By MARILYN TINNIN
Purpose-Driven Sunshine at Sunnybrook
Meet Connie Holmes, Sunnybrook Retirement Home’s Activities Director. She is a petite bundle of energy and creative ideas, and she pours her heart and soul into the lives of the residents she serves. It is clear that she is a living example of what it looks like to love your life’s work and to do it all to the glory of the Lord she loves.
The Jackson native graduated from Lanier High School in 1978 and completed her associate’s degree from Utica Community College’s Barber Stylist program—a degree that has been quite valuable in the place she has landed. Connie can do anybody’s hair, and she can do it well!
As a little girl, her grandmother adopted her. Maybe that is why she grew up with a special affection for older people and a special ease in befriending them. The time came when she assumed the caretaking role for her grandmother. It just seemed like the most natural thing in the world for Connie. She approached that duty as a privilege and a joy to give back in some measure to the woman who had sacrificed so much for her for so many years.
Later, she was frequently employed by family members to sit with their elderly relatives who could no longer be left alone. Those days equipped her in countless ways to love and appreciate the seniors she cares for these days. “My heart just goes out to them. I just want to help them all I can. Sometimes they just need somebody to show them love, so I like to visit with them. If there is a problem, I want to fix it or solve it the best way I can. If I can’t solve the problem, I will find someone who can!”
Connie arrived at Sunnybrook two years ago as a sitter for one particular couple. Her outgoing personality and sweet spirit endeared her to other residents and to staff. She was hired as a part-time driver to transport residents to doctors’ appointments or on shopping trips. Her innate desire to be helpful expanded to include assisting with activities and ultimately to the position of Activities Director.
She describes herself as having a knack for crafts and a special fondness for Pinterest where she finds some of her most well received projects for her Sunnybrook friends. Planning outings is another of her duties that blesses both her and the residents. You might find them dining in a local restaurant or attending a concert or play. One of the highlights of the Christmas season is always a night trip to Canton to see the Christmas lights.
In November, Connie will attend a course offered by Mississippi Healthcare Association to become a Certified Activities Director adding an important distinction to her resume.
She is a physical fitness buff who gets up at 3:30 a.m. every day to work out at Baptist Healthplex. She also walks five miles twice a week with a national walking group, GirlTrek.
On Sunday mornings she worships at Mt. Nebo Baptist Church where she serves in their Lady Missions program and on the Usher Board.
But her heart is never far from her Sunnybrook family, and she has been known to plan an outing for the residents even on her off day simply because there happens to be a local event that her Sunnybrook friends would truly enjoy.
She says with all sincerity, “I really do think of Sunnybrook as home. I want to retire here one day.”
Methinks that is a no brainer. That is a certainty!