Director of Community Relations
Morningstar Senior Living
Date Joined: 9/25/22
Rotary Sponsor: Melly Kinnard, Seth Patterson & Kris Hemenway
Growing up, there were two committed passions in my family, one was the game of soccer and the other was being of service to others. I credit both my parents for instilling in me the importance of standing up for what is right and helping someone who is down on their luck.
I grew up on the soccer fields of Colorado, as the middle child just 18 months apart from an older and younger brother, I don’t think there was a day of the week that didn’t have us engaged in some sort of soccer activity. Sometimes I joke and say, “I must have been born wearing soccer cleats”! The truth is, I was born on Thanksgiving Day 1974 in the middle of a Broncos game, which turned out to be an away game victory over the Detroit Lions, 31 to 27. The story always I was the real “Turkey Day Win” that day.
My father, a Vietnam veteran, spent most of his time involved in youth soccer, beginning his lifelong passion for volunteering as a coach, then moving his way up to becoming the President of the Colorado State Youth Soccer Association and then going on to work (again volunteering) for the United States Youth Soccer Association. My family’s involvement with soccer not only taught us how to kick a ball and score goals, but the importance of teamwork and dedication. The ability to see beyond social, economic and even language barriers, it brought about opportunities to travel, experience other cultures, and a nurtured a genuine respect for commitment, community, and comradery.
My mother was the kind-hearted soul who opened our doors to anyone in need. At the age of 15 my parents became foster parents for Jefferson County Social Services. Our home became a “receiving home” to children in crisis, typically coming from an environment of chaos, disarray, neglect and abuse. Our home was licensed to hold up to eight children at a time, we were the entry point into an all too often long and winding road for children entering the social services care system. Compassion and understanding, along with lots of love, were a required belief in our home. Our family provided stability and balance to hundreds of children over the next 15 years.
A Colorado Native, I attended Leawood Elementary, Ken Caryl Middle School, and the all too famous Columbine High School.
After High School I enrolled and graduated from Metropolitan State University of Denver with a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services, also know as the “helping profession”.
Throughout College I primarily worked with non-profit organizations, such as the Denver Rescue Mission, Girls Incorporated, and the Colorado Aids Project Denver. Being around people who enjoy helping people is an experience I have always held in high value.
It wasn’t until after college that I answered an employment ad for an admissions coordinator with Saint Paul Health Center, starting my career in healthcare services, most specifically post hospitalization care. You see, St Paul was a skilled nursing facility, serving both patients and residents living in long-term care and short-term rehabilitation. This opportunity became the springboard for my journey within the healthcare field and a passion to serve seniors.
In little to no time at all, I developed an appreciation for life, the process and journey of aging, all the knowledge, experience and bravery that comes along with it. Every interaction gave me space to learn, grow, and to expand my passion to work with others. Carrying a servant centered attitude and a passion to help others, kindness not only became a mission; it became my mood. I know that when I take action to improve the lives of others, my life is naturally improved.
Over the next several years, that spark and passion to serve others offered me many opportunities to grow personally and professionally. I have held positions in long-term care, short term rehabilitation, home health, hospice, and now in senior living with assisted and memory care.
Today I live by some very simple principles, give rather than receive, treat others as you wish to be treated, cultivate an attitude of gratitude and be of service. I remain willing, open-minded, and teachable to new experiences.
In addition to the above, I am a mother (to one heck of an amazing 18yr old daughter), a dedicated volunteer (currently hold two service positions within the community), a certified yoga instructor, a lover of culture, arts, and music, a seeker of a higher power / purpose through spiritual work, an avid paddleboarder and lover of the great outdoors.
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