The mission of Presbyterian Homes & Services (PHS), “to honor God by enriching the lives and touching the hearts of older adults,” is fulfilled when the actions of our employees demonstrate our stated values. In doing so, they “make their mark” upon those we serve. In our continuing series, “Make your Mark,” we introduce you to PHS employees who are living out these values.
Jacinta Senghore, a resident assistant, arrives punctually for the morning shift to serve older adults living with memory loss at EagleCrest in Roseville, Minnesota. With a beautiful smile, she says “Good morning!” and greets each of her colleagues by name on her way to The Arbor where she has made her mark with PHS since 2016. Sixteen years ago, she came to the U.S. from The Gambia, which she playfully describes as "a tiny, bitty country in West Africa."
The residents are just rising and hers is often the first face they see. While the job certainly has its challenges, that doesn’t hold her back from offering care wrapped in the love of God. Jacinta understands herself as a child of God and her work as Christian ministry, the cornerstone PHS value.
She begins by entering the quiet, darkened room of a resident who is non-verbal and needs assistance from her bed to her wheelchair before breakfast is served to residents in the central cozy dining room. Jacinta leans over and announces tenderly her presence. She explains, “It’s [easy] to interact with the residents because most of them have a strong faith.” Sharing little jokes, she pats the resident’s face with a warm washcloth. Jacinta adds, “I’m a talker. So, when I come here, I don’t close my mouth!”
Her words come “seasoned with salt” on and off the job, just as the Apostle Paul encourages in his letter to the Colossians. Her passion for reaching others through graceful speech and action also gets channeled at her local Catholic parish. For years she has been a lecter, one designated to read aloud from the Scriptures during services.
Far from serious, Jacinta also likes to sing. At EagleCrest, it’s not unusual for Jacinta to step into a circle of residents and begin singing along with them, especially when they are singing sacred songs. “I’m goofy,” she admits, “I sing Christmas songs all year round and that just cracks them up!” When residents raise an eyebrow at her rendition of “Silent Night” in the middle of July and ask her why, she tells them, “That’s what I feel like singing!” but she also knows it will bring smiles to their faces.
Their smiles make Jacinta smile too. She says, “Getting to work in a Christian-based work place – I love it. Just coming here every day, interacting with different people, adds to my joy.”
Dani Salisbury, Campus Administrator, has been touched by Jacinta’s commitment to Christian ministry. “I remember Jacinta at a Bedside Memorial for a resident. She spoke so lovingly of the memories that she had with him and the family. It was beautiful to hear her passion for this resident,” Dani said and added, “Jacinta is witty, smart, hardworking and to me, the embodiment of the PHS way.”
The family of another resident in memory care sent a thank you note to Jacinta and her colleagues that expressed, “You are all angels, and I trust my mom to your care. … Jacinta, you have developed a special relationship with [my] mom. The little extra things you do for her do not go unnoticed.”
Neither do these little things nor Jacinda’s excellent care go unnoticed by EagleCrest and PHS. Our deep gratitude to Jacinta Senghore and the 2500 nursing assistants and home health aides who represent a variety of faith traditions and demonstrate our common value to “love one another.” During this National Nursing Assistants Week, we thank you for your love, your skill, and your knowledge of all the things that truly enrich the lives and touch the hearts of those we serve.
Do you know someone looking for more purpose in their work? Share the good news and the many opportunities to make a mark at www.preshomes.org/careers.