Joyce Stark, who began working for The Baptist Home in June 1987, before the facility was even built, is retiring. Her last day is tomorrow (Friday).
Joyce Stark, who began working for The Baptist Home in June 1987, before the facility was even built, is retiring. Her last day is tomorrow (Friday). At the age of 39, Stark began as a bookkeeper and visited the people who soon would become the facility’s residents. She worked out of a mobile home at the front of the property while the facility was being constructed. The mobile home provided office space as well as a place to host future residents when they visited. The building was completed in early March 1988 and the first four residents arrived later that month. At the time of the move, the facility’s administrator asked Stark if she would like to continue as bookkeeper or have another position at the home. She said she’d rather work with residents, so she became the activity/social service director. Shortly after its opening, the facility added another wing and divided the activity and social service responsibilities. At that time, Stark decided to move entirely into the activity director position and has remained there for 30 years. Stark said that she decided to work for The Baptist Home because she was wanting to work in a Christian environment. “I believe God opened the door for me to work here,” she said. As activity director, Stark plans and implements a program of activities, individualized for each resident’s particular needs. She publishes a daily group activities in a monthly calendar made available to residents. Upon an individual’s admission to The Baptist Home, Stark assesses the resident’s activity preferences and helps the new resident become familiar with the activities program. She also takes residents out for special activities, including church and community events, and develops and implements a program of shopping for residents, including the transportation of residents to shopping areas on a regular basis. Stark also helps residents exercise their rights as citizens, including arrangements for voting in elections. “Joyce is a one-of-a-kind person,” said Ruthie Meyers, administrator of The Baptist Home in Chillicothe. “I’ve worked with her for over 24 years. She’s tremendous, amazing, and always has the residents’ best interest at heart.” Stark’s passion mirrors the facility’s mission “to reflect God’s love in our ministries to senior adults,” and its vision “to assist each senior adult to live up to his or her highest potential by addressing spiritual, emotional, physical, social, and security needs.” Activities are important for the residents, Stark said. “They all need something useful to do and something to look forward to each day,” she said. Games are also good for residents. “It stimulates and keeps the brain working and games are also good for socialization,” she said. Stark, who began teaching music as a teen-ager at the Canterbury Music Center in Chillicothe, incorporates music into activities at The Baptist Home. “Music has been an important part of the activity work,” she said. “Residents especially like music from their era and the old hymns they grew up with.” “Music can comfort and encourage residents,” she added. Stark said she has enjoyed her time as activity director because of “the many terrific people” who have been residents of The Baptist Home. “Each resident has been unique,” she said. “They are special and have their own stories to tell. It has been a privilege to help them remain active and enjoying life.” In addition to working full-time at The Baptist Home from 7 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., Stark also gives private music lessons beginning at 4 p.m. each weekday and a few hours on Saturdays. “I enjoy the senior adults in the daytime and the youth after work,” she said. “It’s a good change.” She teachers guitar, bass, banjo, ukulele, and mandolin. She also is presently learning and taking lessons on the violin. “As they say, ‘It’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks!’” The activities director position at The Baptist Home will be filled by Angie Hamilton, who has worked as Stark’s assistant. Hamilton has been employed with The Baptist Home for several years. The public is invited to a reception honoring Joyce Stark at 2 p.m. tomorrow (Friday, Jan. 5).