Nicole has a passion for working with older adults and believes in the "law of plenty". She enjoys the challenge of breaking down the silos of health care organizations by creating and participating in consortiums of health care providers that actively discuss issues facing seniors they serve. The goal is to discover how this fragile population can have a better quality of life through education, resource sharing, and problem solving during meeting times and through collaboration.
Nicole has spent a major portion of her career in various capacities at the Northeast Health and the Eddy Memorial Geriatric Center in New York. Nicole served as a social worker and team leader of their Special Care Unit for individuals with dementia and as director of an Adult Day Medical Health Center (Adult Daycare). During her tenure at the Eddy, Nicole served on the Board of the Alzheimer's Association of Northeastern NY chapter and trained professionals on the up and coming techniques for dementia care nationally. When moving to North Carolina, Nicole expanded her area of expertise to the field of private duty in home care as the Community Outreach Coordinator, at Homewatch CareGivers of the Triangle and currently holds a position as Community Educator at Transitions LifeCare. Also, Nicole hosts a weekly radio show "Caring Connections" on 1360 WCHL. It focuses on educating the family caregiver about resources and what to expect in their roles. Nicole also serves as a Caregiver Correspondent for “Eye on Health” a weekly live radio show that airs on 680 WPTF.
Nicole took some time off from her professional career to raise two of her children. During that time, she experienced first-hand what it is like to be the primary caregiver, not only for children, but also for her grandfather, who she cared for in her home until he passed away.
Nicole earned an Associate in Arts degree from The Sage Colleges and a Bachelor's degree in Social Work with Advanced Standing from Siena College. She has completed some graduate work in Health Care Administration.
In my 40+ years in the medical field, there have been few constants. But there has been one which, frustratingly, still remains a constant: the lack of uniform availability of adequate resources for family caregivers of hospital patients readying to go home, for caregivers of clients receiving home care/home health care, for caregivers of people with chronic physical illnesses, for family caregivers of patients in skilled nursing facilities (nursing homes), and especially for family and professional caregivers of clients with dementia, in particular Alzheimer's.
That is why Guiding Lights is my passion. Every unfulfilled need that caregivers have expressed over my professional years can and will be met in this Caregiver Support Center. All staff members have been caregivers of beloved family members and have experienced the frustration of not knowing where and to whom to turn for help.
I am so proud to be a part of this collaborative effort and to be able to bring joy to people who live in frustration & desperation because they can not get the help they need to provide adequate and appropriate assistance to their loved ones. Guiding Lights is for each and all of them!
Corliss is a social worker and a LPN, who has worked with elderly patients in a hospital setting. She has coordinated activities in a residential senior center and implemented various ways of assisting individuals with dementia. The Guiding Lights team is directed by passionate individuals responding to the needs of those who provide significant care. I am pleased to be part of a team that is cognizant of the needs of the many caregivers that we serve.
Leigh comes to us from Elder and Adult Day Services (EADS) -- a day health non profit organization in Seattle, Washington - at which she was responsible for Public Relations and Marketing. In 2008 through 2009, the organization took on a rebranding campaign (on a shoe string budget) with the goal of attracting a wider variety of participants and funding sources. Leigh and her supervisor presented on the campaign at the 2010 National Adult Day Services Association conference here in Raleigh. Leigh and her family had moved to Raleigh in July of 2009, after which she continued working (remotely) for EADS until recently.
Martha, a N.C. native, comes to Guiding Lights as Program Coordinator. Martha has 40+ years as a R.N. with positions ranging from all aspects of inpatient rehabilitation, coordinating care for severely injured workers, to surveying adult care facilities in N.C. for licensure compliance with state rules & regulations. Many of these positions provided her the opportunity to see first hand the importance of well trained staff to care for the elderly. She strongly believes coordinating a program that prepares nurse aides to become the best they can be, will result in providing much better care for the frail elderly. Martha welcomes the exciting opportunity to be a part of this dynamic team!
Rachel David, President of T.J.A. CPA PLLC, a locally owned company in the city of Cary, NC. Mrs. David has over 10 years experience in accounting and specializes in job costing, Non-profit accounting and personal financial management for seniors with Alzheimer's and Dementia. Her passion is the advocate for those that are not able to advocate for themselves and to serve the elderly community however she can.
Jamilah Dixon, Program Support Specialist
Jamilah is a native of Raleigh. She has been in the healthcare world for a while. It all began when she first started working with teens on a talk line. From then, she continued school and went on to graduate from Winston-Salem State University, only to dive deeper into the mental health world. Which granted her the opportunity to develop many skills and certifications such: as Non-Violent Crisis Intervention, as well as Wilderness and Clinical First Responder. She enjoys exploring the environment outside, traveling, and reading. Jamilah is ecstatic to join such an amazing, and productive team.
Marilyn Hartman, Contracted Grant Writer
Marilyn started working with Guiding Lights a few months after its doors opened, assisting with grant-writing and evaluation. She has an academic background, and was a faculty member in the Psychology Department of the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill for over 20 years. Her career started at Johns Hopkins University (BA, 1980) and the University of Minnesota (Ph.D., 1987) and has always focused on the field of aging. After many years of teaching and conducting research on age-related cognitive and neuropsychological changes and on caregiving, she now is happy to support the work of nonprofits making a difference in the local community. Working with Guiding Lights has enabled her to bring her experience and skills to make sure that those living with illness and caregiving have the support and services they need.
Pam Kane, RN Instructor
To me there is no greater reward than to watch a student grow in confidence and knowledge in the skills required for the Nurse Aide I program. I have worked alongside CNAs in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Home Health setting, therefore I am very aware how vital their role is throughout the circle of life. Teaching caregivers has become my favorite role as an RN and that is why I am grateful and excited to join the Guiding Lights "family." I share in their commitment to educate caregivers to do what they do with excellence-CARE!
I graduated from Craven Community College in New Bern, NC with an ADN and a few years later earned a Bachelor's Degree at Mt. Olive College. I have been nursing for 21 years with experience in the NICU and then Home Health nursing, as well as an instructor for the Nurse Aide I program at Pamlico Community College in Grantsboro NC. I am so looking forward to helping educate people who desire to care for others confidently and safely.
Kathleen Rosendale, Awakening Mentor
I am delighted to be joining the staff of Guiding Lights. As a mentor I am blessed to be touched by the grace and wisdom of our senior community. I can remember as a child sitting and listening to the stories of my Grandmother. Later, it would become my privilege to share them with her when she no longer recognized them as her own, but still recognized a good story when she heard one! In this spirit of listening I open my mind, heart and hands to the journey.
Shelly Slaczka, Executive Assistant
Over the last fifteen years I have had a variety of experience with administrative, clerical, and customer service. I believe every experience was instrumental in my development personally and professionally. It has opened me up to the importance of how each of us needs a strong support system to be able to function to our utmost potential. While I have been constantly interacting with a diversity of people, I find an enormous amount of joy in being able to help those in need. As a young child, I was exposed to many hardships where I watched several loved ones become ill and pass away. Watching how that affected those around me in my informative years, impacted how I deal with such hardships now. It is a passion of mine to express to those in need that they are not forgotten, they are loved and they matter to me.