Mission Minute: Connections of Hope

Mission Minute: Connections of Hope

While we continue to celebrate and recognize the many Connections of Hope that bring our New Hope community together each and every day, the word “connection” has taken on a much more specific meaning. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, New Hope has continued to provide meaningful and engaging activities for the individuals we serve including telehealth services, movie screening parties, Bible Study and bingo. We are so grateful to the associates and volunteers who have made these virtual connections possible while the world has felt a bit disconnected. We have been especially thankful to our friends at College Park Church and Northwest Indianapolis Kiwanis. We asked Christina, our Aktion Club sponsor, to share a bit about how she came to be a New Hope volunteer and what keeps her connected to New Hope and the individuals we serve.

by Christina Ferroli, NHI Volunteer

I am so proud to be a volunteer with New Hope of Indiana! It all started three years ago when I began volunteering to help out with Northwest Indianapolis Kiwanis (NWIK) Club’s Bingo night at New Hope – I was hooked! The pure joy, the spontaneity, the competitiveness and the fun of Bingo Night is always uplifting for me! Yes, uplifting because Bingo night cuts through the drudge, stress and craziness of everyday life, and the turnout for Bingo is amazing with over 25 participants per night. I marvel at how lucky some participants truly are hitting Bingo 2-3 times in one evening, and then there’s the few that never win. However, according to NWIK Club and New Hope rules, everyone is a winner at Bingo!

Later, I found out that New Hope hosted an Aktion Club, the only service club for adults with disabilities which is supported at the district level of Kiwanis and by the Kiwanis International office in Indianapolis. There are more than 12,000 Aktion Club members worldwide! The Aktion Club’s motto is where development has no disability. Their vision is to develop competent, capable, caring leaders through service and their mission is to provide adults living with disabilities an opportunity to develop initiative, leadership skill and to serve their communities.

I stepped into the role of advisor 1 1/2 years ago which worked well for me, since I had several major life changes happen at one time. I retired from Purdue Extension-Marion County after 21 years as an Extension Educator and registered dietitian in Indianapolis. I worked with a variety of audiences as an Extension Educator including youth, older adults and professional groups. I served as advisor and board member for several local and national organizations, and it was one role I wanted to continue. As a Registered Dietitian for Purdue Extension, I provided nutrition education for older adults through grant-based programs such as the Family Nutrition Program and Dining with Diabetes which I supervised for 10 plus years. I am also especially tuned into the challenges faced by individuals with disabilities having taken care of my mother who developed dementia later in life and, sadly, passed in 2019. Since then, I have become a Dementia Friends Champion through CICOA.

Just before the COVID-19 Pandemic, I launched a foods, nutrition and food safety business, Christina Ferroli Nutrition, LLC, which has allowed me to practice my Zoom virtual meeting skills. The COVID-19 Pandemic has definitely changed how we work, play and interact! I quickly shifted to an online presence and use Zoom to interact with many individuals and groups. Zoom has made keeping the Aktion Club going easier! Our monthly board meetings now happen via Zoom and instead of face-to-face activities, the Aktion Club board at New Hope now organizes activities that happen in their homes! Aktion Club is celebrating June – National Dairy Month – through a fun guess-the-number activity. The weekly winners will get a fun prize then and they get to celebrate with a yummy dairy treat that they will make! The executive board discusses and decides how to keep the Aktion Club members (plus their friends) engaged while practicing social distancing! Being stuck at home may be hard, but Aktion Club can and will have fun!

I truly appreciate being the Aktion Club’s advisor, especially during these challenging times. I was very much used to working with a variety of audiences, presenting on timely nutrition and food safety topics and being an advisor for local organizations. It’s an honor to be able to work with the Aktion Club at New Hope of Indiana. I am privileged to continue to serve and share my time, talent and resources to help make life fun and, hopefully, a little better during challenging times, keeping the individuals in Aktion Club connected. It really truly comes down to following the Aktion Club’s core values and helping each other out!

Aktion Club Core Values:

1. Character Building: The ability to do the right thing, even when it might be the unpopular choice
2. Leadership: The ability to listen, communicate, serve and guide others
3. Inclusiveness: Accepting and welcoming differences in other people
4. Caring: The act of being concerned about or interested in other people or situation

I’m so glad to be connected to New Hope and the amazing individuals in Aktion Club!

Christina Ferroli, PhD, RDN, FAND
President Christina Ferroli Nutrition, LLC
Culinary Nutritionist, Food Safety Expert, Guest Speaker

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