Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce

Visiting Angels of West Springfield wants to highlight the interns and employees who have graduated this year

Visiting Angels of West Springfield wants to highlight the interns and employees who have graduated this year. There are three women below that have achieved their college degree that we are so fortunate to have with us. Congratulations to the 2021 graduates: Annmarie, Nichole, and Marisa!

Annmarie

Annmarie Arduino is a 2021 graduate of Hopkins Academy High School and Holyoke Community College. When I asked Annmarie how she juggled college and high school at the same time, she described it as “much simpler than I thought” due to HCC’s dual enrollment program. She was able to save money on college costs by gaining HCC credits for the last two years. Her favorite college courses included a Women, Gender, and Sexuality in Literature class, and she really enjoyed the comprehensive research in the class called “Is Prison Necessary? Reimagining Incarceration.” She graduated from HCC with an associate degree in English and will be attending Boston University in the fall. Annmarie’s dream is to become a professor one day helping to expose and amplify underrepresented voices in literature. Her extracurricular activities at college included being a part of a Creative Writing Club and an editor for Pulp City, HCC’s Art and Literature magazine. She was also a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society! Outside of school, she enjoys reading, baking, and spending time with her dogs. Annmarie is such a great asset to our organization as the Visiting Angels Administrative Assistant; she mainly helps with payroll and billing processes. During her time with Visiting Angels, she has been able to discover her passion for playing violin for the elderly. She believes that “music can speak to people beyond what can be communicated in words.” Congratulations to Annmarie for all of her hard work and accomplishments!

 

Nichole

Nichole Oquendo is a 2021 graduate of Bay Bath University with a degree in general psychology. She decided to pursue psychology because she wanted to help a wide variety of people in light of the growing awareness about mental health concerns and challenges. Nichole knew Bay Path was the college for her because it is a woman-inclusive school where she would not need to worry about the gender-based pressure of a co-ed university. She will be continuing her employment with Visiting Angels as well as working towards her master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling at Bay Path. Nichole worked as a home health aide specializing in dementia or Alzheimer’s clients, utilizing skills she obtained during her training with us. She credits Visiting Angels for making it possible for her to continue her studies while simultaneously gaining hands-on experience with the geriatric population. It also made her realize that she wanted to stay in this field after graduation. When asked what she has learned during her time at Visiting Angels, she explains, “I have really seen that care can come in a variety of levels which can move up and down depending on a variety of variables.” Nichole made a booklet about Alzheimer’s and dementia to inform people what it was like to experience these conditions firsthand. It describes the stages of the disease and offers guidance on how to comprehend it on an emotional level. She described her incredible passion for eldercare: “My clients’ emotional and physical health are just as important as my own grandparents' health.” As an Angel, Nichole understands that her clients’ fears and anxieties are important and valid; we are grateful to have her continue her education within our company. Congratulations to Nichole for graduating and we wish you luck at graduate school!

Marisa

Marisa Lombardi is a 2021 graduate of Elms College with a degree in Healthcare Management. She always wanted to pursue a career in healthcare but truly decided to be involved in eldercare after watching her great grandmother go through the nursing home process in Canada as a small child. Marisa believes that education is important and wants to make a difference in the lives of those who cannot take care of themselves. At Elms College, Marisa was inducted into Sigma Beta Delta Honor Society for students in business, management, and administration. Marisa credits Elms College for her success due to the smaller class sizes which allowed her to ask questions and have a unique place to grow as a person and a student. “The elderly have always been my main priority,” she said, “because everyone should enjoy their last days in a safe and comfortable environment. Healthcare management will allow me to assess and care for patients on a higher level.” She finished college in December of 2020 and quickly started working for Visiting Angels after completing her coursework. Marisa is the Administrative Project Coordinator; her duties include transferring internal efforts online, writing press releases, and working with Constant Companion (our new virtual in-home safety and communication program for elders) to improve the lives of seniors within their homes. Marisa values Visiting Angels for their compassion and dedication to serve their clients with the utmost respect. She will continue to work at Visiting Angels for the foreseeable future. Congratulations to Marisa on graduating!

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