Embracing the Joy of the Season: A Tale of Two Directors

At Valley Village’s Adult Day Health Center (ADHC) at Winnetka and Sunland, the festive season is a canvas of joy, inclusivity, and innovation, painted vividly by its dedicated directors, Candy and Jose. Their unique approaches to celebrating traditions reflect not just their personal beliefs but also the collective spirit of the centers they lead.

Director, Candyce Puga (Candy): A Touch of Magic in Every Celebration at ADHC Winnetka

Director Candy Puga

Photo Credit: Candyce Puga

For Candy, Christmas at the Winnetka Center is nothing short of magical. The most heartwarming tradition involves a staff member dressed as Santa Claus, spreading cheer and gifting moments of happiness. Picture this: Santa moves around the room with a hearty “Ho, Ho, Ho,” delivering gifts personalized with each client’s name while Christmas melodies fill the air. The highlight? The joyous opportunity for clients to take pictures with Santa, capturing the essence of their happiness.

This festive season is more than just an event for Candy; it’s a period that brings joy, happiness, and a sense of blessing. She believes in embracing every cultural background, creating a space where Christmas trees coexist with Hanukkah decorations, and ensuring everyone feels included and respected.

Director, Jose Hernandez: A Fusion of Celebration and Joyful Learning at ADHC Sunland

Director Jose Hernandez

Photo Credit: Jose Hernandez

Jose’s vision for the festive season at Valley Village’s Sunland ADHC is a masterful blend of entertainment, education, and community involvement, exemplified by his innovative planning and inclusive approach. His groundbreaking idea for a Christmas parade involving the local fire and police departments is just the start. This year, Jose has also introduced a “Fun Casino Day” – an event designed not just for entertainment but also as an educational venture. Imagine a day of laughter and excitement, where participants engage in casino-style games. But there’s a twist: these games are carefully crafted to reinforce financial literacy skills in a fun, interactive way.

This Fun Casino Day isn’t just about games. It’s a day where learning and joy intermingle, allowing participants to understand financial concepts in a relaxed, enjoyable setting. The excitement of winning games is coupled with the practical experience of handling ‘money,’ making financial decisions, and understanding value – all essential life skills.

Technology and Innovation: Enhancing Experiences

Candy understands the importance of technology in enriching the festive experience but emphasizes its balanced use. “We carefully integrate technology into our celebrations,” she says. “For instance, we use tablets to allow clients to engage in interactive activities after regular sessions. This keeps technology usage fair and manageable and ensures that our clients don’t feel overwhelmed.” Her approach is about enhancing the experience without letting technology take center stage, ensuring that human interaction and personal touch remain the heart of the festivities.

Participant at ADHC Sunland

Photo Credit: ADHC, Sunland

Jose, on the other hand, envisions a more immersive technological experience. “I dream of creating a sensory room equipped with state-of-the-art technology,” he shares. His idea is inspired by immersive environments like the ‘science center’ or the spherical displays in Las Vegas. “Such a room could transport our clients to different places and experiences, offering them a unique sensory journey.” For Jose, technology is not just a tool but a gateway to new worlds, potentially transformative for clients with various needs.


Impact on Long-Term Goals: More Than Just Festivities

Christmas Activities at Winnetka ADHC

Photo Credit: ADHC, Winnetka

Candy believes festive celebrations are integral to achieving Valley Village’s long-term goals. “Our celebrations are about more than just having fun. They’re opportunities for our clients to interact, share joy, and feel included,” she explains. The activities, especially during the festive season, are designed to improve social interactions, encourage emotional expression, and enhance cognitive abilities. “Seeing our clients write letters to Santa or interact with him is not just about the festivity; it’s about engaging them in meaningful activities that contribute to their overall well-being.

Casino Fun Day at Sunland ADHC

Photo Credit: ADHC, Sunland

Similarly, Jose views these festivities as crucial for long-term development. “Every celebration, every activity we plan, is a step towards our clients’ personal growth,” he says. By incorporating elements like the Fun Casino Day, Jose not only adds excitement to the festivities but also subtly incorporates educational elements like financial literacy. It’s about making learning enjoyable and relevant. “When happy and engaged, clients are more open to learning and developing new skills.” This approach reflects his belief that happiness and learning go hand in hand in contributing to the overall growth of the participants.

Looking Ahead: A Future Filled with Joy and Growth

As we look towards the future, Candy envisions an environment at Valley Village’s ADHC that thrives on diversity and enrichment. “My aim is to make every day a unique experience for our clients,” she emphasizes. Her focus is not just on the festive season but on embedding the essence of these celebrations into daily activities. “Whether it’s a regular day or a special occasion, I want our clients to feel that coming here is a joyous and enriching experience.” Candy’s commitment also extends to her staff, ensuring they find fulfillment and purpose in their roles and contributing to a positive and supportive atmosphere.

Jose’s outlook for the new year is equally ambitious and heartfelt. “My goal is to continue fostering an environment where our participants not only feel safe and healthy but are also actively involved in shaping their experiences here,” he shares. For Jose, the new year is an opportunity to deepen the integration of technology and innovation in the center’s activities, enhancing the sensory experiences of the clients. “I want our participants not just to be receivers of care but active contributors to their journey at Valley Village.” His plans also involve expanding community involvement and innovating with his dedicated staff members and activity coordinator to keep the clients engaged, happy, and growing.

A Shared Vision for Valley Village

With their unique perspectives and shared commitment, both directors drive Valley Village’s ADHC towards a future where every individual is valued, every day is a new opportunity for joy, and growth is a continuous journey. Their vision for the new year and beyond is to maintain an environment that is not just a care facility but a vibrant community where happiness, inclusivity, and empowerment are at the forefront.