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Put Away Your Handbaskets, Please

 

We’re not all headed straight for That Other Place as long as there are wonderful young women like Ruby Kate Chitsey in the world.

Ruby Kate is an 11-year-old girl in Harrison, Arkansas. For several years, she’s been visiting the residents at the Medicaid-funded nursing homes where her mother, Amanda, works. One day, a little bored, and wishing for something to do, Ruby Kate noticed a resident staring forlornly out the window at a man walking a dog, and she started to wonder what would make the nursing home residents happier.

In order to find out, she did an extraordinary thing: she asked them. She knocked on the doors of their rooms and she inquired (surely Ruby Kate is an aficionado of traditional fairy-stories), “if you could have just three wishes granted, what would they be?”

They wanted such simple things: to pat a dog; to eat a Big Mac; to go to a park and watch families having fun; to have a pair of pants that fit, or a bottle of nice shampoo to wash their hair, a good book to read, or a fresh strawberry to eat.

Here’s a page from Ruby’s research:

A page from Ruby Kate Chitsey's notebook that shows nursing home residents' wishes.

Ruby asked her mother for help, and the two of them set up the Three Wishes Fund, a GoFundMe account, and an Amazon Wish List page. To date, she has raised $96,000 dollars through GoFundMe, and the Amazon page takes donations for requested items such as nail polish, paint brushes, nice shampoo, pants, shirts, and headphones.

Here are a couple of stories about Ruby and her work:

https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/11-year-old-girl-granting-wishes-of-nursing-home-patients/

https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/29/health/iyw-5th-grader-nursing-home-mission-trnd/index.html

What an inspirational story. What modest and achievable goals. And what an immediate difference she’s making in the lives of some of her community’s neediest residents.

Have a lovely and blessed Sunday, everyone. If you’re in the cold part of the country, snuggle up!

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There are 29 comments.

  1. Member

    Thank you for bringing her to us.

    • #1
    • February 10, 2019 at 5:03 am
    • 11 likes
  2. Thatcher

    Gee, they did it without a government program . . .

    Three cheers for Ruby and Amanda!

    • #2
    • February 10, 2019 at 5:55 am
    • 15 likes
  3. Member

    What a nice story, thank you for posting it. The amazing thing is that these people had so little, yet their wishes were so simple and easy to fulfill. The young girl discovered a simple fact of life that could help her in many ways. One doesn’t know unless one asks. She simply asked these people and found out that she could really help.

    • #3
    • February 10, 2019 at 6:05 am
    • 9 likes
  4. Member

    What a great story. I shall make a donation. Thank you. 

     

    • #4
    • February 10, 2019 at 6:07 am
    • 4 likes
  5. Thatcher
    EB

    I just used the Amazon Wish List and it was a breeze. They have all the items set up, you choose which ones you want to donate, choose Ruby as the shipping address, and carry on.

    What a great idea!

    • #5
    • February 10, 2019 at 6:14 am
    • 15 likes
  6. Thatcher

    cdor (View Comment):
    The amazing thing is that these people had so little, yet their wishes were so simple and easy to fulfill.

    It makes me wonder why nursing homes and assisted living facilities don’t do this on their own . . .

    • #6
    • February 10, 2019 at 6:48 am
    • 16 likes
  7. Inactive

    Stad (View Comment):

    cdor (View Comment):
    The amazing thing is that these people had so little, yet their wishes were so simple and easy to fulfill.

    It makes me wonder why nursing homes and assisted living facilities don’t do this on their own . . .

    Generally, in these residences, it seems that no matter how much is done it’s never enough. Volunteers, like Ruby Kate, can have considerable impact and play an integral role in the life of residents.

    This could be a spring-board to a discussion of how persons are cared for in retirement communities to include nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

    • #7
    • February 10, 2019 at 7:15 am
    • 7 likes
  8. Member

    What a lovely name and a lovely little girl.

    • #8
    • February 10, 2019 at 7:15 am
    • 6 likes
  9. Member

    Stad (View Comment):
    Gee, they did it without a government program . . .

    This is what irks me about taxing and programs that gets diluted (stuffed into politicians’ pockets, sidelined by graft) to the point of never doing any of the intended good.

     Subsidiarity is one of the cornerstones of Catholic social justice. It often gets overshadowed by the idea of solidarity. When the two work in concert, it’s a great thing–and requires no government intervention. For a discussion of these ideas that aren’t necessarily limited to Catholic teaching, see https://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/otc.cfm?id=769

    • #9
    • February 10, 2019 at 9:44 am
    • 6 likes
  10. Thatcher

    RAH, to Ruby and Amanda! (And thanks for the incentive to hope, @she.)

    • #10
    • February 10, 2019 at 12:31 pm
    • 4 likes
  11. Member

    cdor (View Comment):

    What a nice story, thank you for posting it. The amazing thing is that these people had so little, yet their wishes were so simple and easy to fulfill. The young girl discovered a simple fact of life that could help her in many ways. One doesn’t know unless one asks. She simply asked these people and found out that she could really help.

    The simplicity of the wishes struck me too. How many people around us might have wishes that we would find simple and easy to fulfill, if only we took the time to research or to ask?

    • #11
    • February 10, 2019 at 12:53 pm
    • 9 likes
  12. Thatcher
    She Post author

    cdor (View Comment):

    What a nice story, thank you for posting it. The amazing thing is that these people had so little, yet their wishes were so simple and easy to fulfill. The young girl discovered a simple fact of life that could help her in many ways. One doesn’t know unless one asks. She simply asked these people and found out that she could really help.

    Yes, it’s extraordinary, isn’t it. During my 30-odd year IT career, I worked with countless administrators, department heads, planners, analysts and project managers who would be completely baffled by her approach.

    • #12
    • February 10, 2019 at 1:54 pm
    • 13 likes
  13. Member

    She (View Comment):

    cdor (View Comment):

    What a nice story, thank you for posting it. The amazing thing is that these people had so little, yet their wishes were so simple and easy to fulfill. The young girl discovered a simple fact of life that could help her in many ways. One doesn’t know unless one asks. She simply asked these people and found out that she could really help.

    Yes, it’s extraordinary, isn’t it. During my 30-odd year IT career, I worked with countless administrators, department heads, planners, analysts and project managers who would be completely baffled by her approach.

    The utter difference of power and love.

    • #13
    • February 10, 2019 at 4:33 pm
    • 5 likes
  14. Thatcher

    Stad (View Comment):

    cdor (View Comment):
    The amazing thing is that these people had so little, yet their wishes were so simple and easy to fulfill.

    It makes me wonder why nursing homes and assisted living facilities don’t do this on their own . . .

    It would require effort on their part.

    • #14
    • February 10, 2019 at 5:54 pm
    • 3 likes
  15. Thatcher

    The warehousing/medical model of elder and care-dependent folks has got to go…Am thinking of an alternative I’ve read about before, but will have to find the articles. I shall return.

    • #15
    • February 10, 2019 at 5:58 pm
    • 4 likes
  16. Member

    EB (View Comment):

    I just used the Amazon Wish List and it was a breeze. They have all the items set up, you choose which ones you want to donate, choose Ruby as the shipping address, and carry on.

    What a great idea!

    Yes just did this too. What a great way to make a quick donation, exactly where it’s needed.

    • #16
    • February 10, 2019 at 6:18 pm
    • 5 likes
  17. Member

    It’s a beautiful story. I hope that Ruby doesn’t draw the attention of the establishment’s Risk Manager.

    It’s getting more and more difficult to volunteer. A lot of establishments, including hospitals, require such an expensive array of background checks that, in many instances, they are ending long-standing volunteer programs. Consider the costs involved of all the people who think they’d like to volunteer but don’t and you can imagine the expense involved. Then, there’s the real killer: the potential liability.

    I can’t volunteer at my local parish anymore, even doing things I’d done before. The Archdiocese has been in the process of “re-evaluating” volunteer programs for more than a year now and I’m not optimistic. I’d love to visit and run errands for the old folks in my parish but I can also see how volunteering is fast becoming cost-prohibitive.

    What a sad world we live in. G-d, have mercy on us.

    • #17
    • February 10, 2019 at 8:39 pm
    • 6 likes
  18. Thatcher

    Woe is us, when we discourage this kind of inter-generational contact…Presumably, Amanda has knowledge of the residents’ restrictions/needs, and won’t let Ruby run afoul of in-house or state rules and regs. So-called risk-aversion is the bane of our existence.

    Re: my comment (#15), I think the initiative to humanize/demedicalize extended care was called “The Eden Alternative”. [Link when at the PC, wait one, please and thank you.]

    UPDATE: Link to The Eden Alternative, added. Appreciate your patience!

    • #18
    • February 10, 2019 at 9:25 pm
    • 3 likes
  19. Coolidge

    Nanda "Chaps" Panjan… (View Comment):

    So-called risk-aversion is the bane of our existence.

    Indeed. I doubt if this could have happened in California or New York. Too many rules and regs, too many lawyers in those states.

    • #19
    • February 11, 2019 at 2:45 am
    • 5 likes
  20. Coolidge

    Stad (View Comment):

    Gee, they did it without a government program . . .

    Three cheers for Ruby and Amanda!

    Well, now there’s a Department of Cheetos, as this new care requirement has been uncovered.

    • #20
    • February 11, 2019 at 3:17 am
    • 4 likes
  21. Coolidge

    Mike Rapkoch (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    cdor (View Comment):

    What a nice story, thank you for posting it. The amazing thing is that these people had so little, yet their wishes were so simple and easy to fulfill. The young girl discovered a simple fact of life that could help her in many ways. One doesn’t know unless one asks. She simply asked these people and found out that she could really help.

    Yes, it’s extraordinary, isn’t it. During my 30-odd year IT career, I worked with countless administrators, department heads, planners, analysts and project managers who would be completely baffled by her approach.

    The utter difference of power and love.

    And asking the customer what it is they want.

    • #21
    • February 11, 2019 at 3:19 am
    • 5 likes
  22. Member

    Stad (View Comment):
    Gee, they did it without a government program . . .

    cdor (View Comment):
    The amazing thing is that these people had so little, yet their wishes were so simple and easy to fulfill.

    I’m compelled to be my characteristically cynical self, but it’s a fairly sure bet that the nature of their requests would have been different if it hadn’t been an 11-year-old girl asking. If the volunteer was, say, a 40-year-old man in a suit, they’d likely assume he had some sort of power to get things done and their requests would reflect that assumption.

    The only way this sort of idea can work is if the champion isn’t a person who conveys an aura of authority. It has to be a person who conveys innocence and goodness.

    • #22
    • February 11, 2019 at 9:51 am
    • 9 likes
  23. Thatcher
    She Post author

    Misthiocracy secretly (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):
    Gee, they did it without a government program . . .

    cdor (View Comment):
    The amazing thing is that these people had so little, yet their wishes were so simple and easy to fulfill.

    I’m compelled to be my characteristically cynical self, but it’s a fairly sure bet that the nature of their requests would have been different if it hadn’t been an 11-year-old girl asking. If the volunteer was, say, a 40-year-old man in a suit, they’d likely assume he had some sort of power to get things done and their requests would reflect that assumption.

    The only way this sort of idea can work is if the champion isn’t a person who conveys an aura of authority. It has to be a person who conveys innocence and goodness.

    Yes, I think that’s very true. Even more so that the guy in the suit would probably have been seen as not only powerful, but probably responsible for the things they didn’t like about their situation. So they’d probably have started out in a less agreeable frame of mind. The YMCA’s around here have a “Neighbors helping Neighbors” project every so often. I like the name. I think the peer-to-peer, people-to-people approach is much better.

     

    • #23
    • February 11, 2019 at 10:03 am
    • 6 likes
  24. Member

    Misthiocracy secretly (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):
    Gee, they did it without a government program . . .

    cdor (View Comment):
    The amazing thing is that these people had so little, yet their wishes were so simple and easy to fulfill.

    I’m compelled to be my characteristically cynical self, but it’s a fairly sure bet that the nature of their requests would have been different if it hadn’t been an 11-year-old girl asking. If the volunteer was, say, a 40-year-old man in a suit, they’d likely assume he had some sort of power to get things done and their requests would reflect that assumption.

    The only way this sort of idea can work is if the champion isn’t a person who conveys an aura of authority. It has to be a person who conveys innocence and goodness.

    Yes, that very likely might be the case. But does the average assistant employed by the home convey an aura of authority? I have a M-I-L who is a resident and my Father was a resident in a different facility, neither were in assisted living, but I didn’t think the average employee behaved other than just that–average.

    • #24
    • February 11, 2019 at 12:01 pm
    • 1 like
  25. Member

    cdor (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy secretly (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):
    Gee, they did it without a government program . . .

    cdor (View Comment):
    The amazing thing is that these people had so little, yet their wishes were so simple and easy to fulfill.

    I’m compelled to be my characteristically cynical self, but it’s a fairly sure bet that the nature of their requests would have been different if it hadn’t been an 11-year-old girl asking. If the volunteer was, say, a 40-year-old man in a suit, they’d likely assume he had some sort of power to get things done and their requests would reflect that assumption.

    The only way this sort of idea can work is if the champion isn’t a person who conveys an aura of authority. It has to be a person who conveys innocence and goodness.

    Yes, that very likely might be the case. But does the average assistant employed by the home convey an aura of authority? I have a M-I-L who is a resident and my Father was a resident in a different facility, neither were in assisted living, but I didn’t think the average employee behaved other than just that–average.

    An employee who tries to go above-and-beyond will forever be expected to go above-and-beyond, thereby making “above-and-beyond” the new average. That’s a pretty good recipe for burnout. The 11-year-old girl isn’t required to be there every single day for eight+ hours doing all the work that has to get done whether the tasks are appreciated by the residents or not, which is one reason why the 11-year-old girl has the energy to provide such a special service.

     

    • #25
    • February 11, 2019 at 12:28 pm
    • 5 likes
  26. Thatcher
    She Post author

    Misthiocracy secretly (View Comment):
    An employee who tries to go above-and-beyond will forever be expected to go above-and-beyond, thereby making “above-and-beyond” the new average.

    I understand what you are saying (I think). But treating nursing home residents as human beings should not be equated to “going above and beyond.” That’s where I think “we” go wrong. I think, more than anything else, the attitude you’re expressing (which I don’t completely disagree with) is the outcome of management fault.

    • #26
    • February 11, 2019 at 12:35 pm
    • 3 likes
  27. Thatcher

    Please note: the link promised in my comment #18, has been added there – and here: http://www.edenalt.org/

    • #27
    • February 11, 2019 at 12:45 pm
    • 2 likes
  28. Member

    I do not know how these people do it.

    There’s this kid’s radio program I listen to that describes the body of Christ as eyes, hands, feet, heart, mouth, etc. The eyes see someone in need, the hands help, the feet go.

    This girl is eyes.

    • #28
    • February 11, 2019 at 1:00 pm
    • 3 likes
  29. Member

    .Sorry, @she, we’re a bunch of cynics who came along to rain on your beautiful story. That’ll learn ya, trying to bring cheer and inspiration to our sorry group of misanthropes. :)

    • #29
    • February 11, 2019 at 1:56 pm
    • 1 like