Spring is in full bloom on the Springmoor campus. From the azaleas to the dogwoods, from the gardens to the hallways, from the orchids to the bunnies, from the tulips to the phlox: you will find magnificant spring colors everywhere.
The gardeners have tilled their soil and begun planting their vegetables. The skies are bright blue and the temperatures are warm with a light breeze. Welcome to spring in North Carolina! Join us for a tour of the community.
Around the Campus
Through the Hallways
“As a full-body workout is optimal for all over muscle-growth, puzzle building can be considered a full-brain workout. The brain is comprised of two sides, the left and right. The right side is responsible for emotions, creativity and intuitive thought, while the left side is the logical, orderly and systematic component.
When you build puzzles, both sides are forced to communicate and work together, thus increasing cognitive function. You also give your occipital lobe a workout, which is the part of the brain that matches colors and shapes. Exercising the entire brain in this manner helps ward off future cognitive decline.” -The Alternative Daily
Puzzle building also increases visual perception and coordination of muscles. Children start early with large-piece puzzles to help with motor skills and problem solving. As we get older, puzzles become more difficult with smaller pieces and more detailed photographs. Jigsaw puzzles are a great workout for our short-term memories. Recalling the shapes and pieces as you scan through your puzzle and then to the pile of pieces, deciding which piece to try next, helps build muscle memory.
Residents of Springmoor will also tell you the puzzle table is great way to meet new friends and catch up on today’s news. On almost every floor of the campus you will find at least one, if not two, puzzles in the works. There are groups that meet in the morning after exercise class and groups that gather around the tables after dinner. There are some groups that have trays and separate pieces by color or shape and some that spread everything out on an additional table. You will find often find someone’s pet nestled under the table too.
As residents gather for “just a few minutes” they find they can’t leave the table until they find “just one more piece.” Time together is the best part about puzzle making. Everyone feels a sense of accomplishment as the last piece is put in place. And afterwards, no one wants to take it apart! Several puzzles have been glued together, framed and are hanging above the tables.
Peggy Blackburn, Eunice Bland and Pat Gessner are often found at their corner table on the first floor. The 2000 piece puzzle they recently completed of Cinque Terre, Italy was even more fun when they discovered that Eunice’s daughter and her husband had visited one of the restaurants on the mountainside. The colors were vivid and the pieces were small making the completion even more exciting when it all came together.
Ann Curren not only works flat puzzles but 3-D puzzles as well. When Leah Willis, our Residents Life Director, spotted her new style, she quickly ordered some for an afternoon activities class. They were a huge hit! A new dimensional challenge is added to your problem solving skills when you attempt this style. Not only do you need to find the pieces that fit together but also you must build the puzzle from the base up. Continue reading →
The Capital Area Greenway system in Raleigh has over 100 miles of trails. And the 3,700-acre system continues to grow! Have you walked a trail lately?
The 28 trails are located throughout Wake County and make for a great walk around the lake, through the woods or to a neighboring park. Some are short half-mile walks while others average one or two miles. The longest is the Neuse River Trail from Falls Lake Dam to the Wake-Johnston County Line. This trail is 27.5 miles long.
Kari Richie, our Wellness Center Director has taken residents to parts of the Neuse River Trail many times. The bird watching, photography and hiking (leisurely strolling or power walking) are always a favorite with our group. Finding the turtles lined up on a log for a sunbath or seeing the heron in the middle of the lake is an added bonus.
The shorter trails at The North Carolina Museum of Art highlight the outdoor art exhibits and the local foliage garden, an Amphitheatre and a water exhibit. There are more than a dozen outdoor works of art in the park. Spanning over 162 acres, this is the nation’s largest outdoor museum park. And while you are there, you can enjoy more than 40 galleries inside the museum too.
The Raleigh Rose Garden is one of three accredited gardens in the Carolinas. The grounds include sixty beds with 56 varieties of roses. A walk around this park will leave you speechless. The J.C. Raulston Arboretum is another one of Raleigh’s favorite gardens. Nationally acclaimed, this garden has one of the largest and most diverse collections of plants adapted for the Southeast. J.C. Raulston started the arboretum in 1975. He came to NC State University to teach in the Department of Horticultural Science and developed the facility as a living laboratory for his students and the faculty. The gardens have grown to ten and a half acres and achieved international recognition for its plant collections. You can enjoy a different walk around the gardens each season as the plantings continue to change with the season.
Ready to tackle the longest trail? The Neuse River Greenway Trail offers everything from winding boardwalks over the water to agricultural fields. The 27.5 mile trail is completely paved, making it an easy walk or a great bike ride. There are seven bridges over the Neuse River including two beautiful suspension bridges. A part of this walk includes a segment of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, a path from the Outer Banks to the Great Smoky Mountains. Our group has enjoyed many segments of this beautiful park.
Prefer to stay in the neighborhood? Springmoor has paved sidewalks throughout our 42-acre campus that make walking easy. The community’s landscaping continues to change with the seasons – the cherry trees, azaleas and dogwoods will soon be in full bloom. The vegetable gardens on the South Village campus were mulched and tilled just yesterday. If walking around your own garden and digging in the dirt is more your style, you can enjoy a day in the sunshine a few simple steps away from home. Continue reading →
This week we celebrate our employees – our long-term employees. We have several that have been here since we opened our doors in 1984. Their dedication in making Springmoor a great place to live and work is applauded by all of the residents and by their co-workers. You will find them in various positions throughout the community.
In our Administrative offices you will find our Human Resource Director, Jim Cox and our Chaplain, Phyllis Mayo. And in the Housekeeping Department, you will find two very special sisters, Sandra Harris and Barbara Venson. These four employees have each been at their jobs for over 32 years. They all say, “it’s the residents” that keep them coming back every day. The residents have become an extended family to many of our employees.
We asked the ten employees that have been here over 28 years a few questions about their jobs. And their responses, though different, all had a similar theme. Helping others is what they like to do best.
What was your first job as a teenager?
A grocery store cashier, “puttin’ in tobacco” on the farm, a summer camp counselor, a babysitter, and a cook.
How many positions have you had since you’ve been here?
The ten long-term employees have worked in as many as four positions each and as few as one. Those that have had multiple jobs have moved around in their departments to manage other employees or try their hand in a new area of their department.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
These responses were the best! “I’m there.” And “just myself, helping as many people as I can.” And. “the person that does their job to the best of my abilities and takes pride in whatever I do.”
Where were you born?
Half of the group said Raleigh or the surrounding area. The other half came to Springmoor from Florida, Maryland, Georgia and Alabama. We have a very southern group!
What time do you wake up every day?
We have a group of early-risers, most telling us they are up by 5:30 each day.
If you were sitting on an airplane next to a celebrity, who would you like it to be?
Oprah, Meryl Streep, Sean Connery, Diana Ross, Pope Francis, Halle Berry, Michelle or Barack Obama, Tom Hanks or Gilda Radner. What a great plane ride that would be!
What are you going to do when you retire?
Staying busy is what this group plans to keep doing: traveling or volunteering in a community service project is where you will find them when they retire.
What job at Springmoor would you like to do for one day?
The answer to this question was overwhelmingly “I’m doing it!”
Do you sing to the car radio?
“Oh, YES”, and most everyone says “loudly” with a smile on their face and a tune in their head. Continue reading →
“Being able to read at grade level is a predictor of success and high school graduation,” says Kati Mullan, executive director of Read and Feed. “If you can read, you can do anything.”
Springmoor welcomes Heather Cross, Read and Feed’s Volunteer Coordinator, to our Resident’s Association Meeting today. For those that heard her speak before you know that she is very inspiring and passionate about their outreach activities in Wake County.
Last September, we traveled to the Cary offices to help assemble 600 tote bags to begin the year’s program. One group of Springmoor volunteers helped with the morning shift and another followed in the afternoon. Together, they began our first partnership with Read and Feed.
Read and Feed – in the Beginning
In October of 2007, Jan Frantz, Read and Feed’s founder, quit her corporate job, purchased an RV and drove it to Penny Road Elementary in Cary. As a volunteer tutor at Northwood Elementary, she began to see that every child’s opportunities are not the same. Struggling to read on an empty stomach is difficult. Having no reading resources at home adds to the problem facing many of Wake County’s lower income students.
Jan spent many months researching the issues these children face. She found that seventy-four percent of children not reading on grade level by the third grade would find it impossible to ever catch up. As the subjects get more complex, reading becomes more and more important. If a child can’t read, their struggles begin. Confidence is lost, grades are low and bad behavior can start.
Providing a nurturing environment as well as a warm meal makes learning so much easier. Each child in the program spends a little more than an hour with a volunteer each week. Eating, reading, listening, and spelling vocabulary words fill their hour. The program comes to the areas where the children are in the greatest need. The RV is driven to sites close to their homes. Two groups are served each night in local community centers or in the Read and Feed RV. The child is given three books each night to take home with them.
Jan has since partnered with the Interfaith Food Shuttle to provide warm meals. Food is also donated or purchased at a discount from local restaurants. She has found volunteers across the county and continues fund-raising events so that the program can bring all of our children up to grade level.
The Food Drive Begins
Springmoor will participate this month with the collection and assembly of the children’s food bags. The bags will be filled with food for the children to eat during their spring break. Without a school breakfast and lunch program, many children in Wake County go without a meal during their day.
We are asking for donations of food as well as financial support. Our teams will pack each bag with three meals for a day or bags with snacks for the seven-day vacation. Springmoor will provide the tote bag and the food for each bag. The collection bins have been filling up but we are still in need of a few specific items: pasta, pasta sauce, canned vegetables, canned tuna or chicken, dried beans and canned milk.
The Convenience Store in our North Village lobby is an easy way to shop for your donations. The items most needed for the children’s bags are marked for easy shopping. You may also pick up items during your weekly grocery store run.
Assembling the bags will take place at the end of our food drive, the last week of March. On April 3, we will take a bus trip to Fox Road Elementary School to deliver our Read and Feed donations. A second trip on April 4 is planned for the Homestead neighborhood’s Read and Feed site. Our Resident Life Department is asking for volunteers for all of these activities. We would love to have your help! Continue reading →
Line up, step up, turn it up and let’s start dancing…
…with The Temptations.
You got a smile so bright
You know you could have been a candle
I’m holding you so tight
You know you could have been a handle
The way you swept me off my feet
You know you could’ve been a broom
The way you smell so sweet
You know you could’ve been some perfume
Well you could’ve been anything that you wanted to
And I can tell
The way you do the things you do, ah baby, the way you do the thing you do, the way you do the things you do….
Achy Breaky Heart, Sweet Home Alabama: the music makes you want to move. The dance steps are easy – grapevines, step touch, mambo, and shuffles. Then twist and repeat. Each dance consists of a number of walls.
The wall is the direction the dancers face at any given time. With one-wall dances all dancers face the same direction in a line. In a two-wall dance, everyone faces forward and then repeats the step combination after turning 180 degrees. The samba is an example of this style dance. The four-wall dance, similar to the hustle, has the dancer make a quarter turn after each sequence. The choreography is easy once you learn a few basic steps. The music is great, turn it up…
Big wheels keep on turning
Carry me home to see my kin
Singing songs about the south-land
I miss ‘ole’ ‘bamy once again
And I think it’s a sin, yes
Well I heard Mister Young sing about her
Well I heard old Neil put her down
Well, I hope Neil Young will remember
A southern man don’t need him around anyhow
Sweet home Alabama
Where the skies are so blue
Sweet home Alabama
Lord, I’m coming home to you
Kari Richie, our Wellness Center Director, leads two classes each week for our residents. As a six year old, she began her dance career. Hip Hop, Jazz and Pom were her favorites. Competitive in high school and then as a JV Dance Team Coach in college, she knows how to lead an exciting workout while letting the music make you move. The speed and intricacy of the choreography make line dancing a class where beginners can feel comfortable and then continue to advance as each member finds their rhythm.
Line Dancing has proven to be a perfect exercise for those that need to work on their coordination and balance. The quick movements are good for increasing brain memory and heart health. With any weight-bearing exercise your bones get a good work out and help increase your bone density.
Doctors and therapists are now finding that patients with early signs of Parkinson’s disease greatly benefit from exercise with patterned movements such as line dancing. The repetition of the steps helps improve speed, balance and movement in everyday tasks.
So put on your dancing shoes; the 1950’s Madison, the 1960’s San Francisco Stomp or even the early 1800’s European polka and waltz, can all be found in the origins of line dancing. You’ve done the steps in your youth! What better way to spend your Monday mornings or Thursday afternoons than with Kari and a room filled with pop music and friends? Join us for a class in the Great Room or at The Wellness Center. Your bones, your muscles and your attitude will all be glad you came to class. Continue reading →