Local senior center to host fundraiser for dog park

By: Brendan Losinski, | Advertiser Times | Published August 8, 2017

HARPER WOODS — National Church Residences Park Place, a senior living center in Harper Woods, is asking the community to come by and help make the neighborhood a little furrier and maybe a little healthier.

Park Place will be hosting its third annual “Ole Skool Lawn Party,” which will be incorporating the Mission Day initiatives of its parent company, National Church Residences. The event will be focused on raising money for a dog park for senior center residents.

“Over the last two years, we have celebrated the Old Skool Lawn Party with local artists for seniors, their families and caregivers to enjoy the ambiance of a park setting with music and food,” said Pernell Potter, the senior services coordinator for Park Place. “However, this year, in response to the growing need for seniors to age in place, National Church Residences is hosting an annual Mission Day celebration ... to raise funds for the ‘Park Bow Wow’ Dog Park for our seniors and their furry friendly companions who, in most cases, help their family member to relax, enjoy, but most importantly be safe.”
The activities will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 18 at the senior center located at 19460 Park Drive. The senior center decided to attempt to build a dog park for its residents because they have seen for themselves how effective an animal companion can be for seniors. Those who wish to watch the acts are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs or other seating.

“Studies have shown that owning a pet can be physically and mentally beneficial for people of all ages,” said Potter. “In the case of senior citizens, just 15 minutes bonding with an animal sets off a chemical chain reaction in the brain, lowering levels of the fight-or-flight hormone, cortisol, and increasing production of the feel-good hormone serotonin. The result is heart rate, blood pressure and stress levels immediately drop. Over the long term, pet and human interactions can lower cholesterol levels, fight depression and may even help protect against heart disease and stroke.”

In addition to fun activities, there will be several booths and resources offered to help people learn more about, and improve, their health.

“The public will enjoy a live DJ, a jazz saxophonist, a singer — Brenda Michelle from the New Marvelettes — and they will have the opportunity to learn about health and wellness,” said Potter. “There will be on-site dental checks, mammograms, and representatives from Humana and Molina Healthcare who can talk about health care options, as well as representatives from life insurance companies and local pharmacies who will be showing off what they offer. We also will be showing tours of this facility.” 

The Ole Skool Lawn Party is bringing in the NCR’s help because they each saw Harper Woods as a community that could use additional support.

“Mission Day started 21 years ago as a way to do grass-roots fundraising in our facilities across the country,” said Stacey Kyser, senior director of volunteer services for NCR. “Mission Day is a way to better meet the needs of the residents. As we were planning for this year, we saw the Detroit area as a priority area, because there is a higher need for senior housing. Each of our communities come up with something to fundraise for for Mission Day to meet the needs of their residents.” 

“The Ole Skool Lawn Party raises money through sponsorships: Local businesses will chip in to sponsor a table to show off their services or products,” said Potter. “The event is open to the public, and there will be a lot there they can see.” 

The Macomb County Humane Society also will be present and will be running a dog adoption for those in attendance. Kyser said it’s a wonderful opportunity to help members of the community, as well as perhaps pick up a new furry friend.

“They really help fight isolation and depression, which can often pop up while they are dealing with the loss of loved ones or ongoing illnesses or medical conditions,” remarked Kyser. “Providing services for the seniors in the community is so important. Their generation did so much, so we need to make sure we continue to honor them.”