Monday, 7 January 2019

Christmas 2018 blessings for care centre residents and staff

 A wonderful day for a wonderful season

Residents and staff of Rand Aid’s Ron Smith Care Centre took a moment to count their blessings when they gathered on December 20 for a festive Christmas lunch. The highlight of the day was when the staff performed their version of Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’, which was followed by a delicious lunch in the main dining room.

Resident Jill Jones wrote a thank you letter shortly after the event, in which she praised Debbie Christen, Rand Aid’s manager: recreational programmes, and the rest of the team:
“These words alone cannot fully express how full of admiration I am at the play you conceived and produced today, after much hard work with the staff. It was an imaginative, clever and succinct version of the story, which told the tale vividly and with impact.

“Very well done, particularly to you, but also to the cast, who thoroughly enjoyed it, and brought to the fore talents which I don't think they were aware of. They had such fun performing and felt so good afterwards. What memories to keep for them.

“I just looked at the glowing faces as they took their bows. Lovely to see.”

Debbie says that the staff really embraced the story of the transformation of mean, grumpy old Scrooge, who hated Christmas and was only interested in making money, into a kind, caring and generous man who finally understood the message and spirit of Christmas. 

“The staff brought so much love, joy and laughter to the residents, who were clearly delighted with the Christmas performance,” she says.

On the lunch menu was: An avocado starter; roast lamb, gammon, carrots, pumpkin fritters, roast potatoes; and peppermint mousse for dessert.

Jill summed up the impact of the Christmas lunch and concert: “There were happy repercussions on so many levels. The impact of the play and the Christmas message, the opening of windows of opportunity for the staff, the team building, the happy memories of the fun enjoyed, and the building of self-esteem of the participants.”

The cast who performed scenes from Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’.

Portia Tshayisa (Tiny Tim) and Hilda Mabaso (Scrooge).

Rae Hurwitz and Cathrine Mpe.

Edna van Rensburg and Priscilla Nkosi.

Daphne Smith and Aileen Burn.

Thelma Radmore.

Portia Tshayisa (Tiny Tim) and Debbie Christen (narrator).

The party people from Scrooge’s happy past: Mpho Pitso, Mosima Mojela, Charlotte Tema, Lufuno Nemutanzhela, and Alice Molepo.

Jacob Marley warns Scrooge to mend his ways!

The Ghosts and Jacob Marley: Nolly Mlandu, Nikiwe Thengwayo, Lerato Pebane and Iris Radebe.

 The Cratchit Family: Jane Ngwenya, Grace Ratisani, Odette Matambo, Portia Tshayisa and Stella Dibotello.

The procession into the hall, with the cast of ‘A Christmas Carol’ singing Silent Night.

Pam Martins, Debbie Christen, Salina Mtshali, Bianca Richards, Lee-Ann Ramathibela and Lorraine Mamabolo.

Patricia Graham and Janet Gray.

Alice Molepo and Victor van Eck.

Cathrine Mpe and Dorothy de Bruyn.

John Latilla and Pam Mintz.

Cathrine Mpe and 102-year-old Betty Haughton.

Elizabeth Peterson and 101-year-old Kitty Venn.

Molly Matroos.

Megan Weeks and Lorna Topp.

Ronelle Gray and Jessie Pickard.

Joe Rosen and Joyce Mabowa.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Care Centre blessed with wonderful volunteers

On December 5, the management and staff of Rand Aid’s Ron Smith Care Centre hosted a Volunteer Appreciation party.

“It was a wonderful opportunity to thank each and every one of our 45 volunteers and to tell them how much we appreciate the giving of their love, time and talents to brighten up and enrich the lives of our residents,” said Debbie Christen, Rand Aid’s Manager: Recreation Programmes. 

The care centre’s volunteers are very rarely all together in one place at the same time, so they all had a great time meeting people they didn’t know. To help break the ice, each volunteer drew the name of another volunteer, then had to find that person and ask them a few ‘who are you’ questions. Everyone then introduced their ‘new friend’ to the rest of the group amidst much merriment and fun. By the time all the introductions were made, it seemed like many people had a new buddy!

In a short address, Debbie acknowledged that each volunteer contributes to the lives of the care centre residents in their own unique way. Some run programmes, some assist with activities, some visit elders on a one-on-one basis, while still others work especially with residents living with dementia. But the most important contribution that the volunteers make is the energy, warmth and caring that they bring to the care centre, and the connections they make with the residents who are elderly and frail.

She went on to say that according to certain sources, we, as a society, are apparently lonelier than we ever have been. And at the care centre, there are many residents who are at that stage in life where their friends and spouses are no longer with them and their children/grandchildren may live overseas, which sometimes creates a lonely and isolating situation.

There are so many older people who long for deep and engaging communication and connection with another human being. And that’s where the care centre’s volunteers come in. When they take the time to give someone their full attention; when they exchange life stories and try to get to know who the individual is as a person, they are adding something that is so precious and vital to the well-being of the resident.

With speeches over and each volunteer having been recognised and thanked, it was time for lunch. Following an Indian theme, volunteer Sherill Singh catered for the event and served two kinds of samosas for starters; followed by two kinds of chicken curry and rice with chutney and cucumber raita; vegetable biryani; and a green salad and carrot salad.  The spicy richness of the curries was then cooled down with a dessert of Cornetto Classic ice creams! 

The lunch was declared delicious and all the volunteers expressed their appreciation for a wonderful gathering and for the opportunity to connect, have fun and meet new people. 

A toast was proclaimed:
“To each and every one of our star volunteers both present & absent, Rand Aid toasts you and wishes you good health, strength and ability to continue being a friend to our residents. May the love and joy that you give out, be returned to you many times over!” 

For more information on the volunteer programme at Rand Aid: email Debbie Christen at

Philippina Deppe and Celia Fish

Marina Smith and Jenny Holtzberg

Kathy Sen and Tania Sabato

Joseph Capelle and Dorothea Bekker

Leung Ho and Gloria Maddison

Krys Geyser and Celia Fish

Fatima de Nobrega and Gwen Perrin

Gloria Jones and Dorothea Bekker

Ronnie Cumming and Sue van der Neut

Marisa Sabato and Elaine Ho

Hazel Spearpoint and Shirley Blieden

Sue van der Neut and Celia Fish

Lorna Turner and Gloria Jones

Marina Smith and Sherill Singh

Krys Geyser and Ronnie Cumming

Jenny Holtzberg and Shirley Blieden

Madge Ronald and Jim Powell

Jacqueline Cloete and Lorna Turner

Estelle Holtzhausen and Hazel Spearpoint

Jim Powell and Gwen Perrin

Brian Quigley and Estelle Holtzhausen

Beulah Ganesh and Felicité Horn

Brian Quigley and Edel Froschauer

Beulah Ganesh and Denise Stewart

Edel Froschauer and Clair Harding

Jean Johnson, Fatima de Nobrega and Jewel Wolf

Gwen Perrin, Jim Powell and Felicité Horn

Leung and Elaine Ho with Jenny Holtzberg

Dara Migliore and Brian Quigley

Debbie Christen and Jim Powell.