family member

Faith was always important to Anita’s parents; every night they would kneel and pray the family rosary. They also emulated their faith by giving both their time and treasure. As part of St. Joseph’s a Franciscan parish, the culture was that no one would be turned away. Her mother served as president of the Christian Mothers’ Society, while her father served as president of the Holy Name Society. “My parents would say, ‘fill us in wherever,” Anita remembers. “Although we didn’t have a lot, as kids we would help my dad with the collection for poor families.”

One particular act of compassion and generosity stayed with Anita. She remembers seeing a woman outside on an extremely cold day. The woman was obviously suffering in the weather, underdressed as she waited for the bus. Anita’s mother went to her closet and retrieved a Persian wool coat. She handed it to Anita and told her to go outside and give it to the woman. Anita was shocked but did as her mother asked, clothing the grateful woman in the cold. “‘There but for the grace of God go I.’ My mother was a very giving person. She taught us that helping people is a form of giving. We were always taught to give.”

Anita and her husband Robert, became donors to Jennings after her mom moved to Jennings and they saw first-hand how the residence impacted the quality of life for her mom, Ann. When Jennings expanded with assisted living in 2003, Anita and her siblings Pat, Lorie, Monica and Mike asked Ann to consider the move. “She was in an apartment after Dad died, but we kids were always worried about her. We would always be calling to check on her,” Anita said. “Mom moved to Jennings and liked that she could attend daily Mass. We would continue to call her based on the routine we had before. Then one day we couldn’t get a hold of her all day and we asked the nurse to check on her. It turned out she was never in (her suite) because she had so much she could do. That’s when we thought, ‘OK, she’s home.’ We just knew it was the right decision.”

Anita’s experience as a family member inspired her to become a donor to Jennings. “We see what good Jennings does for older adults, so we figured if we were going to give anywhere let’s give it where we see it in action,” said Anita. “We also see that the bulk of donations go to residents and the great care they receive.”

Anita says she has learned so much from the programs at Jennings that she never would have known otherwise. “Mom would be long dead of loneliness if not for Jennings,” Anita said.
“Every day we see this phenomenal nursing staff. There is such low turnover, so everybody knows everybody. My mother loves “Fancy Pants” (a nickname for Executive Chef Michael Mills because of his colorful chef pants) and having choices every day.”

“Everyone really treats her with the utmost dignity,” Anita continued. “They treat each person as a person of God.”

For more information about ways donors make a difference, contact Sara Adamo, Director of Development and Donor Relations, at (216) 581-2900, ext. 2327.

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