Every Tuesday afternoon, you will find Teresa and Russ Mildenhall volunteering their time and expertise leading a dance class on the Donegal Resident Home Area at St. Pat’s. Donegal is primarily home to residents experiencing dementia and memory challenges, which Russ and Teresa have first-hand experience with from each of their parents.
Both Teresa and Russ are ballroom dancers themselves and it’s definitely in their blood. Both of Russ’ parents and Teresa’s father were dancers. It’s clear they feel very passionate about it and see it as a way to connect with residents, to reach their souls and find that spark within them. When asked what they enjoy most about volunteering, they say that it is “seeing the spark in residents’ eyes. It’s hard to put into words, it just feels good. It warms the heart.”
With a fondness for St. Pat’s as well as the Home’s respectful and person-centred approach to care, the Mildenhalls were driven to do more to improve residents’ day-to-day lives. This led them to approach the Foundation with an idea and a wish to set up a fund that would impact residents directly.
Thus, the Four Saints Fund Endowment Fund, was created last year by the Mildenhalls, and is inspired by their families and the following four saints:
- Cecilia, Patron Saint of Musicians: for activities that bring music for the enjoyment of residents;
- Vitus, Patron Saint of Dancers: for activities that encourage appreciation or participation in dance;
- Therese of Liseux, known for her acts of kindness: for financial support of residents of limited means to participate in enrichment activities organized by the home; and
- Antony of Padua, Doctor of the Church and Patron Saint for the recovery of lost items: for residents diagnosed with dementia, to support activities that encourage their participation in activities and personal growth.
It is their hope that the Four Saints Fund will provide sustainable, long-term funding to directly help with improving and meeting residents’ needs for quality of life where no other funding is available.
Russ and Teresa firmly believe that “it’s about what will make the residents happy today, so that when they go to sleep at night, they know that they’ve lived their lives to the fullest every day.”
If you would like to learn more about how you can leave a legacy of care for the residents at St. Patrick’s Home, please contact Ruth Catana at 613-731-4660 Ext. 350 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.