Noah in need as it rebounds from staffing strain

Courtesy photo Resident and chef RJ makes an Italian dinner for his housemates.

Located in Spring Valley, Noah Homes is an Affinity Choice Community, providing residency that maximizes independence to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Noah Homes is a multi-resident care facility, its residents all adults, with 90 residents ages 23 to 73.

Some are extremely independent, but need just a little extra help, and are not able to live on their own. Noah has two homes that have dementia-level care. It has 10 homes on its property and depending on the needs of the individuals, they are placed in different homes that provides that level of care. But like many industries during the pandemic, Noah finds itself in need of volunteers and staff to provide a loving home for its residents, said Jenn Moss, human resources manager.

“COVID was an intense time,” she said. “For some, they needed a break, so we are seeing them transition because it was ‘all hands on deck’ for so many months in a row. We were fortunate here that we were able to really protect our residents from any terrible outcomes. We were able to keep them safe here at home and our staff worked seriously with precautions. But we have people going back to school, those who need a break from working through that season, like it was for anyone in the healthcare or caregiving that holds that responsibility.”

Moss said many of its staff are moving forward in the healthcare field or wanting to come back after going back to school and earning certain certification.

“While it has been intense during the pandemic like any other caregiving space, it is a place where people have had a real positive experience working in,” she said.

Program Manager Kim Keane said Noah Homes has been a “fantastic journey” for her.

Keane worked in the corporate sphere for 20 years, got to travel, loved her job, had fun, and then decided to have children.

“I was blessed to have the opportunity to stay at home with my two young boys as they grew up, spending my time focusing on them,” she said. “As they got older, I wanted to rejoin the workforce. One opportunity I had while I was not working was to focus on what was important to me in my life. I contemplated going back into the corporate environment as I did enjoy that, but I did not feel like I was getting fulfillment in a way that I needed it. After having kids, I realized that there was so much more than living the ‘rat race’ of needing to be one step ahead of everybody and navigating that corporate world. I wanted to find something where I could give back, and something that gave back to me.”

Keane knew someone that worked at Noah and in a conversation told them her thoughts and feeling, especially having been out of the workforce for some time. At that time, she was just looking to do some volunteer work, understand the industry, but in her trip to Noah, she “absolutely fell in love.”

“I was able to spend time in one of the homes that had nine individuals living there. I spent 30 minutes chatting with them and decided this was absolutely a mission that I wanted to get involved with,” she said.

Keane began as a parttime employee and as her kids grew older and became more independent, she said she recognized that this was the career she had been looking for.

“I started as a part-time direct support professional and learned the field and requirements in working with these folks,” she said. “Then it became a mission and a felt a part of an extended loving family that we all call Noah. It is an organization that embraced its employees as much as it embraced its residents, and I was passionate about being a part of all of that.”

That was eight years ago. And after holding several different positions, she said the best thing about her job has been to watch so many of Noah residents, grow, thrive, and become successful, independent individuals. She said she saw the same with the staff that worked there.

“It has been a lovely experience all the way around,” she said. “It was a job that gave me more than I ever would have expected.”

Keane said there is a job, and then there is a mission. She said for people looking for more than a paycheck and looking to change the world on person at a time, Noah does this every day.

“There is so much more to consider than a paycheck,” she said. “Being involved with this special, unique population has given me so much in my life and allowed me to grow as a human. It is an environment for people to utilize their skillsets for others, while those you are helping are helping you too.”

Moss said Noah needs people who are willing to love its residents. She said that Noah supplies all the training in the necessary skills in working with adults with disabilities.

“We are looking for people with a positive spirit and a heart to help others, and really understand the joy of taking care of someone with a disability,” she said. “That might come from personal experience or just be something that has tugged on their heart, a story they hear, or a relative they knew. It is not just a job for our staff. We have a heart for the people where we are providing independence and a loving home that have a variety of disabilities and the needs that come with those disabilities.”

Moss said she believes many people have been reassessing their lives while navigating through a pandemic, with many switching jobs, making career transitions, and looking for work that they are passionate about.

“I believe Noah Homes is a great opportunity for people who are looking for a way for being at a job where they are giving back to a certain population and need specific care,” she said. “We found that for people looking for that next season in their career, they have found working with Noah Homes extremely rewarding. We have psychologists, teachers, people coming out of the business life, sales, the post office. They are still willing and able to work and want to put some time in their career that is giving back to the world. But the joy that Noah residents give to our staff is priceless.”

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