December 2016 marks the third anniversary of DLEA’s Debbie’s Angels program! We began the program as a way to honor the memory of Debra Levy, our founder, while meeting the needs of our clients who require some support to engage in favorite activities. In the last 3 years our Angels have attended weddings, gone swimming, helped prepared meals, enjoyed trips to the movies and museums and logged many miles on walks with our clients!
Currently we have seven Angels, although we have plans to expand the program in 2017. We asked our current Angels for their thoughts on what being a Debbie’s Angel has meant to them. Here is what they had to say:
Edith Boteler: Big and small things in life are always easier when faced with a friend. Being a Debbie’s Angel gives me the chance, in so many different ways, to be that friend that makes things easier.
Tim Feresten: Through Debra Levy Eldercare I have had the opportunity to help people who, in difficulty, need friendship and support. I’ve learned a great deal about giving, respect, spirituality, patience and selflessness – truly a life changing experience.
Barbara Girolami: I have been an Angel for about a year and a half. I come from a music background but felt called to seek opportunities to connect with the elderly and individuals with special needs. Debra Levy Eldercare provided that opportunity.
What I didn’t realize was what an extraordinary effect it would have in my own life. My clients are extraordinary people. Several have had adversity in their younger years only to be hit with a life-altering diagnosis of dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and more. They are an inspiration to me and it is my great pleasure to spend time with them. I love my job title of “Angel” and love what I do!
Rick Lohmeyer: Being an Angel has meant coming to terms with the experience of aging experienced by a variety of people, nearly all of whom demonstrate grace and courage under trying circumstances. If I can age with as much compassion and determination to enjoy my life as my clients, I have gained a pearl of great price, for which I am truly grateful. Every day of my life is enriched by my interaction with our clients and the chance to be of service is priceless.
Rich O’Brien: Being an Angel with DLEA is a rewarding and gratifying experience. It is gratifying to be able to help someone to an appointment so they don’t have to worry about the details of getting there or when someone’s face lights up as you play their favorite Big Band orchestra piece. It has been enlightening to understand how we all move through this life’s challenges differently and how we can all benefit from each other’s gifts of time. My job as an Angel has brought many unexpected gifts to my life.
Kathy Wellborn: Although I have not been an Angel for very long, I find the experience extremely rewarding. I take people places and allow them to experience things that enrich their lives or may not be able to experience otherwise. The quality of their life and mine is enhanced, which gives me great joy. The clients I work with are amazing people with interesting lives, and for that, I am grateful we’ve met.
Liz Zarate: Being a Debbie’s Angel has changed my life. I’ve met so many different clients with so many different backgrounds and stories. Some with dementia, mobility issues, and other health challenges, but they all face them with dignity. Many are fiercely independent! Others have caregivers, like my very first client who had a devoted caregiver until the end. I could tell lots of stories, but suffice it to say that I enjoy contributing to the JOY in our clients’ lives – if I can bring just a small bright spot into their day, my work is done. I hope I am making Debbie proud.
DLEA would be happy to match you or your loved one with one of our Debbie’s Angels. From the home page of our website, go to the “Our Staff” menu, then choose “Debbie’s Angels” to view the bios. If you are interested in the program, we’d love to hear from you by phone at 301-593-5285 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org!