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Center of Renewal
By Carol S. Wolf

In October 2004, I wrote an article about Dr. Tom DeLoughry and the programs he was doing at the Center of Renewal at Stella Niagara. I attended some of them and found them to be interesting. In September 2013, I wrote an article on a new project and programs he was doing titled “Older Adult Ministries- You Are Never Too Old.” Several of the people I interviewed said they gained new perspectives on growing older from the article. Again, I attended a few and got some new ideas. I talked to Tom a few months ago and he told me about the new project he was working on.

Tom began by telling me that he is currently directing the Center for Health Management running programs on the body, mind, and spirit in Erie and Niagara counties. The programs are designed for all ages. I asked him when and how he got interested in doing programs and projects on the topic of aging. He shared that he got his masters in Rehabilitation Counseling and a doctorate (Ed.D) in Health Education Behavior from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Tom said one of his first jobs after he got his counseling degree was directing Drug Abuse and Adolescent Services in the Child Psychiatry Department at Buffalo Children’s Hospital. At the time, it seemed random who would get better and who would not. He said, “I looked up some of the research from the 1970s and it seemed like faith-based programs, such as AA and Transcendental Meditation, had better outcomes than the traditional programs I learned about in graduate school.”

He went on to tell me he got involved with the Himalayan Institute and that their meditation and Raja Yoga programs were impressive. He said, “I was about 27 or so and I started a group on the 5th Floor at the hospital for kids who had chronic illnesses or drug overdoses. Once a week they came and I taught them Satisfaction Skills that included a secular form of meditation plus other skills to reduce stress. It was amazing because the nurses told me the kids that were in my group were doing so much better and needed less pain medication than the ones who did not participate. One high school student not only got off drugs using meditation but taught his friends how to meditate.That is when I decided to change careers and become a health educator. My first job in that field was at Independent Health directing wellness and disease management programs for ten years from 1986-1996.

He went on, “Our most successful program was called Feeling Fit at Work, School, and Home, which encouraged students, teachers, parents, and patients to eat better, exercise regularly, and use the Satisfaction Skills to reduce stress. It was honored with the American Managed Care Association’s National Award for Excellence. A more recent program was recognized by AARP’s Social Impact as ‘a simple mind-body-spirit program for people of any faith…or no faith.’ The program has had various names through the years. Our current program is called Caring Teams, which encourages patients, caregivers, aides, and professionals to have less stress, better health, and more love. We help people to recognize that if you are in a bad mood you only notice the bad things that are happening around you and often make a bad decision because of it.”

Tom gave me a booklet titled Less Stress, Better Health, and More Love. I have gone through it and really liked the thoughts and ideas. It is available as a free download from his website, <www.caringteams.org>. The Learning Poem is excellent. It can be used for any piece of the wellness puzzle, whether your goal is to reduce stress, enhance forgiveness, or manage a chronic illness. It goes as follows:

• CHOOSE YOUR GOALS: Love, peace of mind, health, independence, happiness

• CHECK YOUR SIGNS: Stress, satisfaction, depression, blood pressure, weight, cholesterol, abilities for activities, drug or alcohol use

• TAKE SOME STEPS: Medication, therapy, self-help, exercise, eat well, get support, use the Satisfaction Skills. Be aware, affirm, assert, accept

• LEARN EACH TIME: Re-check your signs to learn what works for you.

Tom’s other booklet, What I Wish I Knew: Stories and Strategies about Being Your Best at Any Age, can be ordered through Amazon.

Tom told me they have had support from the Health Association of Niagara County, Inc. (HANCI) and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Funds at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. Past programs have received funding from the Niagara County Office for the Aging and Community Health foundation of Western and Central New York. He said their goal is to train the whole caring team. What is great is that they use the same material for everybody so when they have conversations with each other they understand each other. If they get more funding, they want to work with all of the senior centers in WNY.

Tom will also be doing some programs with the Christian Medical and Dental Association. Programs for professionals (doctors, nurses, counselors, ministers, aides, and volunteers) are being planned for this fall.

You can learn more and register for workshops and webinars at <www.caringteams.org>.

Carol Wolf is a writer, speaker, storyteller, and leader of workshops and retreats. She is retired from 35 years in health care administration and co-hosts a TV show called Challenge for the 21st Century for the Network of Religious Communities. She is the author of Journey into Prayer and Biblical Storytelling in Youth Ministry. She has been married to Dick for 58 years and they have two sons, four grandchildren, and one great-grandson.

If you know of a successful program in your community or would like more information please let me know at caroldickwolf@cs.com.

Carol Wolf is a writer, speaker, storyteller, and leader of workshops and retreats. She is retired from 35 years in health care administration and co-hosts a TV show called Challenge for the 21st Century for the Network of Religious Communities. She is the author of Journey into Prayer and Biblical Storytelling in Youth Ministry. She has been married to Dick for 58 years and they have two sons, four grandchildren, and one great-grandson.


 

 


Carol wrote this book as part of her two year Master's program in the Academy for Biblical Storytellers. It has just been published and is available for $10.00. Carol is an author, speaker and leader of workshops meditations and conference.
"This book give you an opportunity to experience how, when we become a part of the biblical story, we often find meaning for our own life. It is an incredible resource for confirmation, baptism, and intergenerational groups." Trracy Radosevic, Dean, Academy for Biblical Storytellers.
Anyone interested in buying a book can email me @caroldickwolf@cs.com. The book is $10.00 + $2.00 mailing.