Leadership Institute Inspires Seniors

Elim Manor residents head off to theatrical performance at Grace Polaris Church entitled Living Christmas Trees.

Elim Manor residents head off to theatrical performance at Grace Polaris Church entitled Living Christmas Trees.

Elim Manor Residents Want To Create Sense Of Community

Prior to NeighborWorks America's national Community Leadership Institute in Columbus in October, Mary Richards had modest expectations for the national conference, or where it would lead.

“I didn’t know what it was about,” Richards said.

But with prodding from fellow Elim Manor apartments asenior Mary Warren, Richards not only attended the three-day program with her friend but came away motivated at the prospect of inspiring others to work together and create a sense of community.

Less than two months later Richards saw the first fruit of her desire when she, Warren and seven others from Elim Manor boarded a bus with Homeport staff and attended a holiday season play in Westerville.

“This is a perfect example of what it means to build communities,” said Homeport Resident Services Director Alex Romstedt.

“Our outing to the play was a huge success!” said Homeport Supportive Services Manager Lawrence Furst II. “The greater concept is to have these nine attendees become advocates and catalysts in their community furthermore, creating a small group of residents in a community to serve as the planners and advocates for their community.” 

The outing provided a boxed lunch before the show. The ride home to their apartments on the Southeast Side of Columbus brought conversation focused on, “what do we do next,” said Richards. “We came back telling (our neighbors) what a joyful time we had.”

A seniors’ prom in the spring is possible, she said. Bumper bowling could be an activity before then. “We’re having fun. Maybe we can get others involved,” Richards said.

Mary Warren, left, and Mary Richards at the NeighborWorks America Community Leadership Institute program Oct. 20-23 in Columbus. Said Mary Warren: 'I wanted to try to find things to do to get our residents out of our apartments, to get them involved.'

Mary Warren, left, and Mary Richards at the NeighborWorks America Community Leadership Institute program Oct. 20-23 in Columbus. Said Mary Warren: 'I wanted to try to find things to do to get our residents out of our apartments, to get them involved.'