As you walk into The Selfhelp Home, you’re greeted by a welcoming “hello” from Linda Peek, a 16- year employee. On other days, that friendly welcome comes from Marlene Younan, a 24-year employee.
In an industry that has a significantly high turnover rate of approximately 70 percent, in other words, two out of three nursing home or long term care workers leave their jobs in the course of a year.
The Selfhelp story is vastly different.
Selfhelp is home to 172 employees and 20% have 16 or more years of service. 21 employees have 20 or more years. For example, 27 years ago Sofia Metovic began as an entry-level dishwasher. Her excellent work ethic drove her to the top and she eventually became our Dietary Manager overseeing 40 employees and 700 meals per day.
Agnes Daniel, was only 16 years old when she started at Selfhelp as a server. Today- 38 years later, Agnes is the Assistant Dietary Manager and is the longest serving employee at the Selfhelp home!
In the kitchen, delicious homemade rugulach cookies are a specialty and we have Najeba Youmaran to thank for that. With 35 years of service, she recently retired and held the secret recipe near and dear to her heart. She is teaching Symone Mikell about making rugulach, amongst others. Symone is a 6-year employee and the daughter of Sharon Mikel, a 23-year employee with a vast wealth of knowledge. Sharon’s mother, Pearl Sullivan who also worked at Selfhelp Home for 8 years.
Ask Luba Levitsky what it’s like to work at Selfhelp for 33 years and she will tell you, “it seems like yesterday!” On Shabbat, you’ll find Luba in the dining room making sure every guest is happy. Over the years, Luba has also been in charge of housekeeping and laundry.
On Fridays, Bernice Jackson, delivers the Shabbat wine and challah for residents on the healthcare floors. Bernice has been with Selfhelp for 34 years. Other Dietary cooks include Martha Ruilova and Maria Tapia, both with 25 years and Graciela Sanchez with 21 years.
Having a great culture at Selfhelp is due to the staff loyalty and longevity of its employees. The longevity of the staff also helps to maintain a certain environment at Selfhelp and keeps it from changing too much. This consistency leads to better quality care and services, provided by people the residents have come to know and trust.
Fern Shaffer has worked at Selfhelp for 22 years, Fern coordinates over 100 live music concerts a year, making Selfhelp a venue for some of the most renowned local musicians plus many interesting lectures and programs
On the 8th floor, Director of Nursing, Nerma Gayosa-Lamier, has a total of 22 years. She’s responsible for keeping Selfhelp a top rated home year after year, and also sets the tone for the high quality of care delivered to our residents. Her nursing team includes long time employees, Carmelita Gan, 19 years, Joy Demegillo, 20 years, Sonia Armintia, 19 years and Pio Chuanico with18 years.
Certified Nurse Assistants play a key role in the lives of our residents. Claudette Blaise, or “Mrs.Blaise” has been with Selfhelp for 31 years, Voncile Flowers, 28 years, Florida Dela Torre, 26 years and Begum Lodi 21 years. Personal Aids also play important roles. Rose Leandovksy, has 36 years. Fe O Torres has been smiling and singing along with our residents for the past 23 years, and Kalsang Dekyi, with 22 years.
Just about every square foot of Selfhelp has Alfredo Reyes Gonzalez name on it, a 23 year employee. Alfredo worked his way up and is now Selfhelp’s top engineer, his work includes the recently renovated movie theater, sanctuary and media room and the beautiful warm wood in the social hall and 8th floor and countless other repair projects we can’t see.
These dedicated and committed individuals are at the core of what we do at Selfhelp and as a result, the culture and mission of Selfhelp live on and evolve to meet the needs of the residents we know so well. This is what makes Selfhelp a truly unique and vital community.