The Beth Abraham employee in charge of all volunteers has taken home a major award for her dedication to others.
Genia Collins, supervisor of volunteers for Beth Abraham Health Services, received the 2011 Employee of Distinction Award from LeadingAge New York, one of the state’s largest non-profit aging services member associations.
The award recognizes Collins extraordinary effort in helping scores of young people stay out of gangs and remain in school while mentoring them as volunteers at the Beth Abraham nursing home facility where she has worked for over 34 years.
“This award meant a lot to me because I don’t think there is a greater honor than to be recognized by your peers and the people that you serve,” Collins, a Mount Eden resident, said. “That is something that cannot be taken away.”
Collins has worked in four different departments, including the cafeteria, and became supervisor of volunteers about 15 years ago, she said. She enjoys putting smiles on the faces of patients in the nursing home and rehabilitative facility.
She takes great satisfaction in helping the young people she meets as volunteers in the Beth Abraham’s Summer Youth Employment Program, where she supervises dozens of 14- to 21-year olds for six weeks.
“This is my niche, helping the volunteers, and the young people to stay in school,” Collins said. “You have a lot of young people who really don’t have a lot of direction.”
Many of the youth she meets as volunteer supervisor are lost, angry, have poor home lives, and need someone to talk to, Collins said.
“I try to give them positive input and let them know there is someone they can come to,” Collins said. “They develop relationships with the residents.”
The young people, as well as all our volunteers, play dominos, and do arts and crafts projects with our residents. The program helps young people develop work experience and social skills, Collins stated.
“I also have a group of mentally challenged volunteers who have come a long way,” Collins stated. “My motto with them is that you may be disabled, but you are not unable, and they love it here.”
Collins’ supervisor, Linda Murray, vice president of nursing home operations for Beth Abraham, nominated her for the award. Murray praised Collin’s ability and dedication to all of the volunteers, especially to the young people.
“Genia is a remarkable, compassionate, and dedicated employee who uses her wonderful sense of humor and extraordinary empathy to cut through barricades, whether it is bureaucratic or walls people put up, or teenagers with a defiant, arrogant attitude,” Murray said. “She has rescued many troubled young teens from self-destructive behavior and given them the confidence and encouragement they need to stay in school and go onto graduate.”
LeadingAge was formerly known as the New York Association of Homes and Services for the Aging.
Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 742-3393