Performances, laughter and energy alive at Aspen Lake
The strengths of individual team members and the gift of personality they offer residents will be on display as theatre season once again fires up at Aspen Lake. It’s rumoured the village’s retelling of the Dr. Seuss classic, How the Grinch Stole Christmas will be back by popular demand.
As last fall gave way to winter, Riverside neighbourhood personal support workers Jessica Krizan and Heather Gagnon decided to create a piece of theatrical art for the amusement of the village, and they invited other team members to participate.
Jessica is the playwright and Heather, who embodies the spirit of the Dr. Seuss quote that says, “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” was the main source of energy behind the performance, along with other recruited team members.
The show was such a hit that come spring, the audience was clamouring for the premiere of the Aspen Lake version of Little Red Riding Hood.
Heather grew up working with children and putting her vivacious personality to work, so she says it’s a natural fit to bring that same energy into the village to brighten the days of the residents she serves.
General manager Joanne Potts points out that Heather, Jessica and the other team members who bring the plays to life put in hours of extra volunteer time in the village — a sign of the commitment they bring to work every day.
The cast of the Aspen Lake's retelling of a theatrical Little Red Riding Hood.
Joanne recalls in the spring, as the village was roiling with laughter during the Little Red Riding Hood performance, a family visiting a dying loved one came out to watch.
Afterwards one of the family members spoke with her.
“She talked about how special it was for their family, when they were in that moment of grief and sadness, to be able to go out and watch the play and know how much the team really cares about all the residents,” Joanne says.
Heather recalls a similar conversation with the same family member, and says she’s honoured to be able to share such meaningful time with all the residents, helping them shape new memories and experiences every day.
“I call her a ray of sunshine,” Joanne says of Heather. “When she walks into a room you can’t help but start smiling.”
Recreation director Jenny Brown says the plays are a prime example of total cross-functionality because Heather, Jessica and many other team members all come together for the sake of the residents.
“This group of people, they just warm my heart because they aren’t doing it for their own recognition,” she says. Their motivation is entirely about the residents, “and that makes everybody feel good.”
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