Pittsboro native and resident Joyce Bouldin Frank’s work career took her to a variety of jobs in Chatham County and then to positions in accounting and management. But sensing God had other plans for her, Frank resigned, seeking a different way to serve.
“After much prayer and lots of work,” she says, “SonShine & Blessings was born.”
Founded in 2004, SonShine & Blessings’ mission is to “share the love of Christ with the people of our community by providing Adult Care and Transportation Services, and Music Education for all ages.” This week, we speak with Frank about the work of the ministry.
She and her husband Mike are members of Emmaus Baptist Church in Pittsboro.
How did SonShine & Blessings begin?
I was an office and accounting manager in Cary when I felt the Lord leading me to do something different. After months of praying, I felt that it was time to begin a ministry that serves the elderly and disabled with their everyday needs, and their caregivers with respite care services, along with teaching music as well!
Since you started, back in 2004, has the ministry evolved in the way you originally envisioned? What changed along the way?
God always has some directional changes along the way.
Originally, we offered Christian financial counseling in addition to our other services. But after a few years, between lack of interest in the financial counseling aspect, and the elder care and music education areas growing rapidly, our board of directors decided it best to drop that part of our services.
The original vision for the elderly was respite care due to my father, Raymond Bouldin, having Alzheimer’s disease. As it turned out, we’ve had very few actual respite care clients. Most of our clients have been elderly or disabled folk who just need extra help to stay in their homes longer and stay as independent as possible. We do a lot of house cleaning, grocery shopping, transporting clients to and from doctors and the grocery store, and personal care, like help with bathing, medications, cooking, laundry and changing sheets.
Why focus your efforts on working with older adults?
I’ve always had a love for the elderly. When I was in elementary school, I adopted a “grandmother” in a nursing home near my home. I still remember her fondly. Her name was Mrs. Berta Dark. I would write letters for her, paint her nails, etc. I also started then (and have continued over the years) to take my flute and play for the residents. As I said earlier, my daddy had Alzheimer’s. It broke my heart to see him decline mentally and to see my mama get so tired and worn out caring for him. I just wanted to be able to supply help for others in similar situations. And it’s not just for older adults. We serve physically handicapped people as well.
How do you get connected to potential clients, and how do you decide how best to serve them?
Most of our clients have come by word-of-mouth: A client telling someone else about our services, then that client telling someone else, and so on. A few have been referred from the Chatham County Council on Aging or have learned about SS&B from the annual fundraising event we held annually in Pittsboro for several years (pre-COVID) at Hwy. 55 Burgers Shakes & Fries. We’re hoping to resume that event this year in April with the new owners of what is now Dillinger’s. Keep your eyes and ears open for more on that!
How is your work funded?
SS&B is privately funded. We don’t receive any government funding of any kind. We have set rates for our services and mileage, but they are only to value the services for IRS purposes. Funds given to charities can’t be considered donations if services were rendered in return for those funds. Clients (and students) are asked to pay whatever they can afford; we don’t ask regarding finances … we leave that between them and the Lord.
They don’t have to pay anything if they can’t afford to, and some of our clients don’t. Some pay exactly the valued rate. Some pay a small lump sum, like $25 per month, and some give generously above the valued amount. Funds given over the value are considered a donation. SS&B has received a few grants through Donor Advisor Funds, gifts from deceased clients’ estates, and donations from private citizens who just want to help make a difference! Of course, the Lord is our true provider!
You’ve said that you do for clients whatever you’re capable of doing physically and mentally… But you also have a musical element to your work. Can you tell us about that?
One of the talents that God gave me is the gift of music. When I was praying about what God wanted me to do with my life, teaching music was part of what I felt He told me to do. I thought about all the home-schooled children and wondered how they would learn music if their parents weren’t musical.
I started out holding group classes for multiple home-schooled families, which was a lot of fun and a lot of work. As it turned out, more work than I could really handle. In addition to group classes, I also taught (and still do) individual lessons for students of all ages. I currently have a 79-year-old student. I teach piano, guitar, banjo, flute and beginner trumpet.
What else do you want people to know about what you do?
All of us at SS&B love the Lord Jesus! Our goal is to share God’s love with others while bringing some joy into their lives, either by physical assistance, simple companionship or the beauty of music. We treat our clients like they are an adopted family.
All volunteers must complete an application, have background and driving records checked, and be interviewed to be sure they have the right motives and heart for this work. Since we are a Christian ministry, and we strive to represent Christ as His hands and feet, we require that all volunteers be Christian. We serve — and teach — anyone, regardless of race, religion, nationality or gender. We are here to serve. The Lord will provide the funds needed to cover expenses via some other avenue if a client/student can’t. He has for 19 years now, and I praise Him for that!
Just FYI, a couple of tidbits: Cindy Perry, Pittsboro’s mayor, was one of our first board members and secretary back in December 2003; Bob Wachs, pastor and writer for the News + Record, recently retired as an SS&B board member after just over eight years. He’s still an active volunteer.
We’d love to hear from potential volunteers, clients and students. Our numbers are 919-542-5436 (office) and 919-810-1230 (cell).
Find out more at www.sonshineandblessings.com.
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