Health Team

Angels in Aprons bring cheer, healing to nursing homes

Posted December 3, 2009 1:07 p.m. EST
Updated December 3, 2009 6:22 p.m. EST

— A group of volunteers is spreading cheer and healing to residents of nursing homes and rehabilitation centers in the Triangle.

With the help of many volunteers, Stephanie Young founded the Angels in Aprons nonprofit three years ago as a community outreach to the elderly residents.

"They get excited when they see us, because we always do everything to help," Young said. "We entertain. We talk, we love, (and we) make real good friends."

Young explained that if residents become sad and unmotivated, it can make their care more difficult. But volunteers' friendly faces can help drive away the blues, she said.

"A lot of people, they get depressed when they come into a center," she said. "Once they come out and they meet us, they discover, I don't want to do go home."

Volunteers preach, play piano and guitar and spend one-on-one time with residents. Young said she believes the singing, games and theme days volunteers do are a healing experience for residents.

"They get up and want to go to their rehab. They get up. They want to get dressed," she said.

Francis Legg said she's grateful for the volunteers who visit her aunt, Iko Jordan, at Sunnybrook Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Raleigh.

"Without people like Stephanie and Angels in Aprons, there wouldn't be anybody for her when I'm not here," Legg said.

The nonprofit coordinates a Pockets Full of Blessings drive to collect school supplies and Christmas gifts. Volunteers also hold food drives to help residents' families and throw special meals.

"Try it one time, and you're hooked," volunteer Taneka Gaddy said.

"I look at it to say that God has blessed us," Sunnybrook resident Chester Broadway said.