March is Social Work Month: Celebrating Members of the CHA Service Coordinator Team

NULL

For Social Work Month 2022, we recognize some of the CHA Service Coordinators at our senior living sites who help lead resident support services each and every day on the front lines. 

Jennifer Chisholm (Pictured)

Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling with a focus on Psychiatric Rehabilitation Counseling from Boston University.

Years working as a service coordinator at CHA properties: 14 Years

Why did you become a Service Coordinator? 

From a young age, I was always drawn towards helping others. My first job as a teenager was working at the Revere Housing Authority, which opened up opportunities for me to volunteer in the field. I helped host the first ‘Senior Prom’ for the seniors of Revere and also delivered Thanksgiving baskets to those in need. Having the opportunity to do these things at a young age helped me realize I am most fulfilled when I am helping others. 

What is your favorite part about the job? 

I can honestly say, I love coming to work. Every day is different, and it brings me joy when I can help make my residents’ lives a little easier.

One person who inspired you to get to where you are today: 

My grandmother, Edna. She was someone who wanted to be remembered as, “Doing the best she can with what she has.” She wrote a book to give to all her granddaughters highlighting each of our moms so we will always remember that each of them helped make us unique.

What you would tell someone considering a career in Human Services: 

I would suggest volunteering first. Find out out if it is truly something you want to do. It’s hard work, you won’t get rich doing it, but the intangible rewards are endless. 

Diane Sicheri

MSW from Simmons School of Social Work, Boston, MA. Also has a certificate in Gerontology from Bunker Hill Community College.

Years working as a service coordinator at CHA properties: 3 Years

Why did you become a Social Worker? 

I love working with the elderly. It was a lifelong dream to work in housing with seniors to keep them living independently as long as they can. I had many jobs in the business world before I was able to complete my education and fulfill my dream. 

What is your favorite part about the job? 

Working with my residents every day. 

One person who inspired you to get to where you are today: 

My paternal grandparents. They immigrated to America from Austria in 1927, and they had such determination to live their dreams. When I was young, there was no such thing as daycare, your family helped out. My grandparents took care of me when my parents worked, and I was brought up learning my culture, language, and how to interact with seniors. I also learned how important our elders are to our society by being with them and their friends. I have carried them with my entire life and even though they have been gone for many years, I always think of them, and it helps me to be better at my job. 

What you would tell someone considering a career in Human Services: 

The saying, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life” is so true. I’ve worked many jobs over the years that I’ve hated but needed the money to put myself though school. Now that I have found the career and position I love, this saying couldn’t be truer. I look forward to seeing my residents everyday, and yes, there are always people who are difficult and sometimes job issues can be overwhelming, but in the end, it’s all about the people I help. Having just one person tell me I’ve have made their life a little bit better is the best feeling in the world.

Kenneth Hebert

MSW from Boston College.

Years working as a service coordinator at CHA properties: 12 Years – for seven years I served as service coordinator at LBJ and JFK Apartments, respectively, and family developments as needed. Since 2017, I have been serving as the Service Coordinator team supervisor.

Why did you become a Social Worker? 

After many life-changing immersion experiences among the comunidades de base in Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Brazil I felt the call to do more, to make the immersion more permanent as a way of life. The people I met along the way living in very impoverished realities and those who walked with them, were my teachers and were those who inspired me.

What is your favorite part about the job? 

The residents and being part of a team that shares the same passion and commitment to serve others in the best way that we can.

One person who inspired you to get to where you are today: 

A social worker from southern Vermont, who served in smaller towns in rural areas – a true mentor and inspiration.

What you would tell someone considering a career in Human Services: 

Yes, yes, yes! you will not regret taking this direction in your life. Consider and choose your field of practice, and go for it!

Yaw Adjei-Koranteng (Pictured)

BA in Psychology and MS in Gerontology from University of Massachusetts Boston.

Years working as a service coordinator at CHA properties: 15 Years

Why did you become a Social Worker? 

I worked at an Elder Service Agency right after college, and a few years into that job, I realized that I liked and enjoyed what I was doing. Part of the job required going into the homes of the elderly, talking to them and making an assessment to get them the help they needed to live independently in their homes. As a result of that experience, I decided to further my education and got into Social Work.

What is your favorite part about the job? 

Most definitely the people that I work with – the tenants. I remember on my first day at Millers River, the first tenant that walked into my office was named G. This tenant was very well known in the building and in the neighborhood. I helped her with some forms that needed to be filled out, and by the end of the day, most tenants knew about it and the new guy in the social worker’s office. There was another tenant who use to bring me a copy of the Boston Metro newspaper every morning. One of this tenant’s favorite spots in the building was the old community room, where my office also used to be, and as soon as I walked into the community room, he will have a newspaper waiting for me. These are some of the things that I enjoy about this job.

One person who inspired you to get to where you are today: 

For me, inspiration comes from many sources. I have been fortunate enough to have known my grandmothers, both of whom were very hard-working women and accomplished in their own rights. My wife and kids, the positive aspects of some people that I know, experiences in life and the general sense of being fortunate to always want to make something of myself.

What you would tell someone considering a career in Human Services: 

Go for it. This career field is broad. You are definitely going to find your niche and make a positive impact in someone’s life.

Anne McInnes 

MSW from Simmons College (now University).

Years working as a service coordinator at CHA properties: 3 Years 

Why did you become a Social Worker?  

Since I was in the 9th Grade, I have always been involved in humanity and social service work. As I got older, I realized there are jobs and career opportunities in the work I was already doing. Being a social worker also allows me more opportunities in a field that I enjoy. 

What is your favorite part about the job?  

My favorite part about being a Service Coordinator for residents is no two days are the same. Each day is unpredictable. 

One person who inspired you to get to where you are today: 

My Paternal grandmother inspired me to get where I am. I was born on her birthday, and though she passed away decades ago, I feel her spirit with me. She was a single Mom and so I am. Her “never give-up” attitude, resourcefulness and tenacity are a few traits that I admire most about her and make me who I am today. 

What you would tell someone considering a career in Human Services:  

Being a social worker is rewarding and at times traumatizing. Humans and the world are both complicated matters. If one is lucky, you will hear about the good, bad, ugly, heartwarming and everything in between on one person’s experience. 

Joumathe Theodore

MSW from Wheelock College.

Years working as a service coordinator at CHA properties: 3 Years

Why did you become a Social Worker?

I became a social worker because I’ve always enjoyed helping others since I was young, and it gave me joy.

What is your favorite part about the job?

My favorite part about my job is being there and supporting my residents during times of need.

One person who inspired you to get to where you are today:  

We are blessed to be a blessing to others. I give praise to God Almighty for inspiring and blessing me to be where I am today.  

What you would tell someone considering a career in Human Services:

As a social worker, you will get to make positive impact on people’s lives. It’s not an easy field, but it’s worth it.

Lissa Jimenez

BA in Psychology from Saint Anselm College.

Years working as a service coordinator at CHA properties: 7 Months

Why did you become a Service Coordinator? 

From a young age, I have always wanted to help others. My first job in high school was working as a camp counselor. While in college, I volunteered at a children’s home in Honduras for two summers. It was an amazing and rewarding experience. These experiences helped me realize how much I enjoy helping others.

What is your favorite part about the job? 

I enjoy connecting with tenants and helping to make their day a little easier.

One person who inspired you to get to where you are today: 

For me there are two people that inspire me every day; my mother, and my older sister. They are both strong, caring, and resilient. They always encourage me to be my best self and to do what makes me happy.

What you would tell someone considering a career in Human Services: 

Do it. You will have the chance to make a positive impact by helping others.