BCF Grant Helps Renaissance Team Hit High Note With Seniors

Renaissance Enterprises’ visits were always music to the ears of residents of local senior care facilities, but their presence became even sweeter as the audience experienced increased isolation due to COVID-19 restrictions.    
“We’ve been doing everything we can to get programming to them,” said Bob Rowe, Renaissance Enterprises’ executive director. “It’s not been easy.”
But their dedication is what fueled the desire to innovate how they deliver their services.
“So many of them have no one to visit them, so the programs are a real lifeline to their lives,” Rowe said about the difference Renaissance Enterprises can make.
About 30 artists make up the Renaissance team who are then tapped to perform at nearly a dozen Berrien County senior care facilities throughout the year. Performances are not just limited to music – visual artists also provide interactive demonstrations of their talent, such as painting. The acts – especially the musical ones – can jog fond memories or transport seniors back to their childhood. The performances also provide a sort of camaraderie, he added. 
Though they kept a schedule on par with 2019, 2020 was marked by social distancing and masks. The acts were flexible to adhere to guidelines so they could meet the needs of seniors by performing outside or staying in designated spaces indoors. The innovation continues to this day as Rowe is currently working with a facility to stream performances to residential rooms on a closed circuit television.
A For Good Grant from the Berrien Community Foundation allows Renaissance Enterprises to continue bringing smiles to faces.
“(The grant) made all the difference in the world,” Rowe said, noting personal donations to the organization had fallen last year. “The Foundation’s support was crucial, or otherwise we would’ve had to cut (programming) way, way down.”