Earlier this month, residents of The Harbor hosted their first formal dinner party as part of the Occupational Therapy program. The residents had expressed interest in doing more activities as a house, and the formal dinner was one option they chose. Residents and staff were invited to bring a guest to the dinner, which the residents organized. The menu was set by the residents and included their favorite or signature dishes. Dinner service included salmon, fried chicken, pork chops, strawberry walnut salad, baked sweet potatoes, deviled eggs, caramel cake and chocolate covered strawberries.
Courtney Meyer, Occupational Therapist Alexian Brothers AIDS Ministry, said the residents wanted to plan a social event where more than just the residents and staff could attend. “They wanted a more real life situation,” said Meyer, who oversaw the dinner as part of the Occupational Therapy program. Several Occupational Therapy objectives were met during the planning and execution of the formal dinner, such as budgeting, setting and completing a goal, cooking and collaborating as a house.
Of the success of the evening, Meyer said the formal dinner went very well. “They all want to do it again,” said Meyer. “They were able to plan and work well together and set personal issues aside.” Meyer also spoke of a self esteem boost experienced by many residents after the dinner. “They were able to step outside themselves and not feel guarded,” said Meyer. Many residents have learned from past experiences that they needed to protect themselves from the judgement of others. Meyer said that them being able to open up in the friendly, accepting environment at the formal dinner helped to make them more comfortable and open with their status.