JCHC graduates employees from training program

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Photo Courtesy of JCHC
The JCHC’s first graduating class from its LITE leadership training program enjoy a group toast and dessert at their celebratory luncheon. Seated from left are Lilly Medina, McKenzie Walsh, Carolyn Schonthal and Val Malov; standing from left are Keirol Sandi, Victoria Konadu, Yakima Williams, Christian Viera and Alecia Cotton.

WEST ORANGE, NJ — Twice a month for six months, 11 frontline employees of the Jewish Community Housing Corporation of Metropolitan New Jersey, came together to experience LITE — Leadership in Training Experience.

The hands-on course, designed to develop leadership skills and empower participants to make more positive decisions in the workplace, was designed by Laurie Loughney, chief operating officer of the JCHC, with implementation assistance by Emma Reading, director of human resources.

Over the course of the six months, the staff members — representing nursing, facilities, security, activities, dining and administration departments of the nonprofit organization — learned skills that will empower them to create, in Loughney’s words, “a transformational model of care in our senior living communities.”

“With their completion of the LITE program, these employees, who have direct contact with residents, will take ownership in mentoring their co-workers, have a voice in problem-solving, and develop creative ways to fulfill our mission of providing quality care for our seniors,” Loughney said in a press release.

Given the success of this pilot program, Loughney said the course will be offered again in the fall.

The graduates, who work at the JCHC’s senior living communities in West Orange, South Orange and Whippany, were celebrated with an elegant candlelight luncheon on May 24 at the Lester Senior Housing Community in Whippany; regional directors, site managers and administrators, trustees and CEO Harold Colton-Max were also in attendance.

The extensive curriculum included modules on: ethics and how ethical issues affect the long-term care environment; values and the importance of having a personal mission statement; cultural diversity; the aging process, physical changes and recognizing potential problems; how to improve communication skills with residents, their families and co-workers; assisted living and long-term care goals; complementary pain management and other modalities; dementia care and its various components; and how to develop stronger trust and collaboration, building teamwork and decision-making.

After each training session, participants practiced the skills and lessons on the job, and shared the information gained with their managers and co-workers.