Insomnia in Elderly People: What to do?

In general, as we age, sleep patterns tend to change. Most people find it difficult to fall asleep and also feel that they wake up more frequently, and all this is related to the progress of the years.

As we get older, we have the feeling that we sleep less and that we are more awake, but this is really associated with the different phases of sleep, which Yosef Meystel, the founder of Aperion Care will present further in this article.

Something important to keep in mind is the strong relationship that various studies have found between alterations in mood and sleep problems.


The sleep stages

Meystel explains that throughout the night, we go through sleep cycles that last approximately 90 minutes. These cycles are divided into two parts: NON-REM sleep, which in turn is divided into four phases and REM sleep.

  • Phase I of NON-REM sleep is a mere transition between being awake and being asleep.
  • Phase II takes place approximately 10 minutes after the previous one. It is a moment in which the person is deeply asleep, however, if he is awakened, he may very well say that he was not.
  • Phase III and IV are those of deep sleep, which started approximately 15 minutes after the previous ones; It is when the body recovers.

As Meystel further explains, about 45 minutes after we go to bed, the brain activity changes and begins the phase called REM sleep or Rapid Eye movements, in which the dreams appear, with a narrative structure and in which the events unfold as if it were a story. It is the phase in which we are dreaming.

In general, most of the deep sleep is concentrated in the first third of the night. From this moment, the dream is to a greater extent REM sleep.

It seems that the time has come to answer the question that we left open in the first part.

Why tend to get less sleep when we grow older?

According to the healthcare executive, Meystel, the reason is that with the advance of the years, the time we spend in deep sleep (phases III and IV) is less, which in many cases, is associated with biological problems such as the need to go to the bathroom, the pain associated with a chronic illness or anxiety problems.

With all these changes, the result is that in older people, sleep is not enough to restore the body from the wear and tear suffered during all the hours we have been awake, so the number of daytime naps is increased.

And let’s not think that it is necessary to reach very advanced ages to suffer these changes since they begin to appear between 35 and 50 years.

How does lack of sleep affect us?

Not sleeping the necessary time to restore us causes important consequences that diminish the quality of life of the person:

  • At the cognitive level, problems of attention and concentration appear, response time is slower and day-to-day functioning is altered.
  • On a psychological level, you can notice a worsening of the mood and, mainly, that the symptoms of anxiety increase.
  • On a physical level, we will notice a loss of energy during the day.

How can we resolve the insomnia problem?

When we suffer from insomnia, the first thing you can do is to see your physician who will give you a medication to alleviate it. The founder of Aperion Care, Meystel points out that among the most commonly used drugs are hypnotics, quite safe but with the disadvantage that their effectiveness can be lost if we get used to it. Furthermore, we stop using them, they can cause the well-known abstinence syndrome.

Also, there are psychology treatments that help to combat sleep problems.

While they are slower and require more patience, they will not have side effects and their benefits will remain over time. These treatments are directed towards the change of maladaptive habits in relation to sleep, identifying and modifying habits and lifestyles that are incompatible with sleep (sleep hygiene), beliefs modification and inadequate thoughts about sleep through cognitive restructuring techniques and learning relaxation techniques.

Some recommendations to keep in mind:

Make sure that sleeping problems are not caused by another problem such as anxiety, chronic pain, etc.

Avoid stimulants such as caffeine for 3 or 4 hours before bedtime. Also, do intense physical exercise or mental activity.

Do moderate exercise in the afternoon.

Do not eat protein or fat foods at night. Take a light dinner and do not go to bed hungry or thirsty.

Try to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time each morning.

Establish regular pre-sleep routines to indicate that the time to go to bed is approaching.

Use the bed only to sleep, not for other things like reading or watching television.

If you cannot fall asleep after 20 minutes, get up and do an activity in silence such as reading or listening to music.

Avoid naps longer than 20 minutes. If you suffer from insomnia, avoid sleeping during the day.

Try to have a dark room, without noise, well ventilated and with a temperature between 18 and 22 ºC.

If you still cannot sleep, Meystel recommends checking with your physician. For more information and suggestions, schedule an appointment with Meystel. Also, you can follow him on Twitter or Facebook.


Aperion Care Offers Seniors-Protected Environment and Specialized Care

Living in an assisted-living facility offers seniors a protected environment to help insulate them from possible abuse. Aperion Care owns and manages a number of nursing homes across Illinois, Indiana and Texas. The founder and president, Yosef Meystel, explains the benefits and advantages of nursing homes over home care.

Assistance with daily tasks

As people are getting older, the difficulty for dealing with the daily tasks increases. They need somebody to help them with the daily activities, such as bathing, dressing, eating, drinking, using restroom, running errands and administering medicine. Nursing homes, like Aperion Care, provide assistance to their residents with all this daily activities.

Social environment

While living alone at home, many seniors suffer from depression, due to lack of socialization. Besides, living in a nursing facility provides seniors with a built-in social network of their peers. They can enjoy the company of others who are living in the same facility and share their experiences. Aperion Care offers social events and games that are open for participation to all residents.

House keeping

Cleaning and housekeeping can be very difficult task for many elderly people. Yosef Meystel states that, the staff of Aperion Care is taking care of laundry service, dry cleaning and general cleaning services.

Food service

Following a popper diet and meeting the nutrition requirements can be difficult if the senior people are living alone. At Aperion Care meal plans are designed to cater to different tastes and dietary requirements of its residents. The meals are prepared with the help of a licensed dietitian to ensure that their residents are enjoying a healthy and balanced diet.

Health care services

The greatest and most crucial advantage of living in a nursing home are the personalized health care services offered 24/7. These services typically include regular administration of daily prescriptions, medical attention when needed, emergency medical services, 24-hour health monitoring services etc.

Aperion Care is staffed by registered nurses and personnel. They have the ability to provide specialized health care to senior suffering from serious diseases, such as dementia, Parkinson’s, cancer or diabetes. The level of the individualized care goes above and beyond the care that family members can provide.


As people are getting older, they can become targets of physical, emotional and financial abuse. Aperion Care offers seniors a protected environment to help insulate them from possible abuse. They are always supervised and their safety is guaranteed.

Access to resources

Aperion Care’s nursing home staff will help residents find the information they need quickly and efficiently. They don’t have to worry about learning how to use the internet or holding on the phone while trying to obtain information.

Relieving your family

Many family members don’t have time to care for the elderly parents or relatives. They have their own lives with busy work schedules, children, obligations, etc.  Often, they don’t have enough time to attend to their own personal lives and at the same time provide constant care to their elderly family members. By living in a nursing home seniors are taking a burden off the family members. Also, they are provided with professional care 24/7.

Beautiful interior and exterior

Many of the nursing facilities provide beautiful interior and exterior with all the amenities that are facilitating the life of the elderly people.

Recently Aperion Care opened a new luxurious nursing facility in Illinois. This nursing facility offers a luxurious exterior and interior, highly accessible and suited for comfortable operation, even for residents who have physical difficulties. The concept is based on hotel accommodation, but it is also fully equipped with medical equipment and aids for tenants who will need such help.

Operation ASHA: a tuberculosis-free world

So you may ask yourself, what does TB and Chicago´s philanthropy world have in common and how are they related? It is a good question to ask yourself since tuberculosis is a disease that has already been cured in the United States and in most 1st world countries. So, why does Chicago help out on this mission? Here, Yosef Meystel is answering this question.

The offices in Chicago Illinois are located at this address: P.O. Box A3883, Chicago, IL 60690-3883.  This office has the big job of recruiting people who want to help out with a problem that is not affecting them directly but it is affecting many other people around the world, especially in 3rd world countries such as India and Cambodia.


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But what exactly is TB and how does it affect a community in 3rd world countries, specially very poor third world countries? Let’s take a look.

DS-TB or Drug-Sensitive TB is a respiratory bacteria that in the initial stages is easy to cure within 8 to 10 months. When it is still in the first stages it is easy to cure and to treat, can be treated by community health workers and has minimal side effects. In order to diagnose TB properly, a  smear microscopy procedure is administered which is a technique that is very cheap and widely available but a lot of people don’t know about it and are ignorant on the matter. The thing is that if TB is not addressed in the first stages it will become a  Drug-Resistant TB, which is a whole different game that is expensive and very difficult to treat.  

In India for example, TB is becoming a serious social and economic problem with many labor workers suffering from this disease and being absent from work for long periods of time. The numbers are scary with almost  100,000 female patients who are left aside due to their condition and with 300,000 children in labor due to their parents suffering TB and because they have to take care of their parents and family. It is a vicious cycle where youngsters are starting to suffer from TB at early stages due to their hard work and not eating very well, just like their parents but in their teens or early 20s. all this information makes  TB  one of the biggest health problems in India.

So what is it that they do and how is Chicago related to this? Well, their mission is to give access to health services and high quality, affordable medication to communities that are in poverty conditions and simply do not have the means to go their treatments centers or hospitals. If people could go to hospitals and centers to get their medication, this problem wouldn’t exist, but, operation ASHA gives the last step of the process by taking the services to their doorsteps.  So, in summary, we can say that Operation ASHA works with 3rd world countries and in the poorest places in India and Cambodia.

In Chicago Illinois, the center is dedicated to acquiring drugs and volunteers to go out and help people in those aforementioned 3rd world countries. This makes ASHA Chicago one of the few charity institutions addressing this issue in India. People may think that it is a long shot and that India is very far, but the problem can come back stronger than ever to 1st world countries where TB was eradicated many years ago. So, the Chicago chapter makes the ASHA project a worldwide issue by including one of the most important countries in the world to eradicate this disease and prevent it from coming back to countries where the illness had be cured.


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The story comes from the back of Rd. Shelly Batra and Sandeep Ahuja who founded Operation ASHA in 2006. Their first goal was to cure TB and then open a line to deliver medication and health services to the most underprivileged. Shortly after, the USA chapter was open in Chicago, making that center one of the most important places to receive donations and volunteers.

Since India was declared by the UN as the top priority for TB in the world, they are tackling India first. Then came Cambodia. The thing is that the UN also declared this disease as a global emergency in 2003  and in India the numbers have gone up to the point where the problem is now an epidemic issue.

As for today,  OpASHA covers 4,000 slums in nine Indian states and two provinces in Cambodia by giving them education and receiving donations and volunteers from the USA, specially from their chapter in Chicago who are extremely involved in the issue of preventing the problem from spreading worldwide.

Be sure to also read this post about Keshet: an institution that provides love and care to people with disabilities.

Keshet: Life and Love for Those with Disabilities

When we think about the most pressing issues cities have to deal with, we wonder about poverty, starvation, illiteracy, and other situations that may negatively affect the environment and our local communities. Usually, we look for solutions to these problems and create NGO’s and nonprofit organizations dedicated to providing the necessary resources some people are lacking. However, just a few of us are able to identify the lack of resources available to help individuals with disabilities as a pressing issue.


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Statistics show that in the United States over 12 percent of the population has reported a disability. This means that more than 32 million people in the country are having a difficult time doing things that for most of us are simple and taken for granted. Also, 10 percent of the population in Illinois has reported having a disability, which means that at least 1,300 people need help and support to live a regular life.

These numbers are shocking and few people stop and look for solutions to help improve the life quality of individuals with reported disabilities. However, Yosef Meystel, the healthcare professional, knows that in Chicago, there is an organization that has been working to serve individuals with disabilities. This organization is called Keshet and it is a nonprofit recognized as one of the most inspiring and innovative Jewish organizations in America.

What is Keshet?

The word Keshet means “rainbow” in Hebrew. This idea of protecting diversity and empowering people of all ages with reported disabilities is what makes Keshet the rainbow that most Chicagoans need to follow to find the pot full of gold.

Keshet is a nonprofit organization that serves over seventy zones in Chicago. It has an international approach and offers consultations from experts from all around the globe, moved by the idea of doing whatever necessary to help individuals with disabilities to reach their highest potential. This mission is what keeps the organization alive.

Both children and adults are served in the same way and the organization members do whatever is in their hands to allow them to overcome intellectual and physical challenges. This is how Keshet serves over 1,000 individuals with special needs every year, touching the lives of many, including family members, supporters, peers and stakeholders around the world.


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How did it start?

Keshet was born 35 years ago. Since day one, students, residents, employees and campers with special need in more than seventy different zones in the Chicago area and the Midwest have been supported by the organization.

During these 35 years, the organization has trained more than 15,000 staff members to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities. Staff members are always willing to become better versions of themselves to develop successful programs of inclusion. Also, Keshet integrates nearly 100 local leaders from extremely different backgrounds to provide the necessary inspiration, funding, and direction to fulfill the nonprofit’s mission: doing whatever necessary to let individuals with special needs meet their highest potential.

Beliefs and Values

Keshet believes that anyone should have the opportunity to work, learn, have fun, and live in a way that enhances love, self-esteem, and self-respect. For this reason, members of Keshet are served as important members of their community and are encouraged to enjoy life alongside regular developing peers. This way, becoming an active part of the community represents a reward and promotes love and acceptance.

There are some values that have to guide the organization to become what it is today:

  1.    Every member of the community should be an active participant of its development, regardless its age or disability they all should have the same opportunities.
  2.    There are no specific criteria for program acceptance. Individuals with complicated needs are welcomed to the program.
  3.    No one should be turned away because of its inability to pay for Keshet services. The organization works restlessly to find donors, foundations, and partners to keep tuition fees at a low cost and offer scholarships.
  4.    Every member of the organization is invited to share its history of success, this way the organization aims to involve stakeholders in the life of the community led by the organization.

Keshet Programs

The organization aims to integrate students, employees, residents and campers to their community by carefully designing experiences and programs that are relevant and successful for participants and their peers.

There are many programs that include education, adult, camps, Sunday, recreation and residential programs. All of them work hard to bring people together, eliminating barriers of discrimination and teaching individuals to participate in the local community. Anyone who has the time and desires to work at Keshet is welcomed.

Programs are usually individualized and integrate several concepts and consultative services. They are available for individuals from kindergarten to adulthood and are meant to be shaped based on personal needs. The organization understands that we are all different and disabilities should be treated in a special way.

Gleaners Community Food Bank: a hunger-free community in southeast Michigan

What is better than a hot meal at the end of a cold day? Or a good breakfast to start your day with energy and good vibrations? Well, maybe there is nothing better than that and sometimes all of us take that for granted.

Yosef Meystel, the owner of a number of nursing homes through Midwestern, states that, some people just don’t have the privilege of having the 3 meals required per day, or they cannot have access to healthy food. These people have to rely on charities such as Gleaners Community Food Bank to have their meals and live a more or less normal life.

Let’s take a look at this charity and what is it that they do for the community.

Gleaners Community Food Bank mission statement is to give homes and houses access to healthy, sufficient and nutritious food for people living in conditions that are not human or healthy. This is all done by using collaboration, education, innovative solutions and efficient operations.


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Gleaners Community Food Bank and their wide community network fight hunger in Southeastern Michigan.  The idea that Gleaners has is to distribute nutritional, high-quality food and by using the education, they want to reduce dependency on the emergency food system.

They have their main offices in Detroit and they have five distribution centers located in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston and Monroe counties.  They give an amazing amount of food to  534 partner soup kitchens, shelters, food pantries, and many other charities or agencies in Southeastern Michigan. To get an idea of the amount of impact and work that Gleaners does, you just have to take a look at the amount of food they collect each year: almost 39 million pounds of food a year and a daily distribution of 89,000 meals;  they also provide nourishing food and education for a healthy nutrition for more than 84,000 children every year.


Gleaners has a strategic plan that contemplates the idea of reducing hunger in southeast Michigan and teach self-sufficiency to people that really need it and can use it to provide for their community.  They are convinced that the emergency food is not enough to solve the hunger problem and they decided to give a helping hand to the issue. For this strategic plan they have 3 pillars:

  1. Nourishing hope:  the idea here is to lower cost and use local farmers to provide for the community
  2. Sustaining hope: this is where they educate people on how to shop and how to be healthy when they eat.
  3. Advancing hope: here they engage everybody: agencies, volunteers, and donors.


The story comes directly from this person: Gene Gonya who lived in Ohio and had a childhood surrounded by nature. When he was only 19, he became a Brother in the Jesuit Religious Community and followed their idea of  “doing all for the greater honor and glory of God.”

In 1977, Gene went to be part of the catholic church and in April he started the idea of the Gleaners Community Food Bank. He rented a floor in a warehouse next to the Capuchin Soup Kitchen and the idea behind the food bank was to accept and solicit food, store it safely, and then take it to the agencies who are the ones in charge of distributing it. The food bank was the only one that could accept large amounts of food from Gene’s family farm, keep it and then distribute it to the agencies. This is because none of the agencies have the capacity to accept such truckloads of food.

Apart from Gleaners, who was one of the first food banks in the United States, Gene also created another food bank called Second Harvest, which is now called Feeding America.

Gene is now a very important man and has received many prizes and honors due to his job.  He appeared in the reader’s digest magazine in August 1983 and had a part in the book  They Light Up Our Life, by Will Hardy that talks about all the outstanding people in Detroit.



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Gleaners is very important for people who need food the most. They know that in the USA and abroad there are many products that are about to be disposed just because people just don’t have any idea on how to handle them or just because they don’t know how to take that surplus to the market.

Gleaners has some methods to manage big amounts of all kinds of food. The process goes something like this: Gleaners collects donations from all type of stores and supermarkets including retailers and groceries stores and even van drivers; then they collect and sort the food so it can be easily distributed; then they distribute the food to partner agencies and shelters; and finally, they nourish the community.

Did you like this post? Be sure to also read this post about A Non-profit that is helping families solve their issues in Chicago

A Nonprofit Helping Families Solve Their Issues in Chicago

Big cities are great places to live in but they also have major issues to deal with. As one of the biggest cities in the United States, Chicago is not the exception to this statement. Statistics show that some Chicagoans are starving, others are victims of abuse or come from a broken family. Many nonprofits work to address some of the most pressing issues from different perspectives. Yosef Meystel knows that there is one nonprofit in particular that works helping families in need throughout the Chicago area and it is called Jewish Child & Family Services (JCFS).


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JCFS has been working for Chicagoans for over 160 years. It is a nonprofit organization committed to guiding families in the Chicago area that need help solving their crisis and pressing issues. All services provided by JCFS are based on Jewish values, which aim to strengthen the lives involved in local communities. Also, the organization is partner with some charitable foundations in Illinois such as the Jewish United Fund of Chicago, Rainbow Hospice and Palliative Care, and the Center for Independent Futures

Regardless your background or religion JCFS wants everyone to know that they are not alone with their struggle and anguish. They can always count on the support of the JCFS’ highly skilled staff members, which are always willing to provide community members with advice, training, and solutions to care for children, teens, older adults and their families. This way, JCFS has given its support to over 26,000 people each year, having a positive impact on its community.

JCFS as an organization counts with a strategic plan that aims to have a positive impact in Chicago within the next three years. Over 1,000 stakeholders participated in the development of this plan, including clients, staff, board, donors, volunteers, and Chicago community members.

Who Can Be Helped by JCFS?

The answer is simple: anyone! JCFS is there for all Chicagoans who need support. No matter if you are dealing with autism, a cognitive problem, or even alcoholism, JCFS is always going to be there to offer support with advanced illnesses, special training, and education, counseling for individuals or families, among other initiatives.

According the owner of residential homes and philanthropist, it is a matter of engagement and reciprocity. JCFS only asks its members to engage with the programs and volunteer helping others, this way you can contribute to the growth of the organization and guarantee there is going to be there for you in case you need it. It is all about transformational change conducted by the same members of the community that understand its needs and care about solving them.

JCFS offers a wide variety of programs based on the diversity of its members. They can offer to counsel and care for abused and neglected youth, as well as therapy for adults and children who have dealt with traumatic experiences or difficult circumstances. Also, JCFS offers support services for people with disabilities and their caregivers or families, among other services such as general counseling, special education, grief counseling and special education.

The organization’s talented staff is prepared to help children and their families regardless their religion, ethnicity, color, national origin, gender or sexual orientation. Everyone is welcomed to participate in inclusive activities and camps, support one another and engage with an organization that is always willing to help families in the Chicago area.


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Mission and Values

Jewish Child & Family Services aims to provide adults, children, and families with vital, results-driven, supportive, individualized and therapeutic services. No matter the background, each year the organizations is committed to helping individuals facing challenges with mental health, life transitions, basic human needs and any type of disability.

For this reason, the organization’s statement is to provide the necessary conditions to anyone in the community in order to make it stronger while helping it with its problems. This powerful statement is the one that impulses JCFS to become the best connection to get trusted and innovative care.

JCFS values are based on Jewish values and are oriented to care for life in a responsible way. The words Tikkun Olam refer to the idea of repairing the world and making it more perfect. This is one of the most important values for the organization, which aims to create a model society, responsible for the welfare of every human being. This means contributing to social justice, helping others heal and care for them.

The process of ensuring that the mental health needs of the community are addressed and that the organization is going to do everything that is at hand to do its best for its clients and members are also some of the core values of JCFS.   

The main mission is to always strive for excellence while supporting, protecting and nurturing families in Chicago. It is necessary to understand what families are going through in order to be able to help them. Always keeping in mind that communities are essential to living and for this reason, it is vital to keep them healthy and strengthen


The Mariners Inn: providing for homeless people and drug abusers

Being homeless or having a drug problem is a very difficult situation for the person, friends, and family. It is a spiral where people get so involved that it is just very difficult to get out of it.

According to Yosef Meystel statistics from researches, in Detroit, the drug problem and the homelessness problem has risen to levels never imagined before. Fortunately, there are places and people willing to help. One of those places is at 445 Ledyard St Detroit, Michigan and its name is the Mariners Inn.  They have been helping people in need since 1925 and here is their brief story and some of the services they provide.


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What the Mariners Inn does is to help people that are fighting homelessness and substance abuse by giving them social services that take the best out of them and have the best possible results. They provide 24-hour residential treatments for drug users and for adult homeless people and are focused on providing a really good and complete therapeutic environment.

The story started back in the year 1925 in the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan and it was the first licensed, full-service treatment center that took care of homeless people and tried to help with substance abuse.  The Mariners Inn was first called the Detroit Protestant Episcopal City Mission Society. In the year 1934, the headquarters moved to a building owned by the Board of Trustees of Mariners’ Church and it was redesigned to make it a hotel type of shelter where housing, food, and clothing were given to people that were in real need.  In 1955 the building was used for another purpose and the Mariners Inn moved to Cass and Ledyard.  As for today, the Mariners Inn is a very well-known center that has professional approaches that actually work. The  Mariners Inn is legally running with all the certificates and the permits that are needed and it is considered a residential and outpatient treatment centre  that answers to the Office of Substance Abuse Services for the State of Michigan Department of Public Health and it has the certification and support of the Commission for the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).

As for their mission, it is to give people a complete and really good substance abuse approach so they can become law-abiding citizens, gain their confidence back and their independence from their substance or problem.


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So how do they do it? They think that recovery is real and here are some of their programs for people to come to life again:


This is where most people start in order to go to the Mariners Inn. They receive people starting at the age of 18 and they handle very complex problems such as trauma, developmental disabilities, economic problems, legal problems, loss, miseducation or lack of it and many other things that come with the streets.

As for the treatment, it consists of 12 steps, interviews, behavioral therapy, artistic expression and many other disciplines and activities designed to restore self-confidence and social behavior.  The curriculum is aimed at topics that really give men the opportunity to be part of society again such as how to be a parent, good relations, HIV, how addictions work, anger management and many other topics that really address the problem.


Another service that the Mariners provides is the alternative therapy that uses art to heal all the problems men take to the shelter. The art program objective is to give men a way to express themselves and to let go of emotions and fears by using the tools they need to produce any type of artistic expression that comes from their creativity.  The program is managed by a tutor but there are free open hours for people that wish to continue with their art for more hours than normal.

As part of the art program, the Mariners Inn has a Choir where they get the people involved in creating music that brings wellness and reduces stress. The Choir is very good for people that don’t make healthy  brain connections and with communication problems  

This program was designed by two volunteers with a music class given every week for the people in other programs at the Mariners Inn.  It then went to be a very big program with presentations in the Grosse Pointe Rotary Club and the St. John Open Arms Program’s yearly grief memorial.


Taking care of a garden has amazing benefits that can give people the understanding of the soil and earth and the space around them. It teaches patience, enhances imagination, sparks anticipation and gives people a sense self-pride and self-confidence.  The Urban Garden, called Growing Dreams, became part of the Grown in Detroit cooperative which gave the people involved the chance to learn about retail and many other topics related to gardening.

Be sure to also read this amazing post about philanthropy in Ohio and what they are doing to make it better every day.