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Senior housing programs earn recognition for providing welcoming, affordable living environment

Charlene Newsome named Service Coordinator of the Year

As our nation's aging population continues to grow and the availability of safe senior-living options becomes a growing concern, three Volunteers of America Mid-States affordable housing properties have stepped up to the challenge of providing comfortable and welcoming homes for our seniors. These programs were recently recognized for their dedication to providing a first class and welcoming living community for seniors at the National Volunteers of America Conference in Dallas, TX last month.

Charlene Newsome of Casa Grace in Memphis, TN; Mack Poole of South Oaks in Louisville, KY; and Sharon James and Jennifer Conway of Maud Booth Gardens in Knoxville, TN all crossed the stage at the annual national conference and received awards from Volunteers of America President and CEO Mike King for going above and beyond in each of their positions.

"They put more of themselves into their residents than they have to," Director of HUD Housing for Volunteers of America Mid-States Mary Sikes said. "They make things happen."

South Oaks was recognized as Small Property of the Year and Community Administrator Mack Poole accepted the award. The property was recently awarded a 99 percent rating at a Real Estate Assessment Center inspection.

"It's a tough inspection and it takes an outstanding maintenance crew to put in the work needed to achieve that rating," Mary commented.

Charlene Newsome was named Service Coordinator of the Year for her work at Casa Grace.

"(Charlene) is very personable and that's essential for her position to make all our residents feel welcome," Sikes said.

Charlene was joined by Sharon James and Jennifer Conway of Maud Booth Gardens, who were recognized as Community Administrator/Service Coordinator Team of the Year.

Mary explained that "both respect each other and work for the residents. Sharon lives on the property and is involved in its community, and Jennifer works hard to get the outside community involved."

Despite the unique characteristics of each living community and their staff, one quality remains the same: "All of the individuals at these properties work hard to uplift our residents and show them dignity and respect. They are genuinely involved with a demographic of residents who can tell what is and what is not genuine. And that level of respect keeps our residents healthy," Mary said.