Beehives, Birdhouses, and Volunteering: Vocational Wellness at Brandon Wilde

Brandon Wilde, a Life Plan Community in Evans, Ga., cultivates and bolsters all aspects of wellness, including Vocational Wellness – gaining satisfaction from working or creating, whether it uses one’s talents, skills, knowledge, or efforts. We understand the sense of purpose created by fostering our talents and our skills throughout our lives, and by contributing to the world around us.

a resident with his bee hive ouside
The Colonnade at Brandon Wilde resident Thomas Nissen painted birdhouses built in the community’s woodworking shop for the whole campus to enjoy.

Brandon Wilde is home to many retired doctors, lawyers, teachers, nurses, executives, philanthropists, parents and grandparents, and many other people who have interesting careers in and outside the home.

It is common for residents at Brandon Wilde to use their “retirement” as a time to begin second careers in fields that have always interested them or have discovered new passions in recent years.

Artists and craftspeople of all sorts, volunteers, woodworkers, gardeners, computer lovers, lifelong learners, and even burgeoning apiarists (beekeepers) are all supported by Brandon Wilde’s Vocational Wellness program through classes, lectures, and workshops.

The Bees of Brandon Wilde 

resident painting a hive
Sandee Whitaker painted one of the resident-constructed bee hives.

Recently, when Brandon Wilde decided to help the environment by inviting two colonies of bees to live on its beautiful campus, residents rolled up their sleeves and helped the job get finished – the hives were built in the senior living community’s woodworking shop and two resident artists painted them.

When the two queens and their courts moved into the new hives, they had a beautiful new home thanks to this group effort. This is how many things are accomplished at the community — from the well-stocked resident-run library to the resident-tended rose garden.

In a cross-campus effort, independent living residents built new bird houses that were painted by artist Thomas Nissen, who lives at the Colonnade at Brandon Wilde, the community’s personal care/assisted living neighborhood.

In May, the whole community enjoyed those birdhouses as part of a series of on-campus birdwatching events.


resident and volunteer at Windsor House
Independent Living resident Janet Boshears volunteers to help residents in our Memory Care neighborhood, Windsor House at Brandon Wilde, with crafting projects every month. Emily S. Baumann personally funds and volunteers during a monthly musical therapy program at Windsor House, too.

Some independent living residents volunteer for special music therapy and crafting events for people at Windsor House, Brandon Wilde’s memory care neighborhood. Other volunteers work together to create and donate blankets and other needed items to local non-profits, while still others contribute to food and clothing drives.

“Giving back to our community is a wonderful way to improve the world around us and make us feel good at the same time,” explains Senior Director of Community Life Services

Avery Villines, who arranges many volunteering opportunities for residents throughout the year.

a resident making a blankets
Residents recently made blankets for Project Linus.

In May, Brandon Wilde supported a drive for the Martinez, Ga. non-profit When Help Can’t Wait, which gathers supplies for the comfort and convenience of nursing home residents that cannot be readily funded by the facility where they reside.

Through its innovative and comprehensive Health & Wellness Navigation Program, Brandon Wilde focuses on whole-person wellness. The community offers events, classes, clubs, facilities, and services that support emotional, spiritual, environmental, physical, intellectual, social, and vocational wellness, as well as health services. To learn more about this wellness program, visit