Do you love your job? Sadly, polls show that around three-quarters of the American workforce does not. That statistic is completely inaccurate when it comes to the staff of Dacier Manor — Advent Christian Village’s assisted living facility. They love working there.
An Experienced and Supportive Leader
The staff of Dacier Manor is overseen by Manager Beth Smith. Beth has been an employee of Advent Christian Village (ACV) since 1982. Over her first eight years, she was a houseparent for foster children living at ACV, served indigent elders in Suwannee and Lafayette counties and worked as a case manager for some of ACV’s seniors. In 1990, ACV decided to add an assisted living option to see if there would be enough interest. Beth was asked to take the reins. The program was an instant success and she and the program moved into Dacier Manor in 1991 where she’s been manager ever since.
One of the secrets to Beth’s success is that she is not a boss; she is a leader. She treats her staff — her team — with great respect and kindness. She never asks them to do anything she would not do herself. When it’s time for a big task or special project, Beth is usually the first one to jump in and get busy. She’s also a big advocate for her staff.
The Incredible Whirlwind
Even with as great a leader as Beth, Dacier Manor would not be the success it is without an amazing support staff. Beth has been blessed to work alongside Assistant Manager Crystal Delcastillo for several years. Crystal also acts as activities coordinator and resident advocate for those residents who do not have family to speak for them. She has a nursing degree and is a registered pharmacy technician. Beth writes of Crystal, “Crystal is incredible and does it all in a whirlwind! She sees the whole picture. She moves furniture, sets up activities, assists with bill paying and has great communication skills with families and doctor’s offices.” And Crystal says she works with “an amazing team.”
Keith Nicely is currently Dacier Manor’s only male employee. He is a resident aide and “CNA-in-training.” One could say Keith has walked down a meandering educational trail. He has a certification in dance, earned a bachelor’s degree in counseling psychology, is on his way to becoming a certified nursing assistant, and is now working on his prerequisites to enter the nursing program at North Florida Community College. It’s because of his varied education, and even his many years of dance, that Keith is a better aide to the residents of Dacier Manor: He can serve them, assist them and keep up with them. “Keith is awesome and a great encourager to all the women he works with,” writes Beth. “He is funny, talented and a great guy with a great personality.” Keith writes, “I work with some of the funniest women on the planet. My residents are by far some of the greatest people I’ve ever met.”
Amanda Mabey has grown up in Dowling Park and has worked at Advent Christian Village part time while attending school for a few years. She has worked several summers as a lifeguard, worked for a while in food service and fairly recently filled an open resident aide position at Dacier Manor, while finishing an AA in graphic design. “I didn’t really have much past experience that prepared me for this job,” she writes. Beth responds, “Amanda may not have ‘prepared’ for the job at Dacier Manor, but she certainly picked up very quickly and is awesome!” Since working at Dacier, Amanda has decided to pursue a nursing degree after finishing her AA. “Working here has made me want to go back to school for nursing,” she writes. “The residents are so kind; some of them always ask me how my schooling is going and what I did over the weekend. You don’t get that from just any job.”
The New LPN
Amanda isn’t the only person who’s decided to switch gears toward a nursing career after working at Dacier Manor. Karis Rewis did just that and will graduate with her LPN July 14. “This job is very rewarding,” she writes. “I know every resident by name and they all know me.” This “exceptional young lady,” as Beth puts it, works as a resident aide and medical technician. She also provides some comedy relief. A story she shared is that one resident regularly enjoyed letting Karis drive his electric wheel chair around the halls at night. “He always laughed watching me zoom around.”
“The most important skill I have learned on the job,” writes Renee Pope, Dacier’s Manor’s weekend supervisor, “is to listen to my residents and to have compassion and empathy for them. Treating a resident’s emotional needs is every bit as important as assisting them with their medical and physical needs. I love working at Dacier Manor because everyone works as a team and staff and residents alike have a bond that makes us more like one big family.”
Renee continues, “Every day at Dacier, you can hear laughter. Staff members are constantly making the residents laugh because everyone realizes the importance of having fun. On one occasion, when the common area was full of residents waiting on their medicine and everyone was getting a bit edgy from waiting, I started singing [to the tune of You’re the One that I Want], ‘I got pills — they’re multiplying — and I’m losing control — of these pills that are multiplying — they’re electrifying!’ Everyone was laughing and no one was feeling edgy about waiting on their meds after that.”
These six individuals are just the tip of the iceberg. Many more say they love working at Dacier Manor because they love and are loved by the residents and by their co-workers. They love that they are making a difference, that they can have a good time at work and that they are learning valuable skills. Because they love their jobs, the individuals who call Dacier Manor home love living there. In fact, many have commented that they wish they had moved there earlier.