Experience + Passion: Meet Brittany
March 22, 2022
Important work takes gifted people. When you support the Lyngblomsten Foundation Spring Gala, not only are you making a difference in the lives of older adults, but you are also making possible the staffing for the important work of 2nd Half with Lyngblomsten. A team of experienced, passionate staff are committed to helping older adults in the community thrive.
Today, we’ll introduce to you Brittany Harris, a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) and a newer member of the 2nd Half with Lyngblomsten team. She serves as Respite Coordinator for The Gathering, our group respite program for adults living with memory loss and their informal family caregivers. Following in her grandma’s footsteps, Brittany is bringing joy and comfort to so many older adults. Read her personal reflections below to discover why she loves serving with The Gathering!
My passion for working with older adults has grown from the relationship I had with my grandmother, Lila. In high school, I would volunteer at the nursing home where she worked just to spend time with her after school. I loved how she always seemed to comfort others by her gentle presence and always noted how much joy she brought to the residents there.
When it came time for me to make a decision about college, I struggled a lot with which direction I felt called to go. It took a lot of trial and error for me to learn that I could make a career out of spending my days enriching the lives of older adults. It wasn’t until my junior year of college at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse that I learned about pursing a degree in therapeutic recreation. I fell in love with the major quickly!
Prior to graduating and becoming a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS), I had to complete a 16-week internship in recreation therapy and chose to apply to a nursing home that had an opening in south Minneapolis. After completing my internship in the summer of 2014, I was thrilled to be offered an open position to stay on as a staff member. I worked there for four years as a Therapeutic Recreation Coordinator, ending my time as the director of its adult day services program. I was blessed with an opportunity to transfer to a program in Hopkins, Minnesota, called Open Circle Adult Day Services. I loved my time at Open Circle, but I felt called to Lyngblomsten when I read about the opening for a Respite Coordinator.
I’m amazed at what a safe space like The Gathering brings to our participants who might otherwise fear judgment or failure in community settings when dealing with the challenges of the diagnoses they may be facing. When our participants come to The Gathering, they are welcomed into a space where they can feel successful and be reminded of the impact they are making in their community.
Watching The Gathering unfold since reopening in October 2021, I’ve been amazed at the perseverance I’ve witnessed by the older adults in our community. It has been a beautiful thing to watch participants in The Gathering reenter the community and rediscover the joy that contributing to society has for all of us. The response from our Gathering caregivers has been nothing but positive. Our caregivers have expressed that the time their loved one spends at The Gathering gives them the gift of time and space to explore the things they are passionate about—reading, exercising, hobbies, meeting up with friends, volunteering—things they enjoyed before full-time caregiving.
Being able to spend my days enriching the lives of older adults is the greatest gift. Not only that, but the participants at The Gathering teach me something new every day and return the joy back to me!
Your attendance at the Lyngblomsten Foundation Spring Gala on April 22 helps sustain not only great programming like The Gathering for older adults living in the East Metro, but also the professionals like Brittany who make it all happen. Join us, meet the rest of the Community Services team, and help make a difference!