From idle, bored, and depressed to active, engaged, and thriving

Your donations helped get James back in the game!

For 30 years, roofing was James’ life — until it wasn’t. Decades of hard, manual work had taken their toll on James’ knees, a specialist told him one day; it had to stop. Still years away from retirement, James was out of work and out of the game.

Without his job, James became idle, bored and depressed. Therapy helped, but James still missed the sense of purpose that came with working every day. But then PVM – and your donation dollars – entered the picture, and everything changed.

James admits he wasn’t sure about Flint’s McFarlan Villages at first. His wife, however, had other ideas in mind. She knew what made James happy, and Court Street Village, as part of the larger McFarlan Villages community, had it in spades.

“My wife told me the key words: ‘You know you love seniors,’” James recalls now. “I said, ‘You’re right.’”

Three years ago, a staff member recommended James for a new volunteer position as an on-call resident performing odd jobs around McFarlan Villages. It was just what James needed to get back on his feet again. “Now I’m not depressed,” says James, who does everything from landscaping to assisting residents with handy work. “I’m too busy!”

“If they got something they think I’m pretty good at or I can do, I’m game. Man, I’m game. There’s just not too much I wouldn’t do for ‘em,” says James, who feels God has given him a new purpose at McFarlan Villages.

“This place has really helped,” he says. Thanks to your support, James is active, engaged and loving life – and he’s determined to get other residents off the sidelines and back in the game, too.

In addition to serving as an on-call resident, James also coaches McFarlan Villages residents for the Village Victory Cup, PVM’s annual Olympics-style wellness competition for older adults. He has high expectations for his senior athletes – James holds practices year-round, ramping up the training schedule as the big day approaches – but still keeps things fun.

In return, the residents give it their all – if only to keep him from nagging, he jokes.

“Most of them tried the things they couldn’t do, and oh, do they enjoy it. You’d see ‘em smiling from ear to ear,” James says. “And I just love that.”

James’ training seems to be paying off, too. The first year McFarlan Villages was eligible for the Village Victory Cup, they placed sixth out of 17 teams. By their second year, they’d taken home the bronze medal. James is proud of the change he’s seen in his teammates, and he’s proud of how far he’s come since moving to McFarlan Villages.

“I’ve got everything I need here,” James says. “As long as PVM stays here, I’m here.”

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