For most people, an assisted living facility is probably not the first place that comes to mind when thinking of a venue to spend a warm, sunny summer afternoon with friends. Melissa Green, Executive Director of Journey Senior Living, hoped to change that mindset.
"We do our best to do unique events to bring people into our building," Green said. "We welcome everyone to come and check us out."
And it worked. Friday afternoon, the front lawn of Journey’s Valparaiso location overflowed with a mix of residents, their families, and members of the extended community of all ages, gathered together for their BBQ and Blues summer concert event.
"I've been counting down the days,” Green said. “I'm really excited about it. I just thought [is was] an awesome idea to have some barbecue, listen to some Blues music. Who doesn't like Blues?"
The live music was provided by local band The Blues Project, the brainchild of music educator and group founder Scott Cvelbar and his wife Mary Cvelbar.
The Blues Project, explained the Cvelbars, brings kids together to learn Blues and Jazz playing styles and history.
"Hopefully I can expose them to some of that fantastic classic music that they can use to build their own musical careers," said founder Scott Cvelbar.
The group plays music around the community, helping to build confidence and provide opportunities to play with other musicians and play different venues.
“I think it's a really great idea especially for our kids that are playing music with us that they kind of get to integrate with different parts of the community," said Mary Cvelbar, who also serves as Mix Master for the band. "It feels fabulous to be a part of a day involving so many different ages of people enjoying all of the same things."
A nurse by trade, Mary Cvelbar said she has been very impressed with the facilities and staff at Journey.
"So far I've never seen a more organized place, the way that each of the workers here were engaging with the residents," she said.
Sharon Browne, attending the event with her mother, and Journey Senior Living’s very first resident, Dolores Browne, agreed wholeheartedly.
"We're really happy with it,” Browne said. “[Mom] loves it. She's got a beautiful apartment and they have a lot of nice functions."
Valparaiso local Angie Monahan attended the event with her husband Frankie.
"We're here supporting the community and enjoying the music and food," Monahan said. “It's a beautiful facility. Everyone pitches in to make it really wonderful for their residents here.”
Next week on Wednesday, June 19, Journey Senior Living of Valparaiso will be hosting the Winamac Old Auto Club Car Show in their parking lot from 11 A.M. to 2 P.M.. Admission is free but RSVPs are requested. For more information about the show and other upcoming events, please visit their website at http://www.journeyseniorliving.com/valparaiso/.