Since Leilani Schenkel understands employees need encouragement and support to succeed in their jobs, she took steps to ensure three aides at Almost Home Inc. could further their education.
Schenkel, Almost Home Inc. executive director, offered to pay Barton Community College (BCC) tuition so the women could earn certifications as nurse’s aides and medication aides.
Almost Home, a non-profit entity at 1919 Van Buren, provides health care and personal care in a home-like environment. Its services include full-time residency, adult daycare, respite care for families, and support for daily activities, such as laundry service.
“It is important that the people who provide these services have the proper education,” Schenkel said. “A helping hand from us can be just the incentive they need to pursue their careers and believe in themselves.”
In addition, Schenkel noted, employee incentives help Almost Home residents. “We want to retain our great employees because it is important for our residents to see the same people each week. If we invest in our workforce, residents and families benefit.”
The three recent tuition beneficiaries are Jessica Jones, Chelsie Roach-Link and Ebony Moon.
Jones is now a certified nurse’s aide (CNA) and certified medication aide (CMA), thanks to Almost Home.
“This is a great benefit that helps us, as well as the residents,” Jones said. “It has helped me think about the future and become even more involved in the health-care field. I wouldn’t have been able to do this on my own.”
Jones started volunteering at Almost Home early in 2016 as a cook and housekeeper, but left town for a while. “When I came back, I didn’t know what to do,” she recalled. “Leilani found me and it was a blessing. You run into people for a reason sometimes.
“I had seen first-hand the homey atmosphere here when I volunteered,” she continued. “The residents and families are great. We get to know them and appreciate them.”
Roach-Link already had her CNA but thanks to Almost Home she earned a CMA. She also recently received a $500 scholarship to the BCC Nursing School from Credit Union of America, Great Bend.
“One thing leads to another,” she said. “When I heard what Almost Home would do for me, it was such a relief. It couldn’t have come at a better time. I am grateful there are people out there willing to reach out and help with education. I am blessed.
“No words can describe how great this job is,” she added. “These residents are like family to me. If you are having a bad day, they will brighten it for you. Just the small interactions can keep you going.”
Roach-Link has been at Almost Home for almost four years; she also works at Great Bend Regional Hospital as a CNA.
Moon earned her CNA earlier but Almost Home paid her CMA tuition.
“I am so grateful,” Moon said. “I have three small children and would never have thought about doing this myself. Now I can do even more for residents, who do so much for me. There is a lot of one-on-one interaction here, and my co-workers are awesome.
“I just love Leilani,” she added. “She is just amazing; I couldn’t be more grateful to her. She has always been there for me.”
Moon worked at Almost Home when it opened in 2014, left for a while, and has been back since July 2017.