Friday nights mean one thing to the residents living at Twin Cities Pavilion in Niceville — movie night.
For years, the small, well-loved 24-inch television and Video Home System (VHS), that is situated in the TV room at Twin Cities has been the No. 1 source of entertainment for the 50 or so residents who live at the facility at any given time.
After learning of their low-technology movie nights, a handful of local real estate agents decided to do something about it. The agents of the Destin and 30A Coldwell Banker United formed the organization CBU Cares in late 2011 so they could help out the community.
CBU Cares' agents donate a portion of their commission, host fundraisers and participate in a number of volunteer projects to raise money for community projects and citizens in need.
Broker Associate Kathie O'Dell is one of the agents who pumped up the picture — and the volume — for those seniors living at Twin Cities last week.
"Funding is usually pretty difficult to secure for seniors," said O'Dell. "Most people automatically donate to children's charities — which is great — but seniors seem to be forgotten."
Sales manager at Coldwell Banker United, Realtors, and CBU Cares member Mary Skinner said once the Niceville office heard about their donation, they asked if they could help by supplying the DVDs. Skinner said they told them "of course!"
Surprising the residents with a 55-inch flat screen television, a Blu-Ray/DVD player and piles of their favorite movies and TV shows, including "I Love Lucy," "The Honeymooners," "The Waltons," and "Casablanca," the CBU Cares agents spiced up an otherwise bland Friday night at Twin Cities.
Facility Director Kim Fraley told The Log how much the donation meant to her, and to the 40 senior citizens who are currently living at Twin Cities. "Lots of people help out on Christmas, which is great," said Fraley. "But that leaves 11 months of the year without volunteers . . ."
The Twin Cities Pavilion in Niceville opened its doors in 1981 after the city donated the building. The current price for a shared bedroom is $1,550 per resident, and Fraley told The Log that more than half of the residents can't afford to pay that, because most of them depend on a small monthly Social Security check as their sole income.
Twin Cities activities director Jeanne Barr agreed, adding that volunteers like CBU Cares and other organizations are vital in the day-to-day activities of the facility.
With activities including BINGO, various exercise classes, parties and presentations available to the guests; Barr said they are always in need of volunteers. If you would like to learn more about the Twin Cities Pavilion assisted living home in Niceville or volunteer, please call 833-9212.
Skinner said this is just the beginning for CBU Cares and their charitable endeavors for 2013 for the year.
"We're meeting next month to plan our spring fundraiser."
WANT TO HELP?
The Twin Cities Pavilion assisted living home is still in serious need of essential supplies. Facility Director Kim Fraley told The Log that the most necessary items are dining room chairs, as most of those Twin Cities currently has are old and rusted, as well as veneer wood dining tables. They also can always use lamps for the residents’ nightstands, small in-room refrigerators, carpet cleaning and as many volunteers as possible.
Fraley also added that Twin Cities and its sister home, Crestview Manor, have never had a vehicle of their own to transport guests, always relying on multiple volunteers to transport residents. "If the county — or anyone has a van to sell at a reasonable price, we could share with Crestview," said Fraley.