Valley Breeze

The North Providence Breeze 11-18-2020

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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2 NORTH PROVIDENCE NOVEMBER 18-24, 2020 | VALLEY BREEZE | NORTH PROVIDENCE EDITION NORTH PROVIDENCE – For Consuelo Bulawan-Jessop, of North Providence, being a Dole Fellow is about helping veteran caregivers like herself by creating a commu- nity of support for the local "hidden heroes." Bulawan-Jessop was selected in 2018 as Rhode Island's first Dole Caregiver Fellow through the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, which works to empower and advocate for the nation's 5.5 million military caregivers. When Bulawan-Jessop first left her hairdressing career in 2016 to care for her veteran husband Chris on a full-time basis, she said she hardly considered herself a "military care- giver." "So much has changed since then," she said. "The career I left behind is completely behind, and I'm looking forward to where my alumni status as a fellow will bring me." At the start of her path, Bulawan- Jessop said she felt burned-out with nowhere to turn for help. After being selected as a Dole Caregiver Fellow, she was given the extra sup- port and resources she needed to care for Chris without forgetting to care for herself. Now, she's paying it forward to other "hidden heroes" in Rhode Island, using her fellowship to cre- ate a 12-week program based in North Providence specifically for military caregivers. Her platform is wellness. "I want them to be able to care for themselves," she said. "... It's so important for their ability to care for their service member." Overall, Bulawan-Jessop said she is hoping the program will help par- ticipants stave off caregiver burnout. She said she's looking forward to the growth of camaraderie among the program's participants. The women in the program, all local military caregivers, will work with various professionals to improve their overall well-being. Bulawan-Jessop said it goes back to the old adage that "you can't pour from an empty cup." Last Thursday evening, they met at the Meehan Overlook at Gov. Notte Park in North Providence, where they were introduced to several Rhode Islanders who have stepped up to aid the program. Kim Hunt and Jamie Deligore, of Underground Yoga in Glocester, led a private yoga session for par- ticipants. Both women have several veteran family members, including Hunt's son, who serves in the U.S. National Guard. Hunt said everyone, especially caregivers, "needs to take time for themselves." "People in general need to realize that it's not a selfish thing to do," she said. "We can be so busy taking care of others that it can be really difficult to find time to care for our- selves. I want to take this opportu- nity to let them know that self-care is okay, and give them the tools to help." NP woman creates community for military caregivers By NICOLE DOTZENROD Valley Breeze Staff Writer BREEZE PHOTO BY NICOLE DOTZENROD CONSUELO BULAWAN-JESSOP, of North Providence, front row, second from right, has used her platform as 2019 Dole Caregiver Fellow to start a 12-week program for local veteran caregivers. Pictured are, in front row, KIM HUNT and JAMIE DELIGORE of Underground Yoga, BULAWAN-JESSOP, and caregiver JENNIFER GARAFANO of Providence; and in rear, ADRIENNE HAZARD of Narragansett, a caregiver for her retired Marine father; DANI ADAMS of Attleboro, Mass., who cares for an injured U.S. Army soldier; and JEN COSTANZA of Rooted Life. See CAREGIVERS, Page 4

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