicing social distancing and wearing masks, the residents will walk with pride showing off their Walk shirts and flags.
“We normally take our residents on walks, it will just be at a different park,” said Brenda. “The staff interact with our residents every day. We’re like a big family. It’s going to be more work than it would be in a normal year, but we want to go the extra effort for the residents. Even if it takes us a long time to do it, we’re going to make sure it happens.”
What is exciting about Walk this year is that you can walk from anywhere, on every sidewalk, track and trail in your local community. You can register for Summerfield’s team, Summerfield’s Serenity Walkers or start your own team and join us for the Yuba City Walk on September 12. Not in Yuba City? Register today at alz.org/walk and find out more about your local walk.