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Socks for Seniors 2015

Socks for Seniors Kicks Off in November
Life Essentials hopes to break donation record and make the holidays brighter for local seniors

Thursday, October 29, 2015 | Dayton, Ohio – Life Essentials will kick off the 2015 Socks for Seniors campaign on Monday, November 2, 2015. This marks the fourth year of this partnership between Life Essentials and Socks for Seniors, a non-profit community service project that organizes, collects and distributes NEW socks for seniors in communities all over the country. The agency will collect socks through December 11, 2015.

Each year, thousands of lonely and financially challenged seniors struggle with the holiday blues. They dread facing the holiday season alone – some being without family or friends, some with the isolation of being a widow or widower. For others, being away from children and grandchildren produces extreme loneliness that’s exaggerated by festivities of the season.

“Life Essentials was able to distribute close to 3,000 pairs of socks last year and we are hoping to collect even more this year,” said Linda Roepken, Executive Director at Life Essentials. “This is our way to give back to the seniors in our community and to bring a little light into their holidays.”

Socks For Seniors and it’s volunteers such as Life Essentials, have one priority this holiday season – bring holiday cheer along with a pair of NEW socks to warm the hearts and cover the cold feet of our elderly seniors. The Socks for Seniors program benefits those living alone and in nursing homes, as well seniors who are homeless.

Life Essentials will be joining with a number of organizations and businesses throughout Montgomery County to establish collection stations. For more information about drop-off locations or to establish a collection station, please contact Life Essentials at 937-586-0545 or homeoffice@lifeessentials.org.

Become a Guardian Angel Volunteer

Life Essentials has a unique volunteer opportunity available for individuals who are looking for a way to have a meaningful impact on the life of a neighbor who can’t speak for themselves.

Life Essentials is the only guardianship program in Montgomery and Greene counties and we work closely with both Probate Courts to ensure the safety and well-being of the individuals entrusted into our care.

As a Guardian Angel, you will be a court appointed “Guardian of Person” to serve individuals who have no family able or willing to make decisions for them. Guardian Angels do not have financial responsibility for the person.

Guardian Angels serve as advocates in making major life decisions about housing, medical care, health benefits, legal services and long timer care. You will ensure the person in your care lives in the least restrictive environment possible and receives compassionate medical care.

Guardian Responsibilities
Once you have attended training and met the person you will serve as Guardian for, you will:
• Attend a hearing conducted by the Probate Court to be assigned as the legal Guardian of Person.
• Develop a relationship with the person and visit at least once a month. Two visits per month is ideal.
• Participate in planning, giving consent for medical treatment and other services.
• Be empowered to advocate for your person, monitor and protect their rights.
• Complete required program and court reports.
• Attend two trainings a year.

Apply here!

For more information contact Jennifer Dietsch at jdietsch@lifeessentials.org or (937) 586-0545 ext. 109.

Living Art Chalk Festival Coming to the Miami Valley

Living Art Chalk Festival Coming to the Miami Valley
Professional, amateur and student artists will chalk the streets of The Greene to raise awareness for national mental health awareness month

Chalk About It, the Miami Valley’s first chalk art festival, is heading to The Greene on Saturday, May 16, 2015. Two nationally known chalk artists will join local professional, amateur and student artists as they create living 3D art works to raise awareness for national mental health awareness month. The event will begin at 10 a.m. and conclude with a block party that ends at 10 p.m. The family-friendly event will also feature a kids chalking and activity area and a scavenger hunt around the shopping center. Local artists are still needed.

Artists will have the opportunity to compete for cash prizes and student artists will be invited to a chalking class with the guest artists. They will use only environmentally-friendly pastel chalk to create pieces that positively depicts mental health treatment, access and the elimination of stigma. Artists can submit an application to participate here.

Chalk About It will benefit Life Essentials and its unique and specialized programs that enable seniors and people living with mental illness to have a greater quality of life and take charge of their mental and physical health.

Visiting Artists

Jennifer Nichols Chapparo – Born in St. Joseph, Michigan in the early sixties, Jennifer Nichols was born into an artistic family. Her grandfather, Harry E. Stinson, was a recognized Sculptor, Painter and Art Professor at the University of Iowa and Hunter College in New York City.  After graduating with a degree in Design from UCLA, focusing on costume & clothing design, she continued to pursue painting while working in advertising and raising her two daughters in Dayton, Ohio.  Jennifer’s work was exhibited at various galleries and events in Ohio between 1992 and 1999. She also was very involved with the Dayton Visual Arts Center, serving as their president and as a board member and contributing artist. In 1999, she moved to Palm Beach, Florida. In 2004, Jennifer and her daughters began participating in the Street Painting Festival in Lake Worth, Florida, which is the largest street painting event in the United States, attracting 100,000 visitors each year. Jennifer and her daughters have completed several large 10′ x 10′ works, usually featuring women and children, a theme that draws much attention. She received her Semplice Professional Certification in 2009 and her Qualificato Certification in 2010, and her Maestro Certification in 2011 from the Florida Chalk Artists Association. In 2012, Jennifer founded the International Street Painting Society as a way to help other street artists connect and be more successful, and help street painting be seen as a legitimate art form.

David Zinn – David Zinn has been creating original artwork in and around Ann Arbor since 1987, serving all manner of commercial clients from small shops to major municipalities while simultaneously sneaking “pointless” art into the world at large. His professional commissions have included theatrical posters, business logos, educational cartoons, landfill murals, environmental superheroes, corporate allegories and hand-painted dump trucks. His less practical creations have involved bar coasters, restaurant placemats, cake icing, and snow.

David’s temporary street art is composed entirely of chalk, charcoal and found objects, and is always improvised on location. Most of these drawings have appeared on sidewalks in Ann Arbor and elsewhere in Michigan, but some have surfaced as far away as subway platforms in Manhattan and construction debris in the Sonoran Desert. Zinn’s chalk work began in 2001 as an excuse to linger outdoors, but has since achieved global notoriety through the sharing of photos on Facebook, Huffington Post UK, The Cheezburger Network, Street Art Utopia, and Archie McPhee’s Endless Geyser of Awesome. His most frequent characters are Sluggo, a bright green monster with stalk eyes and irreverent habits, and Philomena, a phlegmatic flying pig. As of 2013, there have been a lot of mice as well.

David is a self-taught artist with a degree in Creative Writing and English Language from the Residential College of the University of Michigan. He has taught creative writing and scenic painting, performed in and directed several Gilbert & Sullivan operas, recorded audiobooks, and hosted two children’s radio shows (The Rug Rat Revue on WCBN-FM and The Mud Pie Cafe on Michigan Radio). David is also an avid whistler, a haphazard ukulele player, and a dutiful shirker.



The Campaign to Change Direction: Mental Health in America

Mental illness is startlingly common in our country, with nearly one in every five people having a diagnosable mental health condition. So why don’t we hear about it more often? We hear a lot about other diseases like heart disease and cancer. Mental illness is an affliction on the same level as any other disease. Why then is mental illness only widely talked about after tragedies occur?

Over 90% of people who commit suicide suffer from a mental illness. After such tragic events as Robin Williams’ suicide this past August, there is always talk about mental illness. There is an outcry from the general public for change to the mental health system and better resources for those who are suffering from a mental disorder. However, after a few weeks or months, the talk fades away and nothing happens – until now.

Spearheaded by Give an Hour and co-sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), The Campaign to Change Direction is designed to change the story of mental health across the nation by urging all Americans to learn the five signs that someone might be in distress. First Lady Michelle Obama has lent her voice to this movement, emphasizing that mental health is just as vital as physical health and we should treat it that way.

Life Essentials fully supports this movement and encourages every person to learn the five signs of distress:

Personality Change – You may notice sudden or gradual changes in someone’s typical behavior. He or she may behave in ways that don’t align with their personal values, or the person may just seem different.

Agitation – You may notice the person has problems controlling his or her temper and is easily irritated and unable to be calmed easily. People in more extreme situations of this may be unable to sleep or may explode in anger at small problems.

Withdrawal – You may notice someone who used to be socially engaged with friends and family begin to pull away and stop taking part in activities they used to enjoy. In more severe cases, the person may start being unable to make it to work or school. This sign is marked by a change in sociability, not to be confused with someone who is simply more introverted.

Poor Self-Care – You may notice a change in someone’s personal care level or a poor decision on his or her part. For instance, someone may let their personal hygiene habits fall, or he or she may begin to abuse alcohol, illicit substances or engage in other self-destructive behavior.

Hopelessness – You may notice someone that used to be optimistic and now can’t find anything to be hopeful or happy about. That person may be suffering from extreme feelings of grief, guilt or worthlessness. People showing this sign may talk about the world being better off without them, suggesting they could be having suicidal thoughts.

Learn more about The Campaign to Change Direction

Unsure of what to do next if you think a loved one is displaying any of these signs? Reach out and connect with them. Show compassion and be there for that person who is suffering. Encourage them to get help and connect them with resources in your area. Together we can change the story of mental health in America!

You are the Person in their Lives who Cares


When Auska came to our country she was a young military bride living with her husband, George. George and Auska moved all around the country for his military career until he retired from Wright-Patt. Auska suffered from mental illness, but her husband always made sure she took her medication and took excellent care of her, until he died in the 1990s. Auska was left alone, with no children or relatives to support her. Auska began to participate in the Chums program at Life Essentials and was no longer alone. Although she still struggles with her mental illness and the language barrier, Auska has found a supportive network through Life Essentials.

Auska has a close relationship with one of the staff at Life Essentials that includes regular check-in phone calls. During one of these phone calls, it became clear to the staff member that Auska was in a crisis that needed immediate attention. Because of the close and trustful relationships she enjoys with our staff, she permitted our intervention and agreed to go to the hospital and receive the necessary treatment.

Our follow up revealed that Auska recently moved to a new apartment and had no furniture! She had the financial means necessary to buy it, but because of her mental illness she could be easily exploited.

Since her discharge from the hospital, Auska is doing great. She still enjoys close relationships with Life Essentials staff and attends Chums. She is living independently in her apartment, and we have secured a local attorney for her to keep her safe from financial exploitation.

This is just one example of how your gifts are help!  Your contributions protect vulnerable people from abuse and exploitation and provides support and hope.  Your donations transform lives.  As Auska would say, “Thank you for all you do.  I don’t know what I would do without you.  Thank you for being my friend.” In essence, Auska is thanking you.  By providing a contribution to Life Essentials you are the person in her life who cares.

Chalk About It

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Welcome to the inaugural year of Chalk About It benefiting Life Essentials!

Chalk About It will be an extraordinary blending of performance, entertainment, fine and public art, all to strengthen our local community.  And it will all take place under your feet at The Greene Town Center Saturday May 16, 2015.

Come and participate in this first of its kind event in our area.  Watch local and internationally known artists turn the streets of The Greene into works of art!  Imagine watching a Picasso come to life, or look down into what will appear to be the rabbit hole that Alice is falling in to.

You’ll also have the opportunity to vote on whose work you like best.  You’ll can be an active participant all throughout the day. Plan on participating in the Great Scavenger Hunt to win an awesome price, have your hair chalked, face painted, or even make your own chalk drawing in our community chalk park area.

All of this is open to the public and watching is free.  But you can support Life Essentials by voting for artists with your dollars, entering the scavenger hunt, or simply making a donation. If you are interested you can sponsor an artist block for $500 or a student art block for $350.  Regardless, come spend the day at The Greene Town Center for Chalk About It.

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