ANGLETON — Celebrating seven years of dementia awareness in the county, Brazoria County Alzheimer’s Awareness Project officials gave recognition to community partners and featured speakers discussing the importance of volunteerism.

The Brazoria County Alzheimer’s Awareness Project’s luncheon Thursday gave out goodie bags to volunteers and community partners, including Cypress Woods Care Center and Tonya Visor, marketing communications manager for UTMB Health Angleton Danbury Campus.

Started in 2012 as a partnership of the Gathering Place and the Brazoria County Health Department, the goals of the Brazoria County Alzheimer’s Awareness Project are to provide information about dementia and to encourage early detection.

The last seven years have been wonderful, and a big reason behind why the Gathering Place and the Brazoria County Alzheimer’s Awareness Project continues to inform the public, said Dale Libby, CEO of the Gathering Place.

“Education is an important part,” he said. “Education is important to support the caregivers.”

The Gathering Place reached more than 1,500 people in the last year and he wants to reach even more in the community in 2020 though intimate programs such as the Meta Camp, Libby said.

“It’s over two months,” he said. “It’s four sessions. It’s only 10 people at a time. There will be some people, being in that small of a group, who will form some bonds.”

With more than 300 volunteers actively helping run programs, fitness classes and medical screening events, the community support has been vital in keeping the Gathering Place secure and functional, Libby said.

UTMB Health Angleton Danbury Campus got to where it is today because of volunteers, and organizations such as the Gathering Place continue to thrive and serve the community though volunteers, Katrina Lambrecht, the hospital system’s vice president of health systems operations and regional hospitals, said during Thursday’s luncheon.

“Making a difference comes from making a connection from one another,” she said. “That power of connection can be a driving force for positive change and we see that here with the Brazoria County Alzheimer’s Awareness Project.”

It is important to recognize volunteers as they are often the backbone of organizations, Lambrecht said.

“An individual can make a difference,” she said. “Without volunteers, there are so many beautiful, beautiful things that just don’t happen, that can’t happen. I went into health care in large part because of that.”

Health care is intrinsically about making a difference by making a human connection, Lambrecht said.

“It really strengthens me when I get to work alongside volunteers who show up every day,” she said.

Connor Behrens is a reporter at The Facts. You can contact him at 979-237-0150.

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