Georgetown | July 2021

“NOT ONLY DO THE RESIDENTS HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO PARTICIPATE IN THE ACTIVITY AND HAVE SOME SOCIALIZATION BUT IT GIVES THEM A SENSE OF WORTH BECAUSE THEY GET TO NURTURE THIS PLANT AS IT GROWS.” LAURA JONES, OWNER OF WISE OWLS INITIATIVE

WAYS TO GET INVOLVED The Wise Owls Initiative oers residents several ways to volunteer and engage with the elderly population in Williamson County. Some opportunities are great for all age levels.

CARD CAMPAIGN Volunteers can spread joy and create greeting cards to deliver to senior citizens. OWL PALS Each Owl Pal is connected with a senior citizen to be pen pals. They will write letters twice a month. PLANTING SMILES Seniors receive a mini terra cotta pot, soil, seeds and paint to decorate the pot and plant daisies. The nonprot relies on donations through its Amazon Smile wish list. PHONE CALL CAMPAIGN One of the nonprot’s key focus areas is connecting with seniors, and volunteers can help make those phone call connections. HOST A FUNDRAISER ON SOCIAL MEDIA Volunteers use their social media accounts to help raise funds for Wise Owls’ outreach programs. COMMUNITY EDUCATION Spread the word about the nonprot and its eorts to friends and family.

NONPROFIT

The Planting Smiles project allows for residents to socialize while they plant seeds. (Photos courtesyWise Owls Initiative)

WiseOwls Initiative Nonprot works to ght negative eects of isolation L aura Jones, a nurse who has With a list provided by the William- son County and Cities Health District, the nonprot is able to reach out to and partner with area long-term care facilities, Jones said. She added it has also begun BY FERNANDA FIGUEROA

always had a strong aection for older adults, formed the Wise Owls Initiative to help them ght the negative eects of isolation. “Really my goal is to work with their spirit,” Jones said. “I just want these older folks to know that they are loved, that they are cherished, that they’ve made an impact on the world around them, whether they realize it or not.” Jones began the Wise Owls Initia- tive in 2018 in Cincinnati but had to temporarily halt the project as she moved to Texas. She restarted the project in 2020 during the coronavi- rus pandemic and ocially incorpo- rated the nonprot June 29, 2020. The nonprot started working mostly with long-term care facilities delivering handmade greeting cards and setting up pen pals with resi- dents and volunteers, Jones said. In addition to the greeting cards, Wise Owls also hosts its Planting Smiles project, in which residents at participating facilities socialize with others while they plant their own terra cotta seeds and decorate its pot, Jones said. “It is the gift that keeps on giving,” Jones said. “Not only do the residents have the opportunity to participate in the activity and have some social- ization, but it gives them a sense of worth because they get to nurture this plant as it grows.”

reaching out to faith communities, home care agencies and hospice agencies to engage those who may not be in assisted care facilities, she added. The nonprot has about 20 volunteers who help Jones make the greeting cards. Due to the pandemic, volunteers have no in-person contact with older adults, but Jones said she hopes that when there is a return to normalcy, she and her volunteers can spend more one-on-one time with residents of dierent care facilities. As a nonprot, Jones said the organization relies on donations and grants, which have been hard to acquire as the organization is rela- tively new. However, the Georgetown Health Foundation provided a $5,000 to go toward creating and delivering greeting cards. In the future, Jones said she hopes the organization will be able to pro- vide research that shows the positive eects of engagement with older adults and how it can determine whether a person thrives. “Our mission statement is to help reduce the negative eects of isolation and loneliness among the elderly, and I want them to know that they are loved,” Jones said.

Wise Owls Initiative collects and delivers handmade greeting cards to seniors at several long term care facilities.

WiseOwls Initiative 2006 Autumn Fire Drive, Cedar Park 513-404-5754 www.wiseowlsinitiative.org

N

33

GEORGETOWN EDITION • JULY 2021

Powered by