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Encore Spotlight: Cheryl Edwards-Cannon

This Encore Shares Life Lessons of Caring for Her Beloved Mother

Taking Care of Miss Bee Bee may or may not ever become a best-seller, but for its author, the only thing that counts is that it was generated by an act of love.

“It honors the memory of my mother,” says Cheryl Edwards-Cannon, who spent a decade compiling anecdotes about the life, times and death of her mother Virginia, aka “Miss Bee Bee.”

Edwards-Cannon never intended to become an author. She earned a minor in journalism en route to a degree in secondary education from Central Michigan University in 1978. Later, she earned a master’s in management from Aquinas College.

“I had a lot of different experiences,” she said. “All of them have proven to be the types of experiences I needed to become the person that I am.”

Now in her encore years, she’s devoting time to Clear Path Choices, a business she founded three years ago.

She was motivated to start the business after the onset of Bee Bee’s dementia in the late 90s. Prior to Bee Bee’s death, Edwards-Cannon became immersed in the complicated decisions that attend those entering their last chapter of life.

What she discovered was a significant lack of direction for those seeking counsel on matters regarding physical, social, emotional, spiritual and financial concerns.

“It was hard for me to find an organization that explained it all for me,” she recalled.

Enter Clear Path Choices (clearpathchoices.com), which works to develop a customized plan with answers to all of the above.

Her journey along with the experiences she’s had with both her late mother and her 91-year-old father prompted her to fold her work into the book.

She was encouraged when she sent one of her anecdotes to the Chicken Soup series of books and was accepted for publication.

Edwards-Cannon promises to debut a book that is both bitter-sweet and humorous, playing up the everyday challenges affecting those growing old and needing to make decisions that a impact those around them.

The Trailblazer

Nature is calling at Kent County Parks this spring. Help monitor the Kent Trails or the M-6 Trail while you hike or bike alongside fellow outdoor enthusiasts, or dedicate your time to keeping trails and parks healthy and thriving by learning about invasive plants and how to remove them.
Take Action: Contact Kent County Parks at park.volunteers@kentcountymi.gov.

The Thirst Quencher

The 2017 Fifth Third River Bank Run is right around the corner. Not a runner? Not a problem! Join the Salvation Army in its effort to provide a great experience for participants by becoming an aid station volunteer. Pass out water and Gatorade, refill water bottles and distribute ice to thirsty runners while cheering them on to the finish line.
Take Action: Contact Lauren Hagerman Tekelly at (616) 459-3433.

The Biographer

Do you have a knack for writing? Become a Life Story volunteer at Emmanuel Hospice and help preserve the stories of terminally ill hospice patients by creating written keepsakes for their family members. Form a special bond with participants as you spend time with them and listen to their unique stories.
Take Action: Contact Heidi at (616) 719-0919 or by email at hpelton@emmanuelhospice.org.

The Volunteerographer

Access of West Michigan is looking for volunteer videographers with keen eyes and filming experience to record the upcoming 40th annual Hunger Walk on Sunday, May 7. Capture detail-oriented footage of the kick-off events, the walk itself and the after walk events to help Access of West Michigan promote next year’s event.
Take Action: Contact Access of West Michigan at (616) 774-2175.

The Walker and Talker

Provide companionship to residents at Porter Hills Village by volunteering as a walking partner. Monitor disabled seniors as you embark on a leisurely stroll through the area while engaging in wonderful conversation.
Take Action: Contact Porter Hills Village at (616) 954-1799 ext. 10233, or by email at tmilivojevic@porterhills.org.

The Planter

The 2017 Bridge Street Spring Tree Planting, facilitated by Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, needs dedicated volunteers on Sunday, May 7 to continue the important work set in place by the Urban Forest Project. Pull on your gardening gloves and help plant new trees throughout the city of Grand Rapids just in time for summer.
Take Action: Contact Daria at daria@friendsofgrparks.org.

The Wild Eye

Nature Abounds is looking for vigilant volunteers to join the efforts of the Watch the Wild program. Simply observe the “wild” in your area and report what you see. From tree and plant growth to weather and wildlife activity, even the smallest sightings help Nature Abounds understand how ecosystems are changing.
Take Action: Contact Nature Abounds at (814) 765-1453 or by email at info@natureabounds.org.

The Retail Rescuer

Lakeshore Habitat for Humanity is looking for charismatic and organized volunteers to help keep the Restore® shop running smoothly. Assist by stocking products, collecting new merchandise, completing necessary store maintenance and answering any customer questions.
Take Action: Contact Lakeshore Habitat for Humanity at (616) 393-8001.



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