“In these times of development, the whole world runs and is hurried. But there are some who fall down on the way and have no strength to go ahead. These are the ones we must care about.”– Mother Teresa
When I read this quote from Mother Teresa, I’m reminded of Friendsview residents—but not in the way you may think.
The sentence that stands out the most is the last one. These are the ones we must care about. Over the last six years, I’ve watched countless residents step up to comfort, embrace, serve, and love others when they are most vulnerable. I’ve seen residents rally around neighbors who lost a spouse—sharing empathy and support. I’ve noticed several walk their neighbor’s dog when they couldn’t. I’ve witnessed endless cards of encouragement delivered back and forth across every single neighborhood. The residents of Friendsview do not leave anyone behind. If someone stumbles and lacks the strength to go ahead, they are right there with an embrace. A gentle word. A soft prayer. And a helping hand. This is especially true for the resident-led Spiritual Care Team.
For many years the Spiritual Care Team has provided “vigil-keepers” for residents preparing to go on to their next adventure, as well as spiritual care for anyone who asks. This group of residents ensures that family members receive respite (even during the middle of the night) so that no one is alone when they are ready to pass on. The vigil-keepers epitomize Mother Teresa’s quote, “These are the ones we must care about.” As a former staff liaison for the Spiritual Care Team, it was a great honor and an inspiration to partner with these residents who selflessly served others during moments of confusion, pain, and loneliness. I’ve often thought to myself, “I want to be like them when I grow up!”
The residents’ love for one another doesn’t stop with spiritual care either. It continues with financial consideration. Every year the resident-led Special Events Committee hosts a silent and live auction where the money goes straight to the Residents’ Assistance Fund. This fund ensures that residents who have outlived their resources can remain within the community. This year the auction raised over $10k! This fund is one of the many reasons I remain committed to Friendsview. I worked in other communities that evicted residents when they outlived their resources. The heart-wrenching sorrow this causes in the staff, family members, and residents is almost indescribable. I remember one person weeping the words, “You don’t want me anymore?” It’s a memory that still hurts my soul. It’s also why the residents at Friendsview are such an inspiration to me. They’ve guaranteed that no one is left behind simply by supporting this fund.
Another group that inspires me to never leave anyone behind includes the volunteers who read books out loud to those with reduced vision. Imagine being a life-long reader, but your vision isn’t what it used to be, so your favorite books sit on your shelf, just longing for you to hold them again. Well, they don’t need to wait any longer thanks to the residents who dedicate hours to reading great works of literature out loud to others in the community. This is a gift that causes my heart to celebrate.
Just recently I overheard a resident say to another, “It’s your birthday tomorrow! We need to celebrate!” The immeasurable support and love are not limited to times of hardship. It’s amplified by celebration and joy. From birthday parties to displays of personal art and collections to local adventures to caring for the Hess Creek Canyon—the abundance of fellowship delights and surprises anyone new to the community. With almost 100 activity groups started and run by residents, there are countless opportunities to connect. To celebrate. To cherish each other’s talents. One such committee that recognizes staff talent is the Employee Scholarship Committee.
This resident-led committee provided grants to staff members in 2023 totaling over $24k. Where did that money come from? Mostly from purchases made by residents in the Market Place (also run by resident volunteers) and through personal donations from residents. These grants allow employees to further their education and provide a huge source of encouragement.
Another way the residents support staff is through the Employee Appreciation Committee. Twice each year they seek out and organize donations from residents to provide gift cards for all employees. The personalized thank-you notes from residents to staff always make me happy. It’s a major morale boost for team members to know that residents see their hard work and dedication. Sometimes, these gift cards come at the perfect time too.
While there is no perfect time to experience hardship or great need, there is always time to experience the compassion, spirit of service, and strong community at Friendsview. The compassion I see here would inspire even Mother Teresa. She understood the value of walking alongside someone no matter who they were and what they were experiencing. I think Friendsview residents understand this too. This is why they’ve excelled at caring for those who have fallen and don’t have the strength to carry on. Perhaps, one day, I can be just as compassionate and caring as them.
– An Inspired Friendsview Employee