The Sollar Wellness Center – Your Health is our Mission

Mary StanleyA blog post by PR and Marketing Coordinator, Mary Stanley

February can be a difficult month—usually cold and snowy—providing little motivation to stick to New Year goals and resolutions to stay fit, take better care of ourselves or to try something new. But thanks to community centers like the Sollar Wellness Center, getting healthy or stepping outside of our comfort zone to try new things, whether it’s a fitness program or an art class, has never been easier.

We are excited to open the doors of the Sollar Wellness Center to the community and to encourage all people from the public, those with and without disabilities, to participate in many of the programs we offer here. We want the Sollar Wellness Center to be a true community center, where people of all abilities engage in activities together and connect with one another.

As part of NEV’s own goals for 2017, is a commitment to offering classes and programs that are designed not only for the people we serve, but for the people from the general community as well. Dedicated to making “your health our mission,” we plan to offer fitness classes where people with intellectual or developmental disabilities can participate alongside those without disabilities, and art classes that are inclusive of people of all abilities. We want the public to come to see the Sollar Wellness Center as a resource for them as much as it is a resource for the people we serve.

In addition to being a center that offers the community a variety of options that promote a healthy lifestyle, it is our hope that people from the town of Pembroke and surrounding towns will gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of the work that we do here and, in time, will help to foster relationships between the people we serve and the general community. As anyone who works in the human services field will tell you, the relationships and friendships we develop with the people we serve have a significant impact on our own health and happiness and go a long way in bringing out the very best in us. And that is a health benefit you cannot get from just any community center.

A New Year and a Fresh Start

Mary StanleyA blog post by PR and Marketing Coordinator, Mary Stanley

New Year’s Eve signifies the end of one year and the start of another—it is a time for reflecting on all that has occurred over the past 12 months and then looking toward the future with a renewed sense of optimism. For many people, 2016 may have been a difficult year—one that was fraught with difficulties or loss and 2017 represents a fresh start and a time to be filled with the hope that the next 12 months will be better than the last.

Many of us use this fresh start as a time to make resolutions—to lose weight, to quit smoking, to get organized, or to tighten our financial belts. But, alas, many of these promises will be broken before January even comes to a close. One so-called “cheat day,” where we allow ourselves to indulge in just a few extra calories or to make just one shopping splurge, all too often leads us back into familiar old habits. Maybe the secret to successfully following through on our New Year commitments is to stop “resolving” and to start planning. As I told my daughter when she was discussing her own resolutions for 2017, “a goal without a plan is just a wish.” Perhaps the key to successfully changing a habit or adopting good habits is to steer clear of making generalized statements and to be specific about the steps we will take toward achieving our goals. For instance, instead of saying, “I’m going to lose 15 pounds,” break down that goal into a series of actions that will lead to weight loss. A defined action is a little more tangible than something as generalized and obscure as “losing weight,” and once you have taken an action toward your goal, you get to cross it off your list—a very satisfying and gratifying feeling.

The new year is not just a time to commit to making physical changes or improvements—it can also be a time to reflect on ourselves, our attitudes, or our behaviors and to consider how we can become better people, more fulfilled, in essence, happier. For many of us, finding the happiness we desire may be a matter of simply changing our perceptions. Are we seeing the glass half full or half empty? Are we grateful for even the smallest things in life—a warm home, food on the table, good friends in our lives? When we are grateful for what we have, we cannot help but feel happy.

With 2017 now upon us, let’s take the time to consider what actions we can take that will help us to reach our goals and realize our dreams, but always while remaining grateful for all of the blessings we have in our lives.


In the Spirit of the Holidays

Mary StanleyA blog post by PR and Marketing Coordinator, Mary Stanley

With the holiday season well underway, it is difficult not to think about the spirit of giving and what that truly means. I remember as a child, carefully selecting items for the people on my list and being genuinely excited about giving the gifts I had chosen. Those memories serve as a reminder to me of what this season is really about—the sincere desire to give something special to someone for the sole purpose of letting that person know I care. Because of those experiences earlier in my life, I have come to understand that giving a gift that positively impacts the life of another is the essence of this season.

In this age of Black Friday, Shop Local Saturday, and Cyber Monday, along with the multiple platforms that advertisers use to bury us under a sea of commercialism,  it can be easy to lose sight of the true meaning  of the holidays. While we can blame that loss on commercialism, perhaps it would be better to delve a bit deeper and consider our own behaviors. Could our choice of gifts be preventing us from feeling that genuine sense of joy that comes from giving?  In our struggle to keep alive the spirit of the words, “peace on earth and good will toward men,” maybe we should consider giving gifts that have a far reaching impact and touch the lives of others.

Rather than heading to the nearest big box store in search of the latest and greatest television or jumping on the internet to purchase the newest smart phone, perhaps we should choose a more meaningful gift—one that improves the human condition. While the thrill of new technology will make us happy in the moment, the joy it brings will wane after a few months, if it lasts that long. But a donation made to an organization whose mission is to enrich the lives of people who have been marginalized is something that has long lasting and a far reaching impact. Donating to a nonprofit organization that every day strives to make a difference in the lives of people who need its services not only brings joy to the people directly served by the organization but to the donor as well.  Knowing that our gift has the power to affect so many people in positive ways indeed fills us with that genuine sense of joy that we all seek during this season.

And so, as you prepare for the holidays, I wish you all the peace and joy that comes with giving from the heart.

Autumn: A time to celebrate family

Mary StanleyA blog post by PR and Marketing Coordinator, Mary Stanley

For many of us, the end of August marks a time when our children take that step into the next phase of their lives and go off to college. After moving them into their dorms and saying tearful good byes, the next time we get to see them may not be until Family weekend, typically scheduled for October or early November. When we come to visit at that time, we will see a change in them; they will have acclimated and adjusted to their new life, made new friends, and found a place where they are truly happy. They will be excited to share stories with us and we will find ourselves thoroughly enjoying our conversations with them. Continue reading

Art: A Reflection of Humanity

Mary StanleyA blog post by PR and Marketing Coordinator, Mary Stanley

While it is always inspiring  to see people participate in the annual Art is for Everyone event, this year it was especially moving and exciting to see people of all ages, abilities, and talent levels work together to create a piece that is both beautiful and a true reflection of the community.

Three years ago, New England Village joined forces with Cardinal Cushing Centers, Friendship Home, and South Shore YMCA to host a fun, art-focused event called Art is for Everyone. The mission of this event is to provide an opportunity to members of the community—those with and without disabilities—to  create pieces of art Continue reading

Remembering the Arts

As research into a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease continues, some in the medical field have discovered what those in the humanities have known for a very long time—that the key to living with this disease and other forms of dementia may be as close as your local art museum.

The impact that the arts have on the aging brain, especially one afflicted with memory issues, is nothing short of incredible. According to the website,, “studies show that art therapy can enhance communication, brain function, and social interaction for dementia patients. In fact, visual art can trigger dormant memories and emotions, inspiring conversations among these patients who normally struggle to express themselves. What’s more, when dementia patients create the art themselves, that activity stimulates the whole brain.” Continue reading

The Long …and Lonely…Good-bye

Mary StanleyA blog post by PR and Marketing Coordinator, Mary Stanley
It’s called the long good-bye, perhaps because little by little, day by day, over the span of many years, Alzheimer’s Disease robs its victims of their memories, abilities, and eventually their own identities. All of the routine tasks they once performed, from brushing their teeth to dressing themselves to lifelong hobbies, are now too complicated to complete alone; the patients require the assistance of a caregiver and most often, that caregiver is a spouse. As the disease progresses, communication becomes difficult, making it challenging to maintain friendships and socialize. Even relationships between spouses can become tricky with the absence of the normal conversations they once enjoyed. Given all of these challenges, it’s not unusual for the patient and the caregiver to become isolated.

Fortunately, there is a concept that is giving all people living with memory changes (including  Alzheimer’s patients) and their caregivers a bit of a break from the loneliness of this hardship. Called Memory Cafés, these two-hour social sessions are a place for people with memory loss issues and their caregivers to come together and connect with other people who are living with the same challenges. Continue reading

Siblings and Family the Foundation for All Other Relationships

mike_gaffey_blogA Blog Post by Assistant Residential Director Michael Gaffey

With Siblings Day approaching in our Village calendar, I’ve been asked to reflect upon the significance of siblings and family.  I find myself hard pressed to begin. Such a simple concept; such a difficult concept to express simply!

We are all of us, in our own ways, directly and deeply formed through our relationships with each other. Our families are, for many of us, the Continue reading

A Magical Adventure

MollyA Blog Post by NEV Resident Molly Houston

On Monday, March 14th, I left with Ashley to head to Logan Airport for our trip to Disney to celebrate my 30th birthday. I barely slept the night before I was so excited. Fred drove us to the airport and we flew down to Orlando; we were able to watch TV on the plane which made the flight a lot easier. When we got off the plane, the Disney Magical Express took us to the hotel we were staying at (Pop Century Resort). It was hot in Florida, so we changed into shorts and went right to the Continue reading