Saturday, July 21 , 2018, 5:48 am | Overcast 64º


Flower Power Nurtures Mutually Beneficial Bond

Three participants — Scott, Robert and Jasmine — at UCP WORK, Inc., have brought flowers to their new friends at the Oak Cottages of Santa Barbara.

The interaction is part of a program that brings people with disabilities together with older folks who live at the Oak Cottage Memory Care Community.

The program is run by UCP WORK, Inc., in Santa Barbara, which helps adults with disabilities with accessing community resources, independent living and vocational skills that will ultimately lead to community employment.

The giving and receiving of the flowers is mutually beneficial, allowing people who might not otherwise have a chance to interact to spend some time together. The bouquets were donated by Trader Joe's.

Oak Cottage residents enjoy and appreciate the visits, said Claudette Catibayan, activities director at Oak Cottage, which provides individualized residential care for seniors challenged by age-related cognitive impairment.

“A priceless smile from all of our residents,” is one of the positive outcomes of the visit, said Catibayan. The bouquets also contribute to residents’ happiness, self-esteem and sense of value, she said.

Robert gets a big hug from Catibayan when they arrive. “I enjoy seeing Claudette, we’re good friends,” he said.

When Jasmine asks an Oak Cottage resident if she can hold her stuffed cat, the resident kindly obliges. Robert looks forward to engaging in this activity every week, saying, it “feels good” and he “likes to help others.”

UCP WORK Inc.’s Applied Abilities Program is multi-faceted hands-on education designed to integrate individuals with disabilities into the community, nurture new friendships and support an independent and fulfilling life.

For more information on UCP WORK, Inc., visit

More about Oak Cottage is at

— Eryn M. Eckert for UCP WORK, Inc.



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