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Ordinary conversation with a stranger turns extraordinary – a ‘Share the Love’ success story

Share the Love presentation for successful employee referral
HR Manager Allison Vento (left) presented a “Share the Love” t-shirt to Afiah Schneider (middle) for referring Brenda Koier (right). Share the Love is our employee referral program.
Today we share a story from our Better Together series. With the courage, persistence and love that come naturally to so many of our nursing assistants, Afiah Schneider did something remarkable.

While out shopping, Afiah struck up a conversation with a stranger. Not only did she make an instant friend that day, but she also discovered — and later recruited — a great teammate.

Today Afiah and her friend Brenda Koier are serving older adults together at Fairway Knoll in Germantown, Wis. “Both caregivers are absolute rockstars!” says Allison Vento, a recruiter for Presbyterian Homes & Services.
 

That first conversation

“One day,” Afiah explains, “I went to Walgreens to pick up my medication. I saw this young, beautiful lady. I said hi and she said hi. Since I’m from Ghana and speak with an accent, I noticed she, too, spoke with an accent.

“‘So,’ I said, ‘Where are you from?’
“She said, ‘I’m from South Africa, and I just came to the States.’
“I said, ‘Ohh that’s nice! Are you working?’
“She said, ‘No.’
“I said ‘Oh! Whenever you are ready to work, I work at a very nice place. Come and join us.’”

“So,” Afiah continues, “we exchanged numbers and continued the conversation.”
 

Where Afiah gets her confidence

With 15 years of experience, Afiah’s confidence stems from her passion and conviction. “I love taking care of the elderly,” she says. “I love what I do.”

It’s not a job but a calling, she explains. “I didn’t choose to go work at McDonald’s. I chose to go take care of elderly people.”

Her choice to pursue this calling is influenced by her African grandmother. “My grandma always said, ‘Old age – everybody will get there.’ Where I’m from, we take our elderly very seriously.”

While Afiah admits that the work is sometimes challenging, she remembers her grandmother. “You must put everything aside and treat these people as your own grandparent or parent,” she advises.

But more than a sense of duty or responsibility, Afiah’s dedication flows from deep, inner joy. "It’s always a blessing to give than to receive, as the Bible says," she notes. "You have to love God and love yourself to be able to love others.
 
“And at the end of the day,” Afiah concludes, “when you’ve cared for the residents, you see the sparkle in their eyes. It makes you happy!”
 

Benefits and on-the-job training within a Christian culture

Noting Brenda’s similar faith, passion and values, Afiah wasn’t about to give up easily.

The drive to Fairway Knoll was a little far, Brenda first countered. So Afiah began telling Brenda about some key benefits of a career as a nursing assistant with Presbyterian Homes & Services. “If you don’t want insurance, it’s cash in lieu,” she said. “If you hit 1,000 hours, that’s a pay raise.” (Learn more about benefits here.)

Best of all, Afiah who is a lead nursing assistant promised Brenda, “I will help train you.”

Brenda was hooked. “The training was so smooth,” Brenda reflects later. “I love Presbyterian Homes because it’s a Christian ministry. They treat the residents so well. My heart is at peace.”

Do you know someone looking for more purpose in their work? Share the good news and the many opportunities to join our team at www.preshomes.org/careers.
 

You might also be interested in:

Blessing by African grandfather inspires Israel's calling as 'caregiver'
Not a job but a calling - Monica's joy as a nursing assistant
‘Then I met Aminga…’
 

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