We are the Bluebird Volunteers, an informal group of 7 older women who spend time with the residents at our local long term care facility with a goal of enriching the lives of the residents. We coordinate musical events with volunteer community musicians. We visit residents one on one, and with the help of a Neighbourhood Small Grant we have purchased art supplies and materials. We do an art project with a group of residents once a week.

The facility has a great activity room and on Wednesday mornings the Bluebird Gang sweeps in (numbering anywhere from 3 to 8) and gathers up any and all available residents and head down there. They’ve come to watch for us, expecting to enjoy and be surprised with what we’ve come up with this week. It’s touching how willing they are to try anything and how hungry they are for outside stimulation. Over the course of months we’ve noticed a considerable increase in their confidence, attention span and interactivity.

We work with 8 to 12 residents each session. At best we try to be one on one, resident to Bluebird. It’s still works well with 1 Bluebird to 2 residents. Now we are more familiar with their individual capacities and inclinations we can get by with as few as 3 Bluebirds if the project is relatively simple. The more Bluebirds, the better because the social connection in the end is why we are all there. It’s satisfying to look down the long stretch of table and see alternating residents and volunteers chattering happily together. Trust us, this type of interaction means the world to these folks.

There’s so much more we could passionately say about our Bluebird Art Program discoveries. We’d love to think that by sharing our enthusiasm we’ve fired up other potential volunteer groups across the province. It’s so much fun, so intensely rewarding and once you get a bit of experience you will be surprised at how simple it is in execution and how little time it takes. A big Thank you to NSG, Osprey Community Foundation and the Vancouver Foundation for making this happen!
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