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Helping locals live their best lives (sponsored)


While the economic shutdown has forced many businesses to let go of staff, one non-profit organization is now hiring people to help community members most at risk of isolation.   

Neighbor Network of Northern Nevada (N4) is accepting applications for paid Community Care Partners, who spend time with N4 members — primarily older adults and people with disabilities — to help them realize their potential.

That includes assisting them with daily living tasks like grocery delivery, cooking, cleaning, personal care and transportation, but it also involves identifying their interests and passions to help them live fulfilling lives. This means supporting them in what they want to do, which could include volunteering, participating in virtual events and enjoying recreational activities.

Helping Others Help Themselves

“We get to know our members on a personal level and find out what they want to do, and then we help them do that,” says N4 Program Coordinator and Community Care Partner Hubert Enriquez.

One of the people Enriquez works with is Rick Miolini, a 54-year-old Nevadan with Down Syndrome. Miolini lives on his own, and up until the shutdown, he held down a job and worked out at Sports West every day.

While providing services for N4 members, Community Care Partners are also giving respite to their primary care partners — like Enriquez does for Rick’s sister, Lori Stock. Stock teaches full-time and has her own family to care for, so she has relied on a variety of agencies to help her help her brother through the years. She discovered N4 early in 2020 and is grateful for the service they provide. 

“Just listening to them, I sat there dumbfounded,” she says. “They have all these ideas for him, and I trust that they have his best interests at heart.”

While Enriquez provides in-home duties for Miolini, helping him stay organized, do laundry and prepare meals, Stock says it’s the human side of N4 she most appreciates.

“They spend time with Rick, making sure he’s getting out of the house, hiking, exercising and doing the things he loves,” she says.

Pandemic Inspires Safety Measures

Hubert Enriquez with Rick Miolini.
Hubert Enriquez works with Rick Miolini, a 54-year-old Nevadan with Down Syndrome. 
Miolini lives on his own, and up until the shutdown, he held down a job and worked out at Sports West every day. 

In response to COVID-19, new precautions and services have been put in place to serve N4 Members and Community Care Partners. These include: COVID-19 health and safety screenings; virtual and telephone care consultation and support with accessing community resources; essential supplies, emergency kits, and education for emergency situations; food and medication delivery; and touch-free socialization, recreation and leisure.

“While we continue to provide in-home support for people who need it to ensure health, safety and well-being, if a primary care partner is not comfortable having staff come into their home, we can still provide respite care,” says N4 founder and Executive Director Amy Dewitt-Smith explains. 

This could include taking someone for a walk, virtual socialization, getting take-out food, or community excursions that follow physical distancing guidelines.

“When someone has to move in to a caregiver role, it can take away from the relationship,” Dewitt-Smith. “The services we provide give them the time to do what they need to do, so that both people in the caregiving partnership come back refreshed.”

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

N4 was founded by Dewitt-Smith in 2015 while she was working for the State of Nevada in the Aging & Disability Services Division. “There are a lot of resources out there for older adults and people with disabilities, but there are also gaps that aren’t getting filled,” she explains.

Many of those gaps have to do with the human connection, and that’s where N4 comes in. Dewitt-Smith and her team created a variety of programs all designed to help N4 members in the specific ways that best allow them to be who they want to be. The onset of the pandemic and the resulting shutdown meant that N4 has had to focus almost exclusively on the Community Care program, which means they need more Community Care Partners.

Becoming A Community Care Partner

Community Care Partners need to be patient, open-minded, flexible, good at problem solving and meet the following criteria:

  • Must be able to pass a criminal background check
  • 18 years of age or older with a high school diploma or GED
  • Ability to communicate effectively in both verbal and written form
  • Have good judgment and be able to handle crisis situations
  • Have a positive attitude
  • Maintain a valid Nevada driver’s license, vehicle insurance, registration and a reliable vehicle  

For candidates meeting these qualifications, N4 provides the necessary training to be successful.

Roommates and friends who are already helping an older adult or someone with a disability are eligible to become Community Care Partners. “They’ll just have to go through a background check and meet the other criteria we have in place,” Dewitt-Smith says.

Full and part-time positions are available. Pay starts at $13 an hour, with a raise after successfully completing six months in the position. The application packet and additional information can be found at neighbornv.org/careers.

“N4’s mission is to help people realize the possibilities, receive support to ensure success, and instill conviction that we are all part of a caring community,” Dewitt-Smith says. “All of our volunteers and staff members are doing very important work.”

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