JEA's Vice President of Program Development, Rachel Kohl, hosted our Program Director Mentors as they traveled out to JEA headquarters in Vancouver, Washington last week for training and work sessions. These women are the rock stars of our JEA communities- the best of the best. Program Director Mentors have a solid understanding of our Meaningful Moments philosophy and fully execute those principals in the approach to care within their communities. They are a key element in the on-boarding of Program Directors who are new to the company by providing them with a 'shadow experience’ giving them an opportunity to spend a “Day in the Life” as a PD for a JEA community.
Not only are they a sounding board for new initiatives, pilot programs, policy updates and such, they also serve as leaders within their respective regions by hosting monthly best practice calls and providing opportunities for their teams to connect with their peers, share creative ideas and be a support for one another.
In addition to completing a Certified Dementia Practioner course, they also provided valuable insight as they collaborated on multiple projects we have in flight, such as a new Program Director orientation, our Meaningful Moments curriculum, and specialized programming tools, and resources.
As always, it was in the little moments of bonding and sharing of personal experiences that provided the most meaning to the time we spent together. We are beyond grateful to this group of women who provide leadership throughout the JEA family each and every day. Please take a minute to read the quotes below as they share in their own words, the #ThisIsWhy they love what they do.
Program Director Mentors from left to right - Christina Hollingsworth, Holly Kust, Katie Haynes, Tabitha McCormick, Lauren Potter, Katrina Mainetti, Tacora Myers and Rachel Kohl.
Christina Hollingsworth, Empire Ranch Alzheimer's Special Care Center in Folsom, California
“I often tell the residents of my community that they are my ‘Folsom Family’! They will then extend their arms welcoming me with a big hug. What they don’t realize is that I needed that hug just as much as they did. And, when I share that sentiment with them, they hug me even tighter. This is just one of many reasons why I do what I do!”
“I’m blessed to be in a field of work where I know it’s what I have been called to do. It’s not enough to just physically take care of a person with dementia - they must be given opportunities to feel valued, experiences that build their sense of self-worth, and moments where they feel connected and loved. I see my work as an act of unconditional love in motion. I’m able to give people a voice, and provide the care I would want for my own family, while ensure that their emotional needs are met. I’m truly honored to partner with my residents and be with them through some of the most difficult of scenarios.”
Katie Haynes, Royal Columbian Retirement Inn in Kennewick, Washington
“I love doing what I do because every day is so rewarding. I get a chance to participate full-heartedly in my resident’s final chapters in life. To know that through events that my team creates, their lives will be enriched with meaningful activities, and that it provides a positive aging experience. I also am appreciative of working with such wonderful individuals who share a passion for elderly care, and who connect with our residents as if they were truly family. Every morning, I am blessed and excited to get to experience meaningful moments and hear the life stories of so many! It is both inspiring and humbling and most of all fun! There is never a dull moment at Royal Columbian!”
Tabitha McCormick, Cedar Crest Alzheimer's Special Care Center in Sherwood, Oregon
“The disease and the process is absolutely terrible and heart breaking. With that being said, I do it for the moments of clarity, the little smiles, the wink, or maybe even the one person who remembers my name after not seeing me for a week. Maybe they only remember that I’m the “Bus Driver” or that I’m the annoying lady who is constantly inviting them to fun events. Every day I am bringing light to a dark and scary situation to the ones we care for. This is my passion and what I live for, and I’m blessed daily by the people around me. It’s a win win!”
“The purpose of life is not just to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”-Ralph Waldo Emerson
We have a chance every day to truly make a difference in our residents’ quality of life. Even if we only reach them for a moment, make them smile, make them feel safe and loved, it is all worth it.”
Katrina Mainetti, Pacific Gardens Alzheimer's Special Care Center in Portland, Oregon
“My answer is very simple… The reason I love what I do, is because our seniors are the foundation of who we are as people. When we can bring out a smile from those who may have forgotten what brings them joy, it is a feeling that is untouched by words.”
“Why do I do what I do? Well, as a young child I used to volunteer with my mother who was a Therapeutic Recreational Therapist. The smiles that were on the faces of her residents was so rewarding to not only the residents, but her as well. I said to myself, when I grow up like my mommy I want to have a job like hers. A fun, caring, creative, and for filling job. I wanted to make a difference in the lives of others, especially my sweet senior adults.”