This week’s Friday Focus takes us to Calvert County, where we had the opportunity to speak to Ruth Lake, the Executive Director of Adult Day Care of Calvert County. She and her staff work heard each day to provide an enriching and entertaining environment for the elderly members of their community.
Q: Tell us about your organization (who you serve, etc.)
A: Adult Day Care of Calvert County is a safe, structured day program of professional care, compassionate assistance, and community-based activities for frail elderly and disabled adults. The program is designed to enhance the physical, social and emotional health of the participants, and provide some relief to caregivers. The staff R.N. monitors individual health issues while supporting staff (with frequent help from volunteers) provide assistance, serve snacks and lunch, and lead activities. Door-to-door transportation is provided within Calvert County.
Q: What is your favorite “moment” (example of how your organization helped)?
A: My favorite story is about one of our participants. Her daughter, who works full time, was becoming increasingly concerned about leaving her home alone after recent falls and signs of dementia. After her daughter decided that adult day care was the best option for her, she was brought in for the intake meeting. Her resistance, though not unusual, was escalated. First, she would not get out of the car. Then, when she finally did, she stood with her purse held tight, arm folded and shaking with anger at her daughter for bringing her to a strange place. The best part of the story was that by the end of her first day, she (the resistant participant) was thanking everyone and looking forward to the next day. Today, she gets upset when she has to miss a day at Adult Day Care of Calvert County. She, a very social person, thrives in the community-based setting. The daughter is very relieved to know that she is well cared for during the day.
Q: What is your biggest challenge?
A: As an independent nonprofit organization, our biggest challenge in recent years has been funding. Although we receive a grant from the state that enables us to offer a sliding scale fee for participants who are on a limited income, it, along with participant co-pays and fees, is not enough to cover program costs. Adult Day Care of Calvert County depends on community support through philanthropic support, volunteerism, and spreading the word about our services.
Q: How can people really help?
A: Adult Day Care of Calvert County has opportunities for volunteers, monetary donations, and in-kind donations. Volunteer opportunities range from student volunteers looking for service learning hours, to helping with fundraising and awareness, to community members willing to serve on the board of directors. Donations can be made by visiting the center on the lower level of the health department building in Prince Frederick, or the website at www.adcofcalvertcounty.org . Supporting fundraising events and campaigns is another way to help. We also accept in-kind donations such as paper, plastic ware and supplies, as well as items to sell at our periodic yard sales.
Q: What advice can you give someone looking to work at a non-profit?
A: The rewards outweigh the compensation! Sometimes starting out as a volunteer is a good way to determine if an organization is a good fit, and is a good way to gain experience for future non-profit (or for profit) endeavors. If you care about community, are willing to embrace challenges, and wish to feel good about what you do, then working for a non-profit is a great career choice.