Letty Sanchez knew the Valley needed a place for caregivers to come together and find a place for support. Last year, when she heard of Leeza Gibbon’s foundation, she knew she had to bring a location to the Rio Grande Valley.

“There is a need,” said Sanchez who has been doing caregiving education for eight years. “We noticed the Valley didn’t have this type of service, to cater to the caregiver specifically.”

Leeza’s Place is a free-of-charge place, for both caregivers and the recently diagnosed, to come to and get information in educational programs, to connect with others through social activities, emotional support, and learn to navigate through community’s continuum of care.

Sanchez said the foundation works through three principles: education, empowerment and energy. There are only 10 Leeza’s Place in the United States, the closest center is in San Antonio. The Valley foundation is funded through federal and private funding, like WellMed-Physicians Health Choice and the LRGVDC Area Agency on Aging.

“Leeza’s Place is a source for information, strength and purpose,” said Sanchez. “I think this would greatly benefit so many people caring for loved ones with chronic illnesses in the community,” she said.

“We want the caregivers to come to this place and feel safe, this is not like going to a hospital — we want them to feel as if they were coming to a friend’s house,” she said.

Leeza Gibbons created the Leeza Gibbons Memory Doundation after her family struggled with a chronic and progressive illness with her mother and grandmother. Leeza’s Place was designed to ensure that others experiencing what the Gibbons family encountered would have access to new, supportive settings created for the purpose of educating, empowering and energizing.

Leeza’s Place has a home-like atmosphere with a living room, computer room, a kitchen, a small library and a television room where caregivers can relax and take time for themselves. Caregivers can also attend scrapbooking classes, stress management, strength in care giving classes and other classes being offered throughout the month.

Leeza’s Place by WellMed-Physicians Health Choice is located on 5401 S. McColl Road, Edinburg. Contact Sanchez for volunteer opportunities or for more information 956-683-7180, e-mail: lgsanchez@leezasplace.org