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  • Writer's pictureAhmad Daher

Envijo Gives Back to Senior Citizens

Leveraging our storytelling expertise, we recently helped raise funds for Providence Senior and Community Services and their remarkable Providence Marianwood ministry.

Envijo Founders with Lynette Johnson, Daughter of Pauline Shoemaker.

Pauline Shoemaker is a legend. As her daughter Lynette tells it, she was a woman ahead of her time, a working mother and business owner who grew up in the great depression and never let any excuses stop her from achieving her goals. We first met Pauline in late March of 2018 at Providence Marianwood. Her smile can light up a room, but her memories and achievements have dimmed due to her ongoing battle with dementia. I couldn't help but think of my grandparents when I met Pauline. My grandfather (also a legend) valiantly battled Alzheimer's and while he had access to great care was unable to overcome that deadly disease. My wonderful grandmother had spent a few weeks at Marianwood following a hip fracture and after visiting her at the facility I was blown away by the attention and care she was provided.

Marianwood is a special place. A place where seniors get remarkable care, companionship and access to critical healthcare as provided by Providence Senior and Community Services. We knew we wanted to help and after discussing an upcoming need to raise funds for Marianwood at their annual luncheon, we were honored to work with Lynette to tell Pauline's story in a documentary-style featurette that could be used as a testimonial to help raise awareness. After all, Pauline's story needed to be told and it was our duty to help tell it.

Shooting Pauline's Story

The piece centered around Lynette's personal story about her mother Pauline and the struggle her family faced trying to provide the care Pauline needed as she began to struggle with dementia.

Lynette was a natural and her empathy was palpable. As storytellers, it's important to listen to your subject and only help guide them. Having prepared questions was helpful, however, the best portions of Lynette's interview were a result of just letting her talk as if she was on the phone with an old friend.

As a way to show the seniors we cared and to make the experience more memorable for them we brought our amazing makeup artist Sarah to give them the Hollywood treatment. Sometimes it's the little things that make an impact. We were happy to see those smiles and the sense of pride that comes with feeling and looking your best.

Some of our favorite scenes to shoot had to be the rehabilitation scenes. The rehab staff at Marianwood is impressive to say the least. They also get the most out of their patients and residents and we saw it firsthand with motivation and perseverance in full view. A person's will can't be broken when they have the support of another to help them overcome an obstacle. That is why this incredible facility gets 95% of people that undergo their rehab treatments back to their home environment and in many cases in better health than when they arrived.

While we loved shooting the rehab aspects of Marianwood, the moment that captured our hearts and illuminated the power of friendship was the arrival of Pauline and her best friends. Pauline had been very quiet.

She seemed unamused by all the hoopla surrounding the video shoot and a little annoyed with the lights. That all changed when her friends entered the room. Pauline's smile was unforgettable and the love and compassion her friends showed provided a lasting image in our minds and the most impactful footage we shot that day.

The 2018 Providence Marianwood Luncheon

We were honored to be featured guests at the Marianwood luncheon to showcase Pauline's story with the hope of helping raise the funds needed to keep these critical services available to seniors. The room was full of generous people from the community who wanted to give back.

Dennis Bounds, a household name in Seattle as a TV anchor for King 5 News and member of the community was the Emcee. Dennis can be seen at many Providence events and many say he is the "Voice of Providence" since he dedicates so much of his time to supporting the organization. As an aside, hearing him say "Envijo" was a dream come true for me as I grew up watching him and being a fan of his commanding voice.

When it came time to show Pauline's story, I felt nervous. Did we do her story justice? Did we honor her journey and the do right by Lynette and her family? Moments later we knew, Lynette said "my family will treasure this piece forever. Thank you." We were moved. Thrilled. Proud. After the donations had come in, the Marianwood luncheon hit an all-time record.

The 2018 Providence Marianwood Luncheon Raised $128,000 for Senior Services

One attendee said "after I watched Pauline's video I doubled my contribution." We were shocked by the admiration but also recognized we were just the messengers, Lynette and Pauline are the one's that shared their hearts with the audience, we merely provided the vehicle. And for that, we are truly grateful and humbled.

Watch Pauline's Story

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