Fairhaven Blog

Things of interest around Fairhaven.

OC Walk to Remember Co-Founder Kristyn von Rotz Honored with Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Award

Charity Gallardo - Monday, August 19, 2013

Kristyn von Rotz, co-founder of nonprofit organization OC Walk to Remember, is our August recipient of Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Award.

For Kristyn, offering families support after the loss of a child is an immense objective in her life. The Orange-based freelance writer and full-time mother of three (four including her ‘angel’ Joseph whom she lost at birth in 2004) dedicates herself passionately to OC Walk to Remember, which she co-founded  in 2005 to offer support and help families memorialize children they have lost during pregnancy or infancy. Kristyn, through her vision and compassion, has touched the lives of many families who are grieving the loss of a child.

“As someone with a personal connection to the organization’s purpose, Kristyn makes deep connections with the many families that OC Walk to Remember serves,” says Marla Noel, President of Fairhaven. ”She demonstrates the fundamental nature of what it means to care about others and to make a significant impact on people’s lives.”

OC Walk to Remember’s mission is to provide resources and education for parents, medical professionals, support groups and anyone else who is in need of this type of support.

OC Walk to Remember also gives people the opportunity to receive individual therapy, participate in events in memory of their child and interact with others who share their experience. The organization’s signature event is the Memorial Service 5K Walk and Celebration of Angels, which will happen on Saturday, October 5, 2013 at the District at Tustin Legacy to help raise money for local organizations.

For each family that is suffering the loss of a child, Kristyn shares their pain. “Caring means giving your heart and soul to the people and causes you love,” Kristyn says. “It means reaching out and making a difference in this world. Whether you touch one person or thousands, you’ve made an impact all the same.”

Kristyn also shows an immense appreciation for the remarkable help from family and volunteers. Whether their support comes through donations or through hours devoted, she feels that they helped in making OC Walk to Remember possible.

Kristyn will be honored at Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Awards banquet in the fall at Fairhaven’s Mission Viejo location. The banquet honors a year’s worth of achievements among the local community. Additionally, Fairhaven will make a donation to OC Walk to Remember in her honor.

For more information and to nominate a deserving candidate, click here or send us an email.

Fairhaven Beats the Heat with Fire Safety

Charity Gallardo - Saturday, August 10, 2013

Fire extinguisher safety training is given annually by the company that services Fairhaven's fire extinguishers. Glen from Orange County Fire Protection does a great job teaching the staff about fire extinguishers and the proper way to use them. He's fun as well as informative!

In addition to Glen's annual training visit, the Safety Committee has fire escape route maps posted throughout the building. Each map has fire extinguisher locations and exits marked on them. The Safety Committee also does quarterly fire drills. Sometimes the Safety Coordinator places a big orange cone with the word "FIRE" on it near an exit in an effort to train staff what to do if their normal exit is blocked by fire. It's part of Fairhaven's commitment to providing a safe work environment.

Just remember PASS...Pull (the safety pin), Aim (at the base of the fire), Squeeze (the trigger) and Sweep (the nozzle from side to side)!

Here are some photos of our team during the training.



Creative Visions

Charity Gallardo - Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Over thirty attendees joined us July 25th for the quarterly gathering of professionals who are “looking to exceed their own expectations of what is possible.” Our guests come mostly from senior care and senior related industries. They enjoy the opportunity to network, have lunch and learn at Creative Visions.

Past speakers include Ariel Hubbard of the California Academy for the Healing Arts who helped us to “Formulate our Vision of the New Year”, Barbara Walling from UCI who discussed the “10 Fingers of Innovation”, and July’s guest speaker, Nick Kopinga, a Senior Account Manager at HKA Marketing Communications who showed us how Social Media can be used to increase your company’s visibility and promote brand awareness through blogging, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

“Creative Visions” is a group dedicated to promoting the development of the individual for the betterment of the self and ultimately the improvement of the community through education, self examination and thoughtful reflection. Organized by representatives from Vitas Innovative Healthcare, the Alzheimer’s Association, Salas Homecare and Fairhaven Memorial Park, Creative Visions gathers four times a year at Fairhaven Memorial Park’s Gallery.

The next luncheon will be on Thursday, October 31 at 11:00. We look forward to you joining us!

Graciela Pulido Honored as the July Recipient of Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Award

Charity Gallardo - Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Graciela Pulido, resident assistant at Rancho Santa Margarita’s Park Terrace senior living facility, is our July recipient of Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Award.

Family has always been the most important part of Graciela’s life. The Columbian-born mother of two values every minute spent with her loved ones and extends considerable kindness to everyone fortunate enough to be part of her family. However, the Rancho Santa Margarita resident’s family circle goes far beyond her blood relatives and encompasses the many special seniors she cares for at Rancho Santa Margarita’s Park Terrace senior living facility.

As a resident assistant, Graciela cares for a group of 10-15 residents each day, attending to any and all needs that arise from the time they awake in the morning to when they retire at the end of the day. Her job is to help them live their daily lives in the most comfortable and healthy way possible.

While Graciela’s shift ends when the residents’ day is over, her passion for caring is a 24-hour job. “As a caregiver my job is not just to care ‘for’ them, but also to care ‘about’ them,” says Graciela. “They are always on my mind, even when I am not at work.”

This depth of caring is demonstrated every day when she arrives for work with what her colleagues say is a “smile on her face and a bounce in her stride.”

“Graciela shows us that the true essence of caring is not demonstrated through one’s actions alone, but also through their spirit,” says Marla Noel, President of Fairhaven. “She demonstrates the joy and fulfillment that is found in being a caregiver.”

According to Graciela, caring begins with understanding. “It’s about knowing what a person needs by putting yourself in their shoes. Once you understand them, you can truly help them.”

Graciela will be honored at Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Awards banquet in the fall at Fairhaven’s Mission Viejo location. The banquet honors a year’s worth of achievements among the local community. Additionally, Fairhaven will make a donation to Vida Abundante Church in her honor.

For more information and to nominate a deserving candidate, click here or send us an email.

Fairhaven Named Employer of the Year

Charity Gallardo - Saturday, June 29, 2013

Fairhaven is honored to have been recognized as the Employer of the Year by the Orange County Adult Achievement Center (OCAAC). Mike Galliano of OCAAC presented Fairhaven’s Grounds Manager Jay Rodriguez and President Marla Noel with the award, and Jay said a brief word of thanks to the group of over 200 clients, staff and supporters of OCAAC.

Following our presentation, the President of the Board, Bill Harris and a representative from Senator Huff's office presented Joyce Hearn, the OCAAC CEO with an award of Outstanding Achievement. We have known Joyce for a several decades and have immense respect for her dynamic energy and driving resourcefulness in helping this group of individuals who need assistance so desperately. Thank you to everyone at OCAAC, a truly amazing organization.

June Care Award Recipient Pursued Career in Physical Therapy Following a Personal Battle with Cancer

Charity Gallardo - Thursday, June 27, 2013

Jose Hidalgo, Staffing Coordinator at Santa Ana’s Western Medical Center, is our June recipient of Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Award.

At age 17, Jose found himself entrenched in a two-year battle with abdominal cancer. As he faced the pain and uncertainty of extensive chemotherapy treatments and invasive surgery, he found comfort and strength in the team of dedicated caregivers who surrounded him each day. “They made me feel like part of the family,” he says.

It was here in this time of great adversity that the Fullerton Native decided to pursue a career in the medical field, where he could return the favor. Now 29, Jose is preparing to embark on the next phase of his inspiring journey; a doctoral program in physical therapy.

“Jose’s story is one of passion, selflessness and dedication,” said Marla Noel, president of Fairhaven. “He teaches us that caring for others has the power to change the course of someone’s life.”

The son of Guatemalan immigrants, Jose always understood the importance of seizing opportunity, serving as a role model for his younger sisters and willingly embracing the challenge of balancing work and school. He would become the first member of his family to graduate college, obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology from Cal State Fullerton.

A seminal moment in his education occurred when he worked at the University’s Center for Successful Aging. “It was like a gym for the elderly, helping to restore them through rehabilitation and exercise,” Jose says. “This helped me realize my passion for serving the elderly population.” As a result, Jose hopes to pursue a career in assisting the elderly with their physical therapy needs as he embarks on his doctoral study.

As he endures the arduous process of applying to graduate school, Jose serves as the staffing coordinator for the night shift at Western Medical Center, where he assesses the needs of the patient population and ensures that the floor is appropriately staffed with nurses. He also is involved in decedent affairs, engaging with staff and families during the difficult time of a patient’s passing.

If you ask Jose what caring means to him, he always goes back the harrowing two years he spent in the hospital, overwhelmed by the care of others. “Caring is treating a total stranger like family,” he says. “It’s one thing when medicine can help someone heal, but it’s truly inspiring when a caregiver can make someone feel better. It’s the human component of the healing process.”

Jose will be honored at Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Awards banquet in the fall at Fairhaven’s Mission Viejo location. The banquet honors a year’s worth of achievements among the local community. Additionally, Fairhaven will make a donation to Manos International, an organization dedicated to educating children in impoverished areas throughout the world.

For more information and to nominate a deserving candidate, click here or send us an email.

Staff Shows the Fairhaven Spirit During Customer Service Week

Charity Gallardo - Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Treats and fun abounded the week of June 3 as Fairhaven’s staff participated in a great Customer Service Week. The event is a weeklong celebration thanking the staff for their dedication to the company credo of honoring and embracing each family as if they were their own. Everyone showed their company spirit as they took part in the Route 66 Road Trip – Going the Extra Mile themed events.

The week kicked off on Monday with Breakfast on the Go for the staff. Breakfast sandwiches and drawings for prizes were the name of the day! On Tuesday, the big Customer Service Luncheon served up mouthwatering BBQ from Johnny Reb’s with ice cream cake for dessert. The staff played Guess the Number of Candies in the Jar and a Route 66 Trivia game with prizes for the winners. As always, a motivational speech from Gary O’Sullivan got everyone pumped up to go the extra mile in everything we do for our families.

The awesome lunch was followed up the next day at the Monthly Staff Meeting where breakfast burritos and fresh fruit preceded a visit from Credoman and Credo Genie, the staff’s own Customer Service Superheroes. On Thursday afternoon, Road Snacks in the form of nachos and Slim Jims drew the staff to the lunch room for a fun-filled break. The week’s events drew to a close on Friday with Drive-Thru A&W Root Beer Floats. Each event also hosted a Daily Drawing for Customer Service prizes and the monthly marble draw at the staff meeting had a big winner!

Route 66 Road Trip signs and landmarks decorated all the staff areas. Special posters of staff members who have Gone the Extra Customer Service Mile adorned the staff hallways. The Historical Landmark Employees included staff members who have been at Fairhaven more than 20 years, 10-20 years, or 5-10 years. The employees who have gone the extra Customer Service Mile included past winners of the Customer Service Award, those who’ve earned multiple Customer Service Pins, and past winners of the Employee of the Year or Counselor of the Year awards. The recognition of these staff members helps everyone remember that they can go the extra mile too just by living up to the company motto and serving from their heart!

The entire staff had a great time and the festivities left the staff pumped up and ready to go more than the extra mile for the families we are privileged to serve in 2013 and beyond.

Cheryl Wieland Honored With Care Award For Senior Advocacy

Charity Gallardo - Friday, May 24, 2013

Cheryl Wieland, Case Management Coordinator at Age Well Senior Services, is our May recipient of Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Award.

For the past 17 years, the Laguna Hills resident has been an advocate for seniors all across South Orange County. While their needs vary widely from home to home, Cheryl’s unwavering commitment to helping them achieve and maintain a healthy and comfortable lifestyle is an inspiration to seniors, colleagues and the many communities she serves.

“Cheryl is leading the charge to ensure that Orange County seniors are well cared for regardless of condition or economic status,” said Marla Noel, president of Fairhaven. “In an era where so many vital programs are being cut, her courage and tenacity is essential to caring for our growing senior population.”

As Case Management Coordinator, Wieland’s job is to ensure that seniors are aligned with the proper resources to sustain a healthy and productive lifestyle in the home. Her responsibilities include making in-home visits, providing educational tools and resources, coordinating meal programs and helping to ensure seniors receive necessary medical attention. Wieland is also involved in writing grants to help local seniors receive important resources such as scooters and ramps to improve their quality of life. According to Wieland, this all boils down to one word: advocacy

“In everything I do, my primary goal is to always be an advocate for seniors,” says Wieland “If something is not right, I do my best to correct it, while also reaching out to other community resources and agencies to encourage them to be advocates as well.”

Wieland immigrated to the United States from Canada in 1984 with extensive experience as a Registered Nurse. After earning her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing, a colleague recommended she apply for a position at Age Well. “As a nurse, I had worked quite a bit with the senior community but never exclusively,” says Wieland. “But once I started, I realized I found my niche.”  This was in 1996 and Wieland has been a proud member of the Age Well team ever since.

Today, Wieland remains thankful for both her career and the many gifts she gains from serving the senior population. “They teach me so much about wisdom, perseverance and integrity,” she says. “Their knowledge and enthusiasm is what keeps me going.”

In 2013, the biggest challenge is to maintain this high level of outreach amid drastic budget cuts, which have affected everything from transportation and adult day care to nutrition programs. Wieland remains determined to persevere on the strength of her convictions and the support of her colleagues. “Age Well is like a family,” she says. “We always help each other no matter what the circumstances. We can do it!”

She will be honored at Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Awards banquet in the fall at Fairhaven’s Mission Viejo location. For more information and to nominate a deserving candidate, click here or send us an email.

April’s Care Award Recipient Works To Enrich The Lives Of Seniors

Charity Gallardo - Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Martha Meyer, Life Enrichment Director at Del Obispo Terrace Senior Living is our April recipient of Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Award.

Martha Meyer’s path to working with seniors was an unexpected one. The San Clemente resident spent 23 years as a restaurant executive before owning a successful women’s fashion boutique in Laguna Beach. In 2000, she and her husband moved to a community with a large elderly population. “I always loved helping the people in the neighborhood,” she recalls. “I would help them with their gardening, pick up their groceries, take them to lunch and organize little get-togethers.”

When Meyer sold the boutique and was considering her next move, a friend told her about a job opening at Del Obispo Terrace Senior Living. “I never really considered it as a career but realized it would give me an opportunity to do something truly meaningful,” she says. This leap of faith proved to be the best move yet, both for her and the 70-plus residents at Del Obispo Terrace.

“Martha’s success as a manager, entrepreneur and community leader helped her to create a one-of-a-kind experience for Del Obispo Terrace’s residents,” said Marla Noel, president of Fairhaven. “Her ability to infuse fun, education and community service into their daily lives is reflective of her unbridled enthusiasm and caring spirit.”

Since taking over as Del Obispo Terrace’s Life Enrichment Director, Meyer has built one of the region’s most unique and extensive social programs, centered on what she calls the “Three E’s:” Engage, Enrich, Empower. She oversees a staggering 190 activities each month, including a Sunshine Club, poetry club, beach exercise program, technology education classes, drama program and even a monthly comedy club, where residents try their hand at stand-up comedy. “You’ll laugh until you cry,” she says.

One of Meyer’s most notable contributions has been the establishment of an extensive community outreach program, where residents have participated in service projects with the Dana Point/San Clemente Animal Shelter, Toys for Tots, The San Diego Zoo’s Adopt a Panda Bear program and The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. “Our residents are always looking for an opportunity to give back,” said Meyer. “This program enables them to be part of something special and affirms their important role in the community.”

With so many responsibilities, Meyer draws her seemingly limitless energy and enthusiasm from what she calls her “adopted family,” the residents of Del Obispo Terrace. “They’ve given me so much more than I have given them,” said Meyer. “The many life lessons they have taught me and their generosity inspires me to reach new heights every day. They are the ones who should win an award.”

Meyer will be honored at Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Awards banquet in the fall at Fairhaven’s Mission Viejo location. The banquet honors a year’s worth of achievements among the local community. Additionally, Fairhaven will make a donation to the American Cancer Society on behalf of Meyer. For more information and to nominate a deserving candidate, click here or send us an email.

Service and Leadership Earn Grace Henson Our March Care Award

Charity Gallardo - Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Grace Henson, director of nursing at Irvine’s Regents Point/Windcrest senior living community, is our March recipient of Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Award.

The Mission Viejo resident has a unique way of describing what it means to care. She believes it can’t be described. “It comes from the heart,” she says. It is this heart for caring that helped her touch the lives of those she cares for and manages at Regents Point/Windcrest.

“During her more than 30 years as a nurse, Grace has provided exceptional care for her patients and inspired countless others to follow her example,” said Marla Noel, president of Fairhaven. “She epitomizes what it means to be both an outstanding caregiver and manager.”

As director of nursing, Henson is responsible for the medical care of Regents Point/Windcrest’s skilled nursing facility. This includes managing a staff of 22 licensed nurses and 30 CNA’s. In this position, Henson has dedicated herself to ensuring the patient remains at the center of all decision making. With her leadership, Regents Point/Windcrest has been listed in the top 10 percent of nursing facilities in the State of California by Consumer Reports’ Nursing Home Quality Monitor. Regents Point/Windcrest also offers independent living, assisted living, memory care and home care.

“When I accepted this position, I made a commitment to ensure that my staff is dedicated to doing four things: use their critical thinking, be professional, be compassionate and be ethical at all times,” says Henson. “We must never forget that the patient is the only reason we’re here.”

Henson’s successes as director of nursing are the culmination of a journey spanning more than three decades and dating back to her arrival in the United States from her native Philippines in 1979. During her first 15 years as a nurse, she worked full time in hospitals, while picking up extra shifts in her spare time at a nursing home. It was here where she realized her true calling: Serving Orange County’s aging population.

She joined Regents Point/Windcrest in 1995, as nursing director and has picked up several honors along the way, including an Award for Nursing Excellence by the U.S. ElderCare, Inc. as well as being named one of the Top 10 Outstanding Women in the Nation for her work with the Filipino community.

In addition to her passion for nursing, the recently empty-nested wife and mother of three enjoys ballroom dancing and caring for her three Pomeranians, facing every new day with boundless joy and energy.

“Every day is a new life, a new experience and another challenge.” she says. “I won’t let anyone steal my joy!”

She will be honored at Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Awards banquet in the fall at Fairhaven’s Mission Viejo location. For more information and to nominate a deserving candidate, click here or send us an email.


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