All in the Family
Just a few weeks ago, the Los Angeles Jewish Home's Annenberg School of Nursing graduated its most recent class of vocational nurses (LVN). Seventeen students of all ages and backgrounds completed the 13-month program, which culminated in a COVID-safe, drive-thru ceremony recognizing their impressive achievements.
With the pandemic continuing to be a challenge, these students pressed on with their studies, receiving vital clinical training that tested their mettle. Each student committed to the full-time program, study groups, and hours of homework.
"This was such an impressive group of individuals, and they were all determined to succeed," states Amandeep Kaur, director of the Annenberg School. "Some of them lost family members while going through the program, and others became new parents. But nothing stopped them from persevering, and I was so proud of that."
Amandeep and the rest of the school's expert educators, Jewish Home CEO and President Dale Surowitz, Annenberg Board of Directors Chair Sheldon Steier, and Jewish Home senior staff were all on-hand to join in the celebration. Each student was presented with a certificate of completion and ceremonial Florence Nightingale nursing lamp as they emerged one at a time from their family's cars to receive the honors.
Among the recipients was Sarai Rodriguez, who has a deep history of connection to the Jewish Home. Her aunt, Josie Mata, the team leader of activities in the Home's Taper Building, will soon be celebrating her 32nd anniversary as a Jewish Home employee.
"It's wonderful to have my niece join us as a member of the Jewish Home family," Josie says. That family includes multiple members of the Mata family: One of Josie's sisters (and Sarai's mother), Ibeth Mata, a medical technician at the Eisenberg Newman Building, has spent nearly 26 years working at the Home. Josie's nephew, Hector Landeros, is an LVN who has worked at the Home's Brandman Centers for Senior Care, a Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly, for about five years. For nearly 16 years, Sarai's cousin Walter has worked in maintenance at Fountainview. Even Sarai's father, Wilfredy, is in on the action; he, too, has been a Jewish Home employee with the Auerbach Geriatric Psychiatry Unit in the JEK Building for 25 years.
Given how rooted she is at the Jewish Home and the significant role it has played in her family's life, it comes as no surprise that Sarai chose to pursue her education there. Looking to the future, perhaps she will decide to develop her career at the Home, as well, continuing the Mata family's legacy of intergenerational impact on seniors across our community.
"Our entire family is so proud of Sarai!" Josie says. "We're also just incredibly grateful to the Jewish Home, which gives so many opportunities, not just to the Mata family, but to everyone looking to develop and grow. The Jewish Home is the best—you can't find any other place like it!"
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