I have a sweet, quiet 87 elder client who has a spunky younger sister. The younger sister and I meet periodically to have lunch of dinner. We do this to touch base on her sister but also because we enjoy each others company. I was invited to her 85th birthday party in February and I attended. It was held in one of the oldest Baptist churches here in San Antonio. It was nice to hear many stories about how our client, her sister/siblings grew up. The godson of our client is a Deacon in the Dallas area and gave a surprise ‘sermon’. I was thrilled because I had never seen such audience participation. And song after song, sung from the hearts of all. I was the only quiet but smiling one. After the celebration, I was introduced to family/friends and they extended their gratitude to Friends for Life for all that has been done for our client. Our client’s daughter was there and cried when she met me. She has had a rough life – in and out of prison, almost killed by her old gang members. She told me that she thanks God every day that her mama is loved by Friends for Life because she has failed her many times. I found out that she is the one that has been doing her mama’s hair all this time, (I thought it was staff). I told her that it always looks beautiful, she smiled.
I went home grateful that our client, at least in her younger years, was full of life and loved by many. Well, she’s still loved by many but the life she lived is locked behind her cute dimples.
Tria Athey has been the Quality Assurance Specialist and the Assistant to the Director of Guardianship for Friends for Life since June, 2013.
What’s your favorite part of working with Friends for Life? “My favorite part is getting the chance to make a difference in someone else life.”
How many clients do you serve? “At this time I only have one client that is my own, but being the Director of Guardianship’s assistant I feel like I have them all which is around 489 clients.”
Tell me a little about what you do at work on a daily basis? “I assist the Director of Guardianship and I audit all the client’s files to make sure we have all the needed information to better care for them. I basically work behind the scenes to help our care manager’s help serve our clients.”
What do you like to do for fun outside of work? “Outside of work I am a full time mother. I have two wonderful daughters that are six and eight. I also have two stepsons that are fourteen and eighteen. We stay busy with sports and all the other fun stuff a mother gets to do.”
Living in Texas means it gets HOT in the summer. Many elderly and people with disabilities do not have air conditioning or they are on a fixed income. Which means they can’t afford to turn on the air or use their window unit. Using a fan doesn’t increase their electric bill as much and can keep them cool while possibly saving their life. FFL IS ASKING FOR YOUR HELP! Please consider donating a new or used fan or making a contribution of ANY amount to go toward a fund for us to purchase them. You can drop off fans or contributions at 5000 Lakewood Dr. and we will make sure the elderly and people with disabilities get them. SAVE A LIFE BY DONATING A FAN TODAY! Your contribution is tax deductible. Please call 254-772-7600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
“Kevin” came to us when he was 18 and had aged out of the CPS system. It isn’t often I have such a young person to represent for guardianship. I first started visiting Kevin when he was still in high school. When I went to the school for a visit, it was clear to me why his teachers, the principal, and other students sung his praises. Kevin was extremely kind, living, generous, and independent. We always talked sports on our visits. He loved basketball and track and made both teams his junior year. It didn’t matter to the other students that he had special needs. He was fast and helped his team place in several meets and won many ribbons. His senior year he continued to run track and enjoyed all the things all the other seniors did, including prom. Kevin took his date to dinner in a limo and afterwards they danced the night away. We would talk about this for many months after because he had such a great time and had made such great memories. Kevin graduated while his family and I sat teary eyed in the audience. Over the past several years Kevin has made great strides in life. He works in the community and continues to grow more independent each day. Kevin began asking when he could be his own guardian. Shortly after, I began working with his MHMR service coordinator and just this month, Kevin has been given his rights. He will no longer be under guardianship as he has proved to me, MHMR, and his doctors that he has the capacity and ability to be on his own. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for Kevin, I am so proud of the young man he has become and I expect great things for him.
Francie Jensen has been the Money Management Specialist since October, 2013.
What do you do at Friends for Life? ” My job is to offer guidance to our Money Management clients and to protect them from exploitation. We prepare budgets for them and reconcile their checkbooks. When necessary, we negotiate with creditors to help them settle outstanding debt. We help them apply for benefits that are available to them. We make sure their bills are paid and their financial records maintained. We report to the Social Security Administration and the VA regularly.”
What is your favorite part of working at Friends for Life? “I enjoy being able to help others in need by taking care of their personal finances which improves their quality of life.”
How many clients do you serve? “We serve over 100 clients in 11 counties including McLennan, Bell, Caldwell, Comal, Falls, Galveston, Gonzales, Guadelupe, Limestone, Taylor, and Travis.”
What do you like to do in your free time? “I enjoy hiking with my family and dogs. I also enjoy window shopping and visiting book stores such as Barnes and Noble where I spend some free time reading books and magazines.”
Could volunteering be the secret fountain of youth?
“It keeps us feeling young!” We consistently hear this response from our volunteers, particularly those who drive our clients to occasional appointments. By volunteering just 90 minutes once a month you can help alleviate our shortage of drivers and support senior independence. Because we know life is busy, we always work around YOUR schedule. Call or email us today! Della@friendsforlife.org, (254) 772-7600.
It was so exciting today to have John Morris, a.k.a. the VOICE of the Baylor Bears, stop by the Adult Day Center. John will be the emcee for our event with Robert Griffin III on May 9th at the Ferrell Center. We are hoping to have many more visits from John in the future and build another great relationship with a Baylor legend!! Thanks John for being a part of our mission of serving the elderly and adults with disabilities in Central Texas!
John and Nathan! Baylor fans for life!!!
John and Brandon! Look at those smiles!!!
Casey Moore has been the Director of Development for Friends for Life for almost 2 years.
What do you do at Friends for Life? “I work on grant writing, event planning, sponsorships, and fundraising. A lot of my time is spent talking to people about the work Friends for Life is doing and how they can partner with us to help the elderly and people with disabilities.”
What are you working on right now? “We’re in the middle of planning a very big event with Robert Griffin, III at the Ferrell Center on May 9th. So much work goes on behind the scenes with this type of event, so really it’s almost around-the-clock work. But I enjoy every minute of it! We’re extremely blessed to have had Robert volunteer with us when he was at Baylor and now come back to continue his support.”
What is you favorite part of working at Friends for Life? “Seeing lives change because of people caring and taking the time to help someone. I always love the interaction I get with our clients in our Adult Day Center.”
What do you like to do in your free time? “I love to spend time with my family and friends. I’m very involved with my church. Laughter is a big part of my life and being around positive people. Of course, I never pass on an opportunity to sit around a good camp fire and tell stories.”
Marian is retiring today from the Money Management department. She has been with us for 5 years. Blessing on your new adventures!! If you would like to learn more about money management please contact Bill Williams at 254-772-8100 x 116.