Circle of Life Home Care Anishinaabe was proud to welcome back clients, PCAs, their families, and community members to our 7th annual Open House on Thursday, May 25th, 2017.
The annual event runs from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm, with as many as 400-500 people attending each year! Now, we really aren’t ones to brag (anymore), but WOW, we had an amazing event this year! The weather was on our side, a huge difference from last year’s rain and wind. Thanks to those of you who stuck it out with us last year, despite the freezing weather. Now that’s love! This year, it was a perfectly beautiful spring day, and for that we were very thankful. Though, I am glad to say we were prepared for anything.
We partnered with Mashkiki Waakaaigan Pharmacy once again, and as usual, they were great partners. A huge shout out to Charles from Mashkiki, as he always puts 110% into the event and we couldn’t pull it off without all his help and great connections (Famous Dave’s, cough-cough).
We prepare for our event of the year for months leading up to the day, and this year was no different. Set up began early for staff and volunteers after the big tent arrived, hanging our humongous sign, with balloons and streamers being the final touch. The billing staff, and Charles, lent us their muscles for the heavy lifting. After a flurry of “chicken with our heads cut off” activity, we were ready to begin on time. We’d like to thank the Metro office for signing up a few of their PCAs to volunteer, as they were definitely a big help.
Elders began arriving as early as 10:15 am to get “good seats” aka get as close as they could get to the MC so they could hear better (their words, not mine) for Bingo, a favorite among the activities for our clients. It was wonderful to see them talk, laugh and just genuinely enjoy each other’s company. Hoka Hey, the drum group out of South Minneapolis led by James Spotted Thunder and family, sang a lovely prayer song to kick off the event. One of the elders pointed out that an eagle and a hawk were flying above us during the song! We felt very good about that, as to Natives that is a very good sign. As Natives we are used to eagles showing up any time there is a large gathering of Natives. This year we were happy to honor one of our oldest PCAs, Everett Cadotte, who is also a Veteran. Hoka Hey sang him an honor song as he and his long-time partner Jackie danced. We are honored that he has chosen to stay with us over the years. We hope it shows our dedication at keeping our employees happy and above all, working!
We had set up a registration table to for individuals to sign up for the drawings and inform the community about our new and definitely improved website. The line for that table stretched to the road! As it turns out, everyone thought we were asking them to sign in as they entered, and some had no idea why they were in line, they saw a line and just jumped in. It was a good laugh all around.
We’d like to thank Dave Larson for doing us the honor of being our MC for the 2nd year in a row. He always does a great job of keeping our community members laughing and entertained in between songs/activities. Hopefully, we can continue to come together on this awesome event. The delicious coffee was provided by Pow-wow Grounds, so thank you to them as well for keeping our elders alert and perky for the duration! Lunch was at 11:45 am, and of course, our elders were served first, thanks to staff and volunteers (shout out to Madge from Metro, you, young lady, are awesome!) for helping with this, and also helping families get their kid’s lunch to their tables when they were a few arms short. Everyone worked well together. We dined on Famous Dave’s, most definitely a favorite amongst the masses. Mealtime took a while, but we kept busy with drawings and giveaways. The children enjoyed the balloon animals and face painter extraordinaire. I saw a Spider-man, Butterfly and Batman gang run by together, so she was very talented indeed!
We also had a table set up for NACC (Native American Community Clinic) to hand out healthcare info. We appreciate any type of collaboration with our fellow Native organizations, as our common goal is to serve our beautiful community members to the best of our abilities. Anything that COLHCA can do to help reach, and maintain that goal, count us in!
Bingo was absolutely the most fun part of the day! The competition was fierce, with some players playing multiple cards. The talent we saw was nothing short of amazing! Seeing our winner’s reactions was worth the day’s hard work. One elderly lady hugged every staff person she saw when she won, saying “I’ve never won anything in my whole life”!
We ended the wonderful day by thanking everyone who came and participated, and thanking everyone who helped us make it all possible. The MC, the drum group, the volunteers and last, but certainly not least, our dedicated, awesome staff. Thank you for all you do. Not just for the Open House, but for all the hard work you put in on a daily basis to make COLHCA what it is. We wouldn’t be where we are without each and every one of you!
Pat Yager, founder and owner of COLHCA was in attendance also, gracing us with her lovely presence. Thanks you Pat, your love and generosity makes COLHCA a wonderful place to work. You truly are the heart of the operation!
If you were not in attendance to this year’s Open House, you missed a great day! Mark it on the calendar for next year, and show us that lovely face! We will be here. Same time, same place, same awesome attitude!