Sunday, July 11, 2010

Lillian Jackson

“Little Dresses for Haiti”
Oakland Post
June 4th, 2010

When Lillian Jackson, Recreation Therapist at Center for Elders’ Independence (CEI), learned about the “Little Dresses for Africa” project benefiting young Haitian girls, she knew the seniors at Center for Elders’ Independence would want to contribute.

In the last two weeks, seniors at CEI’s Eastmont Center, Marcelina Cruz, Patricia Masangya and Telestora Horstman, have been making dresses from pillow cases for girls victimized by January’s devastating earthquake. In addition to making a difference for the children, Jackson felt it was the perfect project for “Older American’s Month.”

“This sewing project seemed a wonderful opportunity for Older Americans Month,” said Jackson. “This month highlights our seniors’ contributions to today’s world. This project in particular allows them to make a very real difference for little girls in dire need.”

CEI’s staff donates pillow cases for the project. Jackson cuts and machine stitches the fabric while the seniors complete the hand-stitching. They sew on lace and pockets and use ribbons to create shoulder ties. They are making dresses in sizes 2T to 14.

The Eastmont Center is making 25 dresses; seniors at CEI’s San Pablo location are also picking up the project and will make 25 dresses, as well.

“We will send 50 little dresses to Haiti for girls of all ages,” said Jackson. “The Little Dresses organization is working to provide 50,000 dresses to little girls in Haiti. Our contribution is not significant in number, but it will make a world of difference to the girls who wear our dresses.”

The project makes a difference for CEI’s seniors, too. CEI provides a Program of All-inclusive Care for the elderly; services include comprehensive health care and social services that enable seniors over age 55 to continue living at home rather than enter a nursing home. In addition, CEI provides a variety of social and recreation activities to help seniors remain active and engaged.

“The project has been tremendously rewarding for our seniors,” added Jackson. “It engages their minds, their hands and their hearts, all while they interact and enjoy each other’s company. It’s exactly the kind of project we seek out for our seniors.”

For 18 years, the Program for All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) at the Center for Elders’ Independence (CEI) has provided comprehensive health care and social services that enable people over age 55 with multiple medical problems to remain in their own homes living with dignity rather than entering nursing home facilities. There are four CEI centers in Oakland and South Berkeley serving frail seniors from El Sobrante to Hayward.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Older Americans Month Celebration
Frank H. Ogawa Plaza

Lillian and her sisters Rejoyce and Nettie

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Emeryville Taiko

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The following is an excerpt from
the CEI Newsletter article
"From Seniors’ Hands
to Children’s Arms
Dolls for Africa"
by Elinor Davis

Six women, several in wheelchairs and each holding a soft doll, sat beaming before a room full of seniors at the Eastmont Center for Elders Independence (CEI). Each spoke about the process of making and naming her doll.

Soon these appealing handmade dolls, each of which began its existence as a new pair of long, brown socks, will embark on a journey that will take them to the arms of children in Africa.

At a stage of life that too often features frailty and pain from multiple medical conditions, and declining physical and cognitive function, these seniors are choosing to create something beautiful to comfort children they will never meet.

“Most of them never sewed before,” says Activity Aide Lillian Jackson, who started the doll project with about thirteen CEI participants earlier this year. "Learning to make the dolls at the Center gives them something to do and helps them forget about limitations brought on by strokes, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and heart or kidney ailments," Lillian says. The group is completing 50 dolls – 25 girls and 25 boys – and will donate them to children at Kids Haven, a residential shelter for abused and abandoned children outside Johannesburg, South Africa. They chose this organization because it is endorsed by Oprah Winfrey and Lillian is a big Oprah fan. Each doll wears a label that identifies the maker and the name she chose for her doll.

Explaining why she loves her CEI job of 16 years, Lillian says, “It’s about the clients. I like doing things for them. A lot of them don’t have any family.” Lillian’s affection for seniors is mutual. Many Eastmont participants say she is the reason they come to the Day Center. Because they respect and relate to her, she is able to draw them out of themselves and motivate them to take their medications, maintain healthy habits and stay engaged with life. She’s already planning her next project for the sewing group – quilts for babies with HIV/AIDS. If the beautifully crafted dolls are any guide, the quilts will be lovely, and more than that, permeated with love itself.

The following is an excerpt from
the CEI Newsletter article
"Dolls Arrive in Africa"
by Elinor Davis

In the last issue of Life Times, we told you about the doll project at our Eastmont Center. Led by Activities Assistant Lillian Jackson, participants made and donated 50 sock dolls to Kids Haven, a home for abused and abandoned children in South Africa. Here is what the Haven staff wrote about this priceless gift from the American “gogos,” a South African word for “grannies.”

Children from Kids Haven in South Africa cuddle
the dolls made by the PACE Center participants
Photo by CEI

“Thank you to our dearest friends at the Centre for Elders!!! [for] the most beautiful hand-made dolls sent all the way from America. We were completely overwhelmed by the intricate detail, character and care that was taken in each of the beautiful dolls. Our children were overwhelmed when they were told they could each choose their very own friend, made lovingly just especially for them.

The special dolls are also used in our therapy rooms and have been a huge comfort already to a number of children when they are afraid and unable to talk. The children communicate through the dolls to the therapist, it allows them time to get to know the therapist and understand that not all adults are bad. The dolls bring a special kind of comfort and security and will no doubt be a tremendous source of strength and joy for our children into the future!”

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Stovall Sisters

Lillian and her sisters Nettie and Rejoyce are the Stovall Sisters