Voices from the House – Why Volunteer?

Voices from the House – Why Volunteer?

The new year is a popular time to make resolutions or intentions. You may be looking for a new approach to being happier, healthier, more productive, or finding a way to show gratitude. I can offer from experience that volunteering is a satisfying resolution to explore.

Check out this article on how important volunteering can be to health and well-being. There seems to be a magical elixir which connects helping others to helping yourself.

On a personal level, my initial connection with Wellness House began with my husband, Paul’s diagnosis of prostate cancer in 2012. His treatment consisted of external radiation and was very successful. He’s doing great.

Then in 2013, my 10-year younger sister began an arduous 3.5 year battle with lung cancer. She lived in another state, and couldn’t take advantage of the services of Wellness House. During certain times of treatment, I became her caregiver. She was fiercely independent, so by her choice my stays were limited.

In 2015, I volunteered as a house hostess because I felt the need to absorb the strength and support of the House and hoped to find ideas for my sister to explore. I attended the Caregiver Support Group and met others in similar situations. Sadly, she passed away on June 20, 2016. My bond with Wellness House was set.

Volunteering means so much to me. Everyone is different and brings unique skills and interests to the table. The Wellness House has many needs and volunteers can find a satisfying place. For me, it has been organizing the book club, occasionally writing blogs, and working on research. When the time is right, I plan to return to being a house hostess.

Due to the challenges of Covid, all events are online and as we have seen, the excellent programs being offered are bringing members, volunteers, and staff together – face to face on Zoom. If you would like to volunteer in any way, please contact the Wellness House team at admin@annapoliswellnesshouse.org

Currently Recruiting for:
  • Administrative Support                                                                                                                                                          Data entry, scanning, electronic filing, follow-up phone calls… If you love supporting an administrative role, we have it all! Of course some of these tasks will need to wait until we can safely return to the house… but much can be done from afar. We would really appreciate someone or a couple of people  who are computer savvy and would like to help with scheduling, and various ongoing projects, which can be done from home with internet access and a computer. 
  • Prayer Chain Support                                                                                                                                                      Wellness House understands the need for connection and positivity. That type of support comes in many forms and we want to embrace them all! If you are interested in participating in a Wellness Prayer Chain (on either end of the chain) offering positive energy or receiving positive energy in a way that suits your spiritual practice.
  • Wellness House Well-Wisher                                                                                                                                      Sometimes you just need someone to talk to, someone to listen… and those people who are there for you are so important! We are looking for well-wishers to connect with members who need that kindness and compassion.
  • ZOOM Meeting Support                                                                                                                                                Recurring support starting meetings, and recording member attendance.

If you would like to help support any of these roles, please send us an email at admin@annapoliswellnesshouse.org (specifying what you are interested in helping with) and we will give you a call to discuss all of the details.                      We can’t wait to speak with you!

Voices from the House – The Power of Music

Voices from the House – The Power of Music

Terri Fevang - Program & Development Director

I’ve got a little secret…

On the outside, I am the Program and Development Director at Wellness House of Annapolis. I love designing and implementing programs that support the healing of the body, mind and spirit, and championing our mission to raise money so we can keep our resources free to those who need us. I am honored, lucky and blessed to be able to be here to help sustain and grow this amazing community resource.

But…

Inside, I am really a musician who constantly hears the music of the universe in my head. I am always interpreting the glorious sounds I hear in the hopes that I can bring this music to the world, and it will help people feel better.

I’ve been a musician pretty much my whole life…

My mother told me I started asking at the age of 3 to take piano lessons. My piano teacher wouldn’t let me start until I was 5. I studied until the age of 18. However, I always had my own ear, my own way of hearing the music, of interpreting it on the piano. I used to write flourishes to classical music I was learning, and my teacher would yell at me “You can’t improve Chopin”! It was never about improving. It was about what I was feeling as I was playing. I would hear other things in the music and my hands would just play it…lots of fun when you are playing your own music but not a great idea when you are preparing Mozart, Beethoven, or Chopin for a piano competition! Turns out judges like the music the way it was written.

Later in my life…

As I studied to become a therapeutic musician, I would realize why I always heard the music within the music. Music and sound are some of the most powerful healing tools on the planet. Our bodies are made up of constantly vibrating energy. The different frequencies of music and sound are interacting with the body on subconscious levels (your whole body hears, not just your ears). The power comes in recognizing what kinds of sounds resonate with you and listening with “intention”. Just like you are drawn to certain colors, or design, or books, or aspects of nature, music is a very personal thing. When you find your “thing”, you have found a part of your soul that, when tended to, can help you to balance your body, mind and spirit.

Try this…

Find a piece of music that you love, or even just like. Sit comfortably in a quiet place, play that music (preferably with headphones) and listen like you are a detective trying to establish all of the pieces of a puzzle. You might notice rhythm (what kind?) or a piano, or a string section, woodwinds, etc. Then focus in on what is really touching you and reaching deep inside to make you feel something. Identify the feeling, where it is in your body, and let yourself really feel it! Go with the feeling until it runs its course, and a feeling of peace washes over you. It may take a few tries to find the right music. That is okay! Because once you start listening with intention, you begin to relate to music, ALL music, as a friend, meeting you right where you are, and finding the places within you that need attention, kindness, love.

As we welcome a new year…

I invite you to walk towards music that makes you feel something. Embrace the call, the beauty, the pain, and allow the places deep inside you to be heard and healed. Cry, laugh, sing out loud! Singing is breathing, and breathing is life. You don’t have to sing on key to breathe! Just embrace the friends you will find in the music and feel better.

Once you begin this relationship with music, “Oh, the places you’ll go!”

Wellness House Announces Generous Memorial Donation from Michael Kurtz, in Honor of Cherie Loustaunau

Wellness House Announces Generous Memorial Donation from Michael Kurtz, in Honor of Cherie Loustaunau

Wellness House Announces Generous Memorial Donation from Michael Kurtz, in Honor of Cherie Loustaunau

With gratitude, Wellness House of Annapolis is pleased to announce a Memorial Donation from Michael Kurtz in memory of his wife, Cherie Loustaunau, and in honor of her commitment to the Anne Arundel Women Giving Together (AAWGT) and its mission.

In partnership with AAWGT, Michael Kurtz has awarded the $20,000 Cherie Loustaunau Memorial Donation to Wellness House of Annapolis to support our ongoing work in providing support, education, and services to help individuals and families who have been touched by cancer. A passionate and active member of AAWGT, Cherie was known for her love and support of nature and our environment, music, and our Annapolis community.

We are incredibly grateful for this gift making it possible for us to continue to serve our community free of charge, especially during these times.

Be Sociable, Share!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
All About Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Seminar

All About Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Seminar

All About Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Seminar

We had the honor of hosting Phebe Duff, certified MBSR instructor, who shared with our community an introduction to Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). MBSR is a person-centered educational approach which uses training in mindfulness, meditation, and yoga as the core of a program to teach people how to take better care of themselves and live healthier and more adaptive lives.

We are excited to announce that MBSR will be offered to our community-at-large as an 8-week series starting on Thursday, February 18th – April 8th 2021!

Click here for more information.

See the 1-hour Facebook Live-streamed recording below, and experience this transformative practice today.

 

Be Sociable, Share!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Camp kicking off summer for children touched by cancer

Camp kicking off summer for children touched by cancer

Annual Camp Kicking Off Summer for
Children Touched by Cancer

This week Wellness House of Annapolis hosted its 8th Annual Paint Your Rainbow Summer Camp for over 30 children affected by cancer in their families, through a loved one with the disease. We were joined by wonderful – and generous – local businesses who gifted their time and resources for activities, including:

  • Therapeutic Song Writing with music therapist Sean Lane, Therapeutic Art with Artworks Studio, and Goat Yoga with Goat to be Zen Yoga
  • Exploring nature and critters with EcoAdventures, and reading stories with therapeutic dogs thanks to Caring Canines
  • Photography Scavenger Hunt with Wendy Preslan of NanaSue Photography, Irish Dancing with Junior LAOH Irish Dancers, and had Family Portraits thanks to Emily Schmitt Photography
  • Frozen treats thanks to Kona Ice, lunches thanks to Galway Bay, Papa John’s Pizza, Naval Bagels, Chick Fil A, Sam’s Club, and desserts thanks to Subway and Uncle Bob’s cookies

Campers learned mindfulness strategies, expressed themselves through art, and found new ways to resiliently cope with cancer in their families through music and friendship. They also identified strengths within themselves and others through photography. Thanks to generous community supporters, this was all at no cost to families at Wellness House of Annapolis.

For more on our camp, visit our Facebook page.

Annapolis third-grader meets challenge to help others

Annapolis third-grader meets challenge to help others

Third-grader Gemma Love has made a big difference at the Wellness House! Her story was featured in Chesapeake Family Life:

Gemma Love is a fairy godmother of sorts. She is raising funds to benefit children affected by cancer and is even teaching them how to make fairy furniture.

The 9-year-old from Annapolis has joined “My Peak Challenge,” a campaign started by the “Outlander” television series star Sam Heughan to raise funds for blood cancers and encourage people to set fitness goals and try new things. As part of the challenge, Gemma has learned to ice skate, has set rock wall climbing goals and set a goal of raising $1,000 for kids affected by cancer in Anne Arundel County.

Wellness House: The First Ten Years

Wellness House: The First Ten Years

Ten years ago, a 40-year-old breast cancer patient and her three young daughters inspired a team of Annapolis professionals to create what some people said couldn’t be created. This story was shared in What's Up? Magazine.

Annapolis-area artist paints over mastectomy scars, bald heads from chemo

Annapolis-area artist paints over mastectomy scars, bald heads from chemo

Artist and Wellness House Therapeutic Art instructor Christalene Karaiskakis shares Healing Body Art with body painting and henna art for cancer patients. This experience was shared in the Capital Gazette:

I adorn or paint women or men who've been through illness, who have scars from their surgeries or lost their hair," Karaiskakis says, "to empower them and make them feel better, even if for two hours."

...

It started two years ago when she painted swirls of henna on the bald head of a breast cancer survivor who had lost her hair during chemotherapy sessions. Since then she has practiced her art form on residents at Hospice of the Chesapeake and on cancer patients visiting Wellness House.

Maryland’s First Lady Visits Wellness House of Annapolis

Maryland’s First Lady Visits Wellness House of Annapolis

Maryland's First Lady Yumi Hogan shared her talents with Wellness House of Annapolis as part of ‪#‎MDUnites, a service day on August 26, 2015.

She taught cancer patients and their families the art of Korean Fan Painting. An artist herself, Mrs. Hogan uses Hanji paper and Sumi ink. Sumi ink and Hanji paper are Korean traditions utilizing layers of translucent ink on the textured Hanji.

Davidsonville musician helps cancer patients cope

Davidsonville musician helps cancer patients cope

Once a month for the past two years, Davidsonville musician Bob Sima has performed concerts for cancer patients.
This story was featured in the Capital Gazette:

Wellness House of Annapolis is normally a very quiet place.

Unless Bob Sima is there.

...

"His lyrics are amazing," said Betty Rounsaville, a breast cancer survivor. "I feel peaceful, connected and joyful. This is like musical yoga." Sima, 47, is a self-taught songwriter and guitarist with a growing following.