Travel Scholarship Program – Seven Years and Going Strong!
In February 2006, when 14 staff members of The Virginia Home spent two days of long-range planning, they tossed around new ideas in the hopes of improving resident life. One of the visions was the creation of a scholarship program to send residents and accompanying staff to great leisure-travel destinations.
Three months later, the Travel Scholarship Program was born, and eight lucky residents and staff boarded Air Tran in late October 2006 for a four-day trip-of-a-lifetime at theOld Key West Resort, a Disney property, and the magic of the Orlando experience.
“What could we do for the residents that was special?” was the question Administrator Bob Crouse posed to his staff towards the end of the winter retreat and long-range planning session. “The ideas just flowed,” he recalls.
“There was a great deal involved in an effort like this: staffing for special needs individuals; specialized travel agents; on-site transportation; accessible amenities. But we felt we could
figure it out. There was a lot of excitement for the idea.”
Disney, with their expertise with special populations, and with Recreation Therapist Jody Young leading the charge, agents were called in to make the complex and detailed plans for four residents and four staff, including two nurses and two recreation therapists. They made plans to visit the Magic Kingdom, Epcot and other Orlando attractions.
And the trip was an overwhelming success!
Jody Young, Director of Recreation Therapy sang the praises of staffers Mae Hall, Mike Betts and Rebecca Washburn. “They worked so hard caring for our residents and keeping the enthusiasm going,” says Jody. “We also want to thank everyone else who helped make this trip possible, and for making dreams come true for four residents. It was truly the trip of a lifetime for them.”
Seven Years and 90 Residents Later…
Fall of 2013 marks the seven-year anniversary of the Travel Scholarship Program, a program totally underwritten by The Virginia Home, and one very special Richmond family.
In spite of a sluggish economy and federal budget cuts to our funding, our administration and board have found ways to keep the Travel Scholarship Program, one of our residents’ most cherished programs, alive. “As long was we view quality of life as the most important thing we can offer our residents,” says Bob Crouse, “we will continue to offer this special program.”
Depending on budgetary considerations, there will be at least two trips a year, Bob reports, and plans are constantly in motion to select locations, residents and staff for the next trip. “We hope eventually, everyone will go somewhere special,” he adds.
Orlando, Washington D.C., Myrtle Beach, even Bermuda. Perfectly accessible to most of us, but for the majority of Virginia Home residents who have never travelled in their entire lives, these destinations are a dream come true – a dream that The Home has been providing to residents since 2006. It’s one of the most important, enriching programs we are privileged to offer.
Each Travel Scholarship will accommodate 3-4 residents, and 4-5 professional care staff. All expenses are paid including travel, lodging, meals, as well as all admission fees and charges at final destinations. Prices for the all-inclusive package varies, depending on the trip and sites planned during the trip.