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May 2024 - Mother's Day Issue

Welcoming May Flowers!
Please find all the articles from the newsletter below for universal text access.


 

Accessible Articles below:


BECKY'S CORNER - A note from our Director


Hello May! It's the season of anticipation, wishes, and hope. As the age-old saying goes, "April showers bring May flowers," marking the transition from the sunny last days of Spring to the vibrant onset of Summer. Here at Harbor SLS, we're on the brink of a season filled with outdoor adventures - beach bonfires, Big Sur camping trip, Achieve Tahoe summer sports, strolls along the shores, and hikes amidst majestic mountains. We're privileged to call this place home, where others come to vacation. We also have some exciting content in this edition, including an article featuring Jake and his family's journey with new supported living services, details about Peter Leidy's upcoming visit from Wisconsin (please join us if you can on May 8th and 9th), monthly spotlights on individuals we support and staff members, and much more, skillfully curated by our talented newsletter editor, Brooke Donofrio.
As we delve into May, remember the wise words of Michael Altshuler, "The bad news is time flies. The good news is you're the pilot." And, the enduring wisdom of Robin Williams, "No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world." Let's unite our heads, hearts, and hands to make a difference through our words

Happy Days to all of you,
Love, Becky

New Client Welcome

Jake's Journey to Finding Support


Jake and his family found Harbor Supported Living Services just when they needed it most. Brad, Jake’s Dad, posted an ad looking for caregivers, and Jon Smith, a Harbor Facilitator, saw it and reached out. Brad believes that if they had known about Harbor when Jake was 18, they would have started receiving support services for him 3-4 years earlier. I recently spoke with Brad, who was eager to share his family's story in hopes of helping others facing similar challenges. He described how meeting Jon and learning about Harbor's supported living services transformed their lives. Living under one roof for the past eight years had been tough, especially after Jake's mom passed away and Brad became Jake's primary caregiver. Then, COVID hit, further restricting Jake's world. Brad juggled the responsibilities of a single-parent household while working from home, all while providing round-the-clock care for Jake. Brad emphasized how Jon, Shanie (Jake's current facilitator), and Harbor SLS were “a godsend”. With Jake now settled into supported living, Brad and his other son, Riley, have moved out, enjoying their newfound independence. Jake is thriving, enjoying the activities and company at his new home. For Brad, it's a relief to be Jake's dad again rather than his full-time caregiver. They cherish their weekends together, knowing Jake is well cared for. As Brad shared his story, it was evident that he was eager to spread the word and help other families facing similar challenges. He emphasized how Harbor's services and its people had been crucial in reducing stress, repairing strained relationships, and bringing happiness to Jake, their son, and brother.

Brad expressed frustration that there was little information available about supported living services funded by the Regional Center, which Jake could have accessed earlier. He firmly believes that had he known about these services, he would have helped Jake establish his own home and life at 18, rather than waiting until he was nearly 22. Throughout all their decisions, Brad's love for his son shines through. For years, Brad drove by Harbor Supported Living Services, located in their neighborhood, but never stopped to inquire because he didn't fully understand the support available to Jake and their family. The concept of Supported Living meant little to him then, but now, having experienced it firsthand, he sees its value clearly. Brad now has a clearer vision for Jake's future and receives positive feedback from Jake's teachers and even his bus driver about Jake's happiness. With Jon as Jake's housemate and Shanie managing the team and services, everything runs smoothly. Brad no longer feels overwhelmed and overworked; instead, he enjoys being a more carefree and fun presence in Jake's life. He's grateful for the dedicated staff who have been a blessing to Jake and their family. "We must spread the word to other families," Brad emphasized, stressing the importance of making these resources available and accessible to individuals with disabilities and their families. He hopes that by sharing his story in this article for the Harbor newsletter, it will reach those who need to hear it. I was heartened to hear Brad's satisfaction with Harbor and his praise for Jon, Shanie, Jallen, Kati, Brianna, and other talented individuals they've encountered.

Supported living was born from the belief that every person, regardless of disability, should have the choice to live independently. It was conceptualized and realized in 1989 in Southern California because Joe D'onofrio and I shared the belief in honoring individual lives and choices. Brad highlighted the importance of the partnership between the person with a disability, their family, the Regional Center, and the supported living agency, emphasizing fairness, honesty, and smooth cooperation. Ultimately, we all want our loved ones to live their best lives, and it's essential for citizens across California to have the support they need to achieve the lives they once only dreamed of. Individually tailored services and supports are available to all who choose them. As we wrapped up our conversation, Brad expressed gratitude, saying he "thanks the universe for bringing this all together." I also want to extend my thanks to Brad for openly sharing both the positive experience of supported living and the challenges his family faced before discovering it. We all deeply care about Jake and the quality of his life, as well as his relationships with family and friends. Jake's infectious smile and his desire to hold the hands of those he relies on speak volumes. I want to express my appreciation to Brad, Riley, and Jake for allowing us a glimpse into their past and present. Now, together, we can dream about their future. ~ Rebecca Donofrio



SPOTLIGHTS FROM THE LIGHTHOUSE


Randy

Meet Randy, the epitome of laid-back charm. With a perpetual smile and a welcoming demeanor, Randy is your go-to guy for good vibes and great go-with-the-flow company. He thrives on meeting new people and building connections, always approaching life with a positive attitude. Whether you're up for a listening session of some great music or a game of cards, Randy is the perfect companion for a fun-filled hangout. His love for outdoor sports in Tahoe and live music reflects his adventurous spirit, and his contagious laughter is a testament to his jovial nature. Randy's knack for humor and camaraderie extends to his interactions with staff, he is known for heckling John and loves to have a good time. Beyond his infectious personality, Randy's passion for gardening shines through, as he collaborates with Kelly to cultivate a beautiful garden, delighting in sharing the fruits of their labor with others. Randy is a cherished member of our Harbor Family and one that brings light and laughter to us all.


Letty

Letty is a warm hearted individual, renowned for her culinary skills and delightful sense of humor. Her dedication to the well-being of both the individuals we support and her colleagues is unmatched. Letty's willingness to assist anyone, anytime, exemplifies her reliability and responsibility. She excels in communication with those we serve. I've known Letty since the inception of our organization, and despite numerous changes over the years, her steadfastness remains unchanged. Letty cherishes her family, and priortizes spending time with them. She is also the glue that holds many teams together, always stepping up to help when needed. Her candid opinions never fail to spark lively discussions. With Letty around, it's always an entertaining show! Her delicious cooking has fed countless of us, and we always look forward to chatting with her because of her refreshingly honest demeanor. Letty brings a wealth of experience to Harbor, with a background in healthcare. She effortlessly connects with many of the individuals we support and is always ready to lend a hand to any team in need. Her longstanding relationship with Randy, whom she has known since childhood, speaks to her genuine connection and commitment to those she serves.

UPCOMING EVENTS



Peter Leidy


WED May 8th and THURS MAY 9th
Events start at 10AM
Felton Community Center; 6191 Hwy 9, Felton

Peter has been learning from people with disabilities since 1983. Peter is a consultant, facilitator, listener, learner, improviser, and speaker who focuses on personalized supports and community membership for people with disabilities. He also writes and sings songs about human serviceland and those who find themselves connected to it. He writes ablog called “Just Curious”. Peter conducts workshops, develops training materials, writes songs, speaks and sings at conferences, and works with organizations, government agencies, families, and paid supporters to promote positive support, inclusion, building healthy relationships, and thinking differently about people who are called “challenging.” Contact admin@harborsls.org for the full schedule



Meghan's Music Jam


Friday May 17th 1:00pm - 2:00pm  Harbor Office

Have you ever wanted to learn how to play percussion instruments or brush up on your skills? Megan Oatey will offer her monthly percussion class again during May. Megan will be bringing instruments like maracas, triangles and much more. Come have a great time learning and bopping at Megan's Music Jam.


Wharf Concert Series - The Tin Man


Tuesday May 14th, 6-8 PM Santa Cruz Wharf

Every 2nd Tuesday of the month join us for live music and games from 6PM to 8PM. Every Tuesday is also Local's Tuesday, be sure to get a stamp validation from any business on the Wharf and receive 2 hours of free parking! Be sure to bring a chair or wear your dancing shoes!

Annual Camping Trip - Save the Date


Monday July 29th - Thursday Aug 1st Fernwood Resort

Our annual camping trip at Fernwood Resort in Big Sur is coming up in a few short months. This event is definitely a highlight for all the people we support, staff and families of Harbor Supported Living. Camping is open to all here at Harbor and we encourage you to come and check out what all the fuss is about. We have a wonderful time every year and create many opportunities for staff and clients to create memories of a lifetime. Please consider helping us fund raise for this special event by clicking the link above. Email admin@harborsls.org with any questions or concerns.


Nourishing Insights ~ Mary's Corner


Welcome to Nourishing Insights, Mary’s new corner of the HSLS Newsletter! Here, you'll find holistic health, wellness, and life tips and reflections as we journey together through the interconnected realms of mind, body, and spirit. As a holistic health and wellness coach, I'm dedicated to supporting you on your path to vitality, balance, and purpose. Through practical tips, empowering insights, and transformative strategies, I aim to support others in cultivating a lifestyle that nurtures not only physical health but also emotional well-being and spiritual fulfillment. n this column, expect to explore various aspects of holistic living, from nutrition and mindfulness to self-care and personal growth. Whether you're seeking guidance on improving your sleep quality, managing stress, building better habits, enhancing relationships, or unlocking your inner potential, I'm here to inspire and empower you every step of the way. Let's kick off this journey by focusing on something we could all use more of: quality sleep. In today's fast-paced world, it's easy to overlook the importance of sleep for our health and vitality. However, subtle shifts in our bedtime routines can have a profound impact on our well-being.

Here are some practical tips to help you achieve better sleep and wake up feeling refreshed: Create a relaxing bedtime ritual: Establish a soothing pre-sleep routine to signal to your body that it's time to wind down. Consider activities like reading, a cup of calming chamomile tea, magnesium mocktail (recipe included), gentle stretching, a warm bath, or practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation. Establish a consistent sleep schedule: Stick to a regular bedtime and wake-up time to regulate your body's internal clock (circadian rhythm). Over time, your body will naturally adjust to this routine, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up feeling rested. Limit screen time and light before bed: Reduce exposure to screens and artificial light at least an hour before bedtime. If you have a hard time falling asleep, make this a priority. Blue light emitted by devices can disrupt melatonin production, making it harder to fall asleep. Dimming lights around sunset and using minimal lighting can help prepare your mind for sleep. I love to use red light after sunset to minimize bright light exposure. You can buy red night lights on Amazon! Optimize your sleep environment: Create a cozy sanctuary in your bedroom that is cool, dark, and quiet. Consider the cleanliness of your space and the comfort of your mattress, pillows, and sheets. The state of our surroundings can significantly impact our sense of calm. Remember, a clean room is a clean mind! Exercise regularly: There is a bi-directional relationship between exercise and sleep. Quality sleep allows the body the energy it needs to engage in vigorous exercise, and exercise supports the body in experiencing restful sleep and recovery. It is best to avoid vigorous exercise close to bedtime, as it may stimulate your body. Manage stress: Practice stress-reduction techniques such as mindfulness to promote a state of calm before bedtime. Adaptogenic herbs help the body adapt to stress and promote balance. Consider incorporating adaptogens such as ashwagandha, known for its calming properties, into your daily routine. By incorporating these tips into your daily routine, you can cultivate better habits for quality sleep and enjoy the numerous benefits it brings. Here's to a restful night's sleep and waking up feeling revitalized!
Sweet dreams, Mary
Sweet Soul Nourishment Holistic Health and Wellness Guide

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newsletter@harborsls.org

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