Employees advanced careers and developed creative interests
LONGMEADOW—In the past year, Glenmeadow provided $17,781 to 20 employees through its Staff Education Fund so they could return to a college or university for career advancement or take classes for personal enrichment.
Anne Miller, the assistant administrator at the life plan community known for its mission of caring for the mind, body and spirit of its residents and staff alike, said the education fund was created in 2007 as a means for staff to advance their skills or follow a passion.
The fund was the brainchild of residents, whose gifts and bequests have helped fund it. This year, in honor of the retirement of longtime president and chief executive officer Timothy V. Cotz, who left his post on Oct. 5, employees, residents and community members donated over $18,000 to the account, which currently holds a total of $70,000 that represents direct donations and board allocations of unrestricted gifts, Miller said.
Employees, including per diem staff, who have worked for the organization for at least six months, for at least 10 hours per week, may apply for scholarships of $1,250 each calendar year, she added.
“We’ve helped people earn nursing degrees and forward their careers,” Miller said. “But we’ve also supported sewing, baking and guitar lessons as well as barbecue classes. That helps peoples’ spirits, and that’s part of what we are trying to do here.”
Spending from the fund was quite a bit higher last year than in years past. In 2014-2015, staff were provided with a total of $11,233 in scholarship funds; in 2013-2014, $13,091.
Miller said the benefit is something that attracts high-quality employees to Glenmeadow, and keeps them in their jobs for decades. Of the 219 staff members, 83 have been employed for five-plus years and 39 have been employed for 10 or more years.
“We have a lot of employees who come to work for us because they’ve heard from other people that this is a good place to work,” she said. “This is one of many things we do to let staff know they’re valued.”
Richard “Rick” Lavoie, formerly an employee in Maintenance, was supported by Glenmeadow about five years ago in earning his commercial driver’s license, and now he works as a driver for Glenmeadow.
This year, Lavoie received a scholarship through the Staff Education Fund to pay for guitar lessons he began taking in April because his children are grown, and he had time to develop a new hobby; in past years, he said, he has received funds for art lessons.
“I’ve always wanted to play an instrument. I decided I would try to do that,” Lavoie said, noting that the benefits staff receive through the education fund make them feel collectively more loyal and dedicated. “I have high regard for Glenmeadow and everything it does for residents and staff. They treat the staff very well. It’s a great place to work.
“It gives us a lot of opportunities to broaden our horizons,” he added. “It’s a nice thing for them to offer. I’m very happy with that.”
Nineteen additional employees also applied for and received grants from the Staff Education Fund, between October 2015 and the end of September. Their scholarships were used to take classes toward nursing programs they are enrolled in as well as for culinary art school education, sewing lessons, and dog training, philosophy, psychology, art and creative writing courses.
To learn more about Glenmeadow and the history and offerings of its various programs, visit www.glenmeadow.org.
In the 1800s, elderly individuals without family or means were sent to live at what was called “the poor farm.” In 1884, a group of civic leaders raised funds among themselves and other area families and purchased a house on Main Street in Springfield’s south end. Quickly outgrowing that house, land was purchased on the corner of Chestnut and Carew streets, where a new home was constructed and opened in 1900. In 1960, the name was changed to Chestnut Knoll, and in 1992, it began to admit men.
In 1993, the organization purchased a 23-acre parcel in Longmeadow to build a new community that would provide both independent living and assisted living in one building with various common areas. This was a new concept known as a continuing care retirement community. Existing residents from the old Chestnut Knoll property were moved to the new campus in 1997. Shortly after the move, the board voted to change its legal name to Glenmeadow to coincide with the name being used by the developer of the property.