Brenau University Art Gallery Treasures Revealed, 2013-14
Until 1986, Brenau University had no permanent art gallery space. Under the vision and leadership of President Dr. John S. Burd, Brenau University built their art collection through donations and now has four exhibition spaces on campus and over 7,000 pieces of fine art and textiles, including drawings, paintings, and sculptures by world-renowned artists. Recognizing the value of sharing their collection with the greater community, Brenau University Galleries asked Wisdom Keepers to develop a docent, or guide, program to showcase their collection and provide support for community engagement. Today, there are 15 trained docents who provide free docent-led tours to the community and offer support at Gallery exhibitions and special events. https://galleries.brenau.edu/volunteer/
“The Docent Program has been invaluable to the Brenau University Galleries since its creation. Our docents give free group tours of exhibits each semester and provide support at exhibition openings and special events. The docents are a dedicated group of 15 volunteers who we now consider to be great friends. They constantly spread the word about the Collection, offer suggestions for improvements, and have self-organized to provide the most benefit to the Galleries possible. In addition, they independently took on the project of creating beautiful note cards with Collection images on them as a fundraiser for the Brenau Galleries! We are so grateful for our docents and for the Wisdom Keepers.”
Nichole Ferguson, Gallery Director, Brenau University Galleries
Dignified Transportation for Seniors, 2013-2016
Wisdom Keepers recognized that the growing number of older adults in our community who are no longer able to drive, lacked viable transportation options to remain active, healthy and independent. Wisdom Keepers aimed to develop a transportation model to provide 24/7, door-through-door, arm-in-arm service to serve these Hall County older adults. After researching options, Wisdom Keepers began the multi-year process of forming a Steering Committee, defining the service area, building consensus and support among community residents and officials, establishing a non-profit organization to operate the service, and fundraising to ensure service delivery and sustainability. With great community support, ITNLanier started operations in 2016 and delivered more than 10,500 affordable rides to seniors and vision-impaired residents within Greater Hall County. Wisdom Keepers supported ITNLanier as volunteer drivers and Board members until it ceased operations as a result of COVID-19. https://www.itnlanier.org
“I enjoy being a volunteer driver for ITNLanier because I consider it a service to an important segment of the Hall County community, and I feel fortunate to be able to assist them in this way. Also, it provides me with an opportunity to make new friends. In every instance, those who I have transported over the past three years consider ITNLanier to be tremendously helpful to them personally, as well as being an asset to the community."
Wisdom Keeper, Class of 2014
“It is exciting to be able to transform the Wisdom Project experience into a sustainable initiative that is having such a big impact on the Hall County senior community.” Wisdom Keeper, Class of 2013
Sharing Life Experiences, 2013
Educators at Gainesville’s Middle School recognized that sharing the wealth of Wisdom Keeper career experience could benefit their students. A small team of Wisdom Keepers conducted three days of classes for 420 students in the Career Discovery Class, delivering information about career planning and decision-making, careers in the health field, and ethics. Well-planned career exploration can have a host of long-term benefits for students, such as helping them carry an idea or interest into reality. The program also established future links for cooperation between Gainesville Middle School teachers and the career education efforts of Junior Achievement and the Foothills Area Health Education Center.
“This discussion with seasoned professionals introduced these middle school children to potential career options early on in school, which could assist in keeping students focused and engaged in their subjects throughout middle and high school. The students were enthusiastic and inquisitive. I felt this important two-way dialogue with students would help them understand how their skills and interests can translate into careers.”
Wisdom Keeper, Class of 2012
Improving Victim Support, 2013-14
Rape Response provides valuable support, advocacy, and education to sexual assault victims while safeguarding the dignity of each person served. After learning about Rape Response during the Wisdom Project Program, a Wisdom Keeper, who had retired from the health care system, saw an opportunity to improve local health care system links. Working with Rape Response, the Wisdom Keeper developed factual information and resource tools for use by Emergency Department nurses in assisting assault victims. They also developed targeted trauma education which area hospitals and agencies can provide to their nurses as part of continuing education licensure requirements. These tools positively changed and improved how sexual assault victims are received into the health system.
“This project gave me the opportunity to work with passionate and dedicated Rape Response staff and use my administrative and nursing skills to enhance education for both hospital staff and Rape Response advocates.”
Wisdom Keeper, Class of 2012
“This project had such a positive impact on our staff, volunteers, NGMC Emergency Department, Sexual Assault Nurses and the Survivors we serve. The tip sheet created is updated as needed and still used with nurses. We continue to provide training to nurses as staff time allows, with the most recent training done this year for District 2 Public Health.”
Jeanne Buffington, Executive Director, Rape Response
Building Relationships, 2013
Students at Brenau University’s School of Occupational Therapy benefit from participating in fieldwork experience as part of their learning program. Growth in the program presented challenges for Academic Fieldwork Coordinators (AFWC) to ensure the availability of fieldwork sites for students, continue effective visit monitoring with higher volumes, and maintain quality relationships among the training sites, the practicing students, and the University staff. Developing and implementing a site visit questionnaire, Wisdom Keepers gathered the information needed to help the AFWCs prepare an action plan to meet their goals.
“This project helped us understand what we could do at Brenau that would be valued by the fieldwork coordinators, as recognition and incentives, to keep taking our students.”
Dr. Barbara Schell, Professor Emeritus, School of Occupational Therapy, Brenau University