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Boomers are doing great things in their communities
heerios is proud to offer Goodness Grants to Baby Boomers doing great things in their communities. We congratulate the following Goodness Grant winners, who were nominated by their friends, neighbors and the beneficiaries of their good deeds. Across the board, the submissions were kind, heartwarming and full of great actions, showing us we’re all winners when we give back to our community.
After seeing a news report about a boxing program tailored to patients with Parkinson’s Disease, Jennifer Enslein investigated further to see if it could help her husband, who had been diagnosed with the disease. She discovered there were no program operators in her area, so she started her own. Enslein worked with a local community center to start Rock Steady Boxing, free of charge, for those with PD in her area. Per her husband, Spencer, she turned his condition into a vehicle to help others. When the program started two years ago, there were 12 boxers. Now, 140 participate in the program.
A few years ago, retired teacher and avid volunteer, Terry Nelson discovered that kids in the area were in need of nutritional meals to carry them through their weekends away from school. So Nelson and some of his friends created a backpack-packing program that provides nutritional food items for kids in need. Every week, Nelson drives upwards of 60 miles to pick up healthy foods to be packed up on Fridays and distributed to kids in the community.
The Golden Notes choir spreads the joy of music throughout its community. Janet Ediger serves as the director of the volunteer-based choir, full of people who love to sing. The group travels throughout their county, performing at churches, senior centers, area events and assisted living facilities. Choir members say that Ediger brings a wide range of music to the group to practice and perform, including easy numbers and more challenging songs that require hard work to learn and get right. The effort pays off when they’re able to perform for their community, and experience the joy felt by the audience.
A pediatric cancer diagnosis can result in an entire family uprooted from their home to a location closer to the hospital providing treatment. When Joanne McTague learned that families of patients at the local hospital were sleeping in lounge chairs or cars while their children underwent treatment, she was heartbroken. She stepped into action with a plan to help these families find accommodations in the area. Her passion and hard work lead to Yellow Door Foundation. The nonprofit, started in 2017, provides lodging and support for hospital patients and their families. The Yellow Door apartments are fully furnished and provide a clean and safe environment for immunocompromised patients and their families.
he TODAY Brand Studio, together with Cheerios, visited two previous Goodness Grant winners in their towns to see the good work they're doing in their communities. Watch their stories below.
Good Night Lights, Goodness Grant Recipient
Steve Brosnihan was looking for a way to show patients at Hasbro Children’s Hospital that the world outside was supporting them. A small gesture — flashing his bicycle light toward the windows of the children’s rooms at bedtime — showed that he was thinking of the patients. As time went on, Brosnihan recruited local residents and business owners to join in the nightly tradition. Now, the community rallies around the kids, flashing their Good Night Lights as a sign of support every night.
Band Leader, Goodness Grant Recipient
When Frank Abel heard his hometown high school’s music program was struggling, he came out of retirement to bring it back. Despite a career working with famous musical acts, teaching is his real joy, he says. Since taking the reins at Roosevelt High School, students in the band feel confident, accomplished and like they have a purpose.