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Rolla Presbyterian Manor welcomes new activities director

Robert Garcia took over the position of activities director at Rolla Presbyterian Manor in January.

“I found my niche,” said Robert. “I think this is it. Everybody here is so wonderful. They are a blessing to work with.”

But as wonderful as his coworkers are, “it’s all about the residents,” he said. “They keep me going, keep a smile on my face and keep me inspired to do new and better things.”

Robert began working in the senior living industry when he joined the housekeeping staff at another community. There, he had the opportunity to move into a position as an activities assistant and he found that he loved the work. He worked at both Silverstone Place and St. James Living Center before taking the activities director position at Rolla Presbyterian Manor.

Since he arrived at Presbyterian Manor, Robert has made a few adjustments to the activities routine, although he doesn’t plan to introduce too much change at once. One new thing is the publication of a monthly activities calendar so that residents and their family members can see what’s coming and plan ahead.

He has also introduced some new activities around two things he loves: cooking and painting.

Robert’s “In the Kitchen” program allows residents to help make a special dish. Sometimes the activity is tied to the day. For example, residents recently decorated cupcakes on National Cupcake Day. Another new activity is painting on canvas.

That’s a natural activity for Robert to lead, as he runs an “on-the-go” sip-and-paint business. Instead of operating out of a storefront, he and a friend will take their paint night concept to churches, private clubs and people’s homes. At the end of the evening, everyone takes home a new work of art.

He also enjoys crafting, painting and drawing. He is an illustrator who is working on a children’s book. In his free time, Robert also enjoys the occasional glass of wine and making food for friends.

“I like feeding people and I enjoy surprising people with food,” he said. Some of his specialties are taco dip and chili, although he also enjoys making cakes and cookies.

Robert was born and raised in the Detroit area, but has lived in Rolla for more than 30 years. He and his ex-wife moved to be closer to her relatives when their two children were small.

“Best move ever,” said Robert, who loves the Rolla community. The children who were little ones when Robert moved to Rolla are in their early 30s now, and Robert has four grandchildren.

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