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.