Blog

A Story from Our Amanda the Panda Program: Madee Carder

Madee Carder almost didn't attend the class that would change her life. Like many grief support professionals, she took the scenic route on her journey to her life's passion, and ultimately, her role at EveryStep's Grief & Loss Services' Amanda the Panda program. "I have always known that I wanted to work with children and adolescents. So I actually started out going to school as an elementary education major," Carder explained. When a representative from Hamilton's Funeral home visited her children's literature class to talk about their grief and loss program, Carder was surprised to learn that such programs for children even existed. "The next day I was in my advisor's office changing my major [to] Child, Adult and Family Services" she recalled.

A Story from Our Hospice Houses: Dena Williams

Death altered every aspect of Dena Williams' life. "Someone said it's life altering, and it really is. It doesn't matter how old you are. I'm 50 and I can't imagine anything harder ever happening to me than losing my parents," she explained while reminiscing about her late-father's time at EveryStep's Kavanagh House on 56th Street. "It's very surreal, it's very surreal." Clyde Williams married Dena's mother when Dena was eight-years old. He raised her, along with her two brothers until they were old enough to live on their own. Even then, he was never far, living only a short distance away from where Dena settled down.

A Story from Our Hospice Program: Andrea Blake

Andrea Blake always wanted to be a nurse. In high school, while her peers were pursuing summer jobs at the mall or restaurants, she was working at an assisted living home. After graduation, she began working toward a bachelor's degree in nursing. After moving to the East Coast, Blake began work at a teaching hospital on a unit dedicated to infectious disease and general medicine. After a bit of encouragement from a mentor, she continued her education, seeking a master's degree in nursing. "There's so much hands-on learning that you continue to do after graduating and in your early years of nursing.I felt I couldn't stop working while starting my graduate studies," she recalls of furthering her education.

Celebrating & Supporting Family Caregivers

Honoring family caregivers is a tradition that began in the mid-1990s. In his 2012 presidential proclamation of November as National Family Caregivers Month, President Barack Obama stated: "Across America, daughters and sons balance the work of caring for aging parents with the demands of their careers and raising their own children. Spouses and partners become caregivers to the ones they love even as they navigate their own health challenges.All of them give selflessly to bring comfort, social engagement, and stability to those they love. National Family Caregivers Month is a time to reflect on the compassion and dedication that family caregivers embody every day."