The Care Givers ministry at First United Methodist Church has added a new service of monthly meetings for past and present attendees of the quarterly Care Givers series. The first of these meetings will take place Thursday, January 11, at 5:30 p.m. at the church.
The Care Givers ministry offers information and support to anyone that is providing care to a spouse, parent, sibling, or non-family member. They do this partially through a regular six-week informational series.
“The ministry provides a safe place to discuss your experiences, gain ideas for healthy coping, and draw support from fellow care givers,” said Laura Evans, group leader at Care Givers.
The new reunion meetings are geared toward strengthening interaction between caregivers.
“The primary goal is to stay connected to others that are providing care,” Evans said. “This connection is so vital because the role of care giver is sometimes very lonely and isolating.”
At the first meeting this Thursday, the speaker will be Bonita Bandaries, author of A Promise Kept, the workbook used at the Care Givers series.
Evans said that when Care Givers was first starting up, it was difficult to find a curriculum with the proper focus.
“We began searching for a curriculum that was Christian-based and focused on the caregiver, not the loved one being cared for,” she said.
“Believe it or not, this was not an easy task. Then one day in the Shreveport Times there was a book being reviewed called A Promise Kept which was written by a local writer, Ms. Bandaries. Since adding a monthly meeting is a new area for the ministry, it is only fitting that Ms. Bandaries be the guest speaker. During her presentation, she will provide a personal account of why she became a caregiver and how this role impacted her life.”
The Care Givers ministry fills a unique role in the community, according to Evans.
“There are all kinds of guides or self-help books for us to draw upon in life,” she said.
“But then there is the topic of care giving, about which very few guides are written. What I have found since the inception of the Care Givers ministry is that care giving comes in all kinds of forms and is provided to all kinds of people, but the stress and strain the caregivers experience are all the same.”