When Amy Holmes started an internship at Walker Methodist in 2015, she was fulfilling one of her core values: getting outside her comfort zone. For 16 weeks, she worked with the therapeutic recreation team and quickly found a passion for bringing her love of adventure to residents at the Health Center in Minneapolis.
“This was something I’ve never done before. I just wanted to try it out, and I ended up loving it,” Amy said. “Walker’s approach aligned with my idea of loving life and living to the fullest.”
Now, Amy serves as a therapeutic recreation coordinator at the Health Center, where she continues to share her love for adventure with residents in meaningful ways. “Despite any ailments, injuries, or age––I believe that nothing should restrict us from doing the things we love. That’s important to me, and I get to bring my passion to work each day,” she explained. “I want to give people a joy to live. I hope to make a difference by making people happy.”
As part of the therapeutic recreation team, Amy helps provide programs and activities that meet the emotional, social, intellectual, physical, and spiritual needs of residents. Through large groups and one-on-one connections, Amy builds relationships and brings joy to others, offering a helping hand to those willing to step outside of their comfort zones, too. “We work hard to provide groups, programs, and options that meet people at any level. Residents of all abilities are all welcome.”
Believing that making a difference often starts with a smile, Amy gathers excitement from the joy of residents. “When residents are happy, I’m happy. I love the people I get to spend my days with, both residents and team members,” she commented. “I work with so many kindhearted, intelligent, and hardworking people. They love residents, and they love what they do. The people make my work worth it.”
Amy’s role allows for creativity and new ideas. While thinking of new programming, she makes sure everything is ready, gathers materials, coordinates calendars, and participates in weekly care conferences. Her team’s goal, even if the activity or program changes, is to give residents what they want and need. Of course, Amy and her team faced a new set of challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pivoting at a moment’s notice, they coordinated window visits, set up video calls, and scheduled outdoor visits. They led hallway activities, went door-to-door with treat carts, and brought traveling entertainment to residents. Music programs were broadcasted through TVs. “We’re here to empower residents to keep doing what they love. During the height of the pandemic, we really focused on connecting residents with their families,” she reflected. “We had to get creative, but even though our methods changed, our mission didn’t.”
Each day, Amy strives to lead and love by example. Her passion for life and people can be seen through her willingness to listen, words of encouragement, and tendency to crack a joke at just the right moment. Her own words sum up her role at the Health Center perfectly: “I truly love life, and I want those around to love it, too. I believe that adventure, at any age, is a huge part of that, so I want to bring others along on that journey.”