Sunrise Presents $25,000 Check to JVS SoCal at HealthWorks Graduation
A JCPenney employee who patrols the store after work, memorizing the location of items so that she can better assist customers the next day. A loving caregiver for a paraplegic cousin. A recent high school graduate with big dreams for the future.
These were just a few of the eight young men and women who, on July 17, strode proudly across the stage to accept tightly rolled diplomas. The sheets established each graduate as a certified nursing assistant, marking the culmination of eight weeks of hard work and the very beginning of promising new careers.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity that you now have in front of you,” said Alan Levey, JVS SoCal’s chief executive officer. “The most difficult part, which you’ve already overcome, is taking that first step when you signed up for the program. Now that that’s all behind you. The future is bright, and it’s all in your hands.”
JVS (Jobs. Vision. Success.) SoCal is an organization that serves job seekers in southern California facing significant barriers to employment. The JVS HealthWorks® program trains individuals for entry-level careers in the healthcare industry as CNAs.
Due to the support of donors and corporate partners, JVS HealthWorks is offered free of charge to eligible applicants. As a proud partner and an employer of many HealthWorks graduates, Sunrise Senior Living was featured at the graduation.
Lisa Kennedy, vice president of Operations for Sunrise, told the graduates how she began her career in assisted living as a young military wife with a toddler, simply hoping to make ends meet. With encouragement from a resident she cared for, Kennedy gained confidence to take chances in her career, eventually rising to her position today.
“As you start this journey, dream big. Dare to dream of something that 20-some years from now you can say, ‘I didn’t see myself there,’” said Kennedy. “I was a teenage mom and a teenage bride, and I could have just been a statistic, but because somebody encouraged me, I have been blessed far above anything that I ever imagined or dreamed.”
Following the speech, Kennedy and her team presented a $25,000 check on behalf of Sunrise in support of JVS HealthWorks.
“I’m so blessed to work for an organization that not only has a noble mission to champion quality of life for seniors, but that has a commitment to Live With Generosity, which is a program that our residents and team members participate in to give back to our local communities,” said Kennedy. “And I believe that Sunrise supporting JVS HealthWorks actually fulfills both of those things—because we hire people like you to help take care of our seniors, and it will help us give back to our local community.”
Next on stage was Rosa Morales, a HealthWorks graduate and lead care manager at Sunrise of Beverly Hills, CA. She told the audience how the program took her from a frustrated, 19-year-old supermarket cashier to her current role at Sunrise, where she finds fulfillment each day in bringing meaning to her residents’ lives.
“If it hadn’t been for JVS HealthWorks, I would have never been where I am at Sunrise,” said Morales. “My residents are the reason I walk into work with a smile, awaiting the new adventure that every day brings. The friendships I have made, and the experiences we have had and the ones to come, make me really glad Sunrise of Beverly Hills is a significant part of my life.”
At the conclusion of the ceremony, the various healthcare employers in attendance held interviews for positions with their organizations. To date, Sunrise has hired two of the graduates to care for residents!
“It’s really just going to come down to the confidence, attitude, drive, and commitment that you now take to your employers, and we have no doubt you’re going to do that,” said Levey. “This is more than just a job; it’s about changing lives.”
Live With Purpose at Sunrise
Live With Generosity is one of eight signature Live With Purpose programs at Sunrise communities, each of which allows our residents to enjoy, express, learn, and grow while fostering a greater sense of community, meaning, and purpose. Watch this video to learn more!