BRA funds projects for mind and body
By Pat van den Beemt
A Broadmead Residents Association (BRA) committee recently funded two initiatives: one feeds the body, while the other nourishes the mind and spirit.
In July, Roger Karsk, representing the BRA finance committee, presented Human Resources Vice President Yolanda Johnson with a check for $15,000 to purchase fruits and vegetables monthly from Baltimore’s Hungry Harvest organization. He also presented Health Services Vice President Ann Patterson with $10,000 to buy two Tovers, which are interactive light projection systems that offer “purposeful play” to groups or individuals, especially those with dementia.
Karsk said that BRA accumulated reserves over the past 10 years made this funding possible. This is the second year that Use of Funds, a subcommittee of the BRA Finance committee, has recommended grants to the board.
The Hungry Harvest program started at Broadmead in 2021. The Human Resources Department paid for 125 boxes of fresh produce to be delivered to Broadmead employees on the third Wednesday of each month. The Use of Funds committee contributed money to last year’s bounty and will support the program moving forward.
In July, each Healthy Harvest box contained apples, oranges, plums, broccoli, cucumbers, carrots, and parsnips. “It’s always a nice surprise to see what’s in here,” said Ally Svezzese, marketing coordinator, as she picked up her box. Housekeeping coordinator Tim Williams agreed, saying “These resources are very helpful to everybody.” Johnson said that some employees live in “food deserts,” where fresh food is nearly impossible to locate close to home. “We are trying to find ways to provide basic needs and promote health and wellness with the boxes,” she said.
The word “Tover” is derived from “Tovertafel,” which means “magic table” in Dutch. Broadmead has two Tovers that hang from the ceilings above large tables in the Hallowell and Darlington neighborhoods. The Tovers display images that move, change color, and change size as users manipulate devices.
Darlington resident Natalie recently played a Whack-A-Mole-type game. Holding a Styrofoam pool noodle, she tried to hit moles as they appeared on the table. Patterson and Lifestyle Supervisor Sara Stenger played along, too, slapping the table as the moles popped out of circles where they were hiding. “The Tovers offer distractions to people in the neighborhoods,” Patterson said. “Anybody can sit down at any time of the day or night and have an activity.”
The Tovers feature 32 games that vary in difficulty. Some are easy, like pushing away leaves to locate ladybugs or popping bubbles that make sounds when they pop. In one game, butterflies can be painted by touching the images on the table. In another, floating flowers get larger when touched. More advanced games include matching words with images and turning cards over to find the ones that match. Patterson plans to organize a Demo Day, where all Broadmead residents can try playing with the Tovers to see what they are all about.
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