EveryAge Receives Statewide Awards for Service and Innovation from LeadingAge NC

Susan Young and the Rev. Bob Symanski at the 2023 LeadingAge NC awards presentation.

EveryAge was recognized with two of LeadingAge NC’s prestigious awards at the association’s annual conference in Myrtle Beach, S.C., at the beginning of May.

The first — the Excellence in Innovation Award — was presented to Abernethy Laurels retirement community in Newton, N.C., for its Earn & Learn Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training program. The Innovation Award recognizes programs and practices implemented by a member community that address significant needs in the pursuit of expanded possibilities for aging. The award was accepted by EveryAge’s director of clinical services, Susan Young.

Earn & Learn was created by Abernethy Laurels in response to recruitment challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. On a monthly basis, the in-house education program trains individuals to become CNAs in order to provide care to residents. Earn & Learn is approved by the State of North Carolina and delivers both classroom and clinical training. It also prepares students to sit for the State’s written and skills tests. Plus, Earn & Learn pays student employees to be in class, work, and take the certification tests, a unique feature that makes it possible for people to more easily pursue or transition to a career in long-term care. To date, Abernethy Laurels has graduated 13 classes of CNAs with a 14th class currently underway. 

The second award — the Service Excellence Award — was presented to the Rev. Bob Symanski, director of spiritual life at Piedmont Crossing retirement community in Thomasville, N.C. It honors people in direct service, either as employees or volunteers, who demonstrate extraordinary talent, expertise, and dedication in providing exceptional service to residents.

Symanski’s application by his Piedmont Crossing colleagues acknowledged his complete willingness to support the needs of employees and residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also commended his natural curiosity, his servant-first mindset, and his eagerness to participate however he was most needed on any given day. Bob participated in virtual visits, assisted with outside visits, cleaned visitation areas, helped with pre-screenings, and even served food to support team members in their work. He was also a constant source of comfort and counsel for staff and residents.

 “Our overarching vision is to enrich lives by providing the right services, at the right time, and in the right setting,” said Lee Syria, president and CEO of EveryAge. “Being recognized for excellence in both service and innovation is a testimony to the work that we do — the care that we provide — in every location, to every resident. We’re truly gratified that the goals we set forth are more than aspirational; they reflect the reality of life within our organizations. It’s a testament of what we can do together.”

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