Simons Helping MWI Clients Enjoy The Holidays

April 19, 2019

Gregory Simons is combining his past experience and enthusiasm to help clients at the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute [MWI] in making Easter decorations, including baskets and kites.

He became a nurse aide at the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute five years ago, having retired from Westgate Correctional Facility after 24 years of service.

Nurse aides provide life skills support for MWI service users. Currently in the position at MWI residential unit Devon Lodge, Mr Simons is part of the team that helps the 21 residents do daily tasks like their laundry and dress and bathe themselves.

Mr Simons says he loves the job, and he has voluntarily assumed more responsibility teaching arts and crafts to the residents.

Gregory Simons Bermuda April 2019 (2)

“I did not like seeing the service users sitting around doing nothing,” he says.

Mr Simons spent 17 years as the recreational coordinator for Westgate, and he’s using those skills to engage the service users at Devon Lodge. Working primarily with the four service users who aren’t involved in other programmes during the day, he has led them in making Easter decorations, including Easter baskets and kites.

He plans to work on projects for each festive season. The next will be Bermuda Day.

“My goal is to get more service users involved,” Mr Simons says. “When they go out to smoke, I go out and say you need to come and do this project with us. I’m aiming to keep them so engaged they won’t find as much time for smoking and the like.”

Mr Simons involvement isn’t just teaching arts and crafts, as he has also planned activities for Easter Sunday that will involve all the service users.

Gregory Simons Bermuda April 2019 (1)

“We’ve made baskets for each of the service users,” he says. “On Easter Sunday they will comb the courtyard area here in an Easter egg hunt.”

Devon Lodge Clinical Manager Dawn Smith says Mr Simons enthusiasm has been great not just for the service users, but also other staff.

“He brings a joyous attitude to the workplace which is impactful and hopefully infectious,” she says. “We feel very privileged to have him here.”

For Mr Simons, the work is rewarding and fulfilling.

“I knew that I would love this,” he says. “My mother used to be in Lefroy House and I would visit her several times a week, staying to feed her and help the matron and nurses with feeding other residents and general help for everyone there. I used to volunteer and drive the bus to transport the Lefroy residents to various appointments and events.”

Mr Simons shows no signs of slowing down on his workload, as for him, it’s a labour of love.

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