This month, Tanya Kutukdjian, EngAGE Programs Assistant at Park Plaza Senior Apartments in North Hollywood, CA, shines the Resident Spotlight on Heather.
I did not have the pleasure of meeting Heather earlier on, because she doesn’t participate in social events. She says she participates in Yoga, because it is quiet and does not require socializing. Heather is very sweet, with a warm smile on her face every time I see her, but she says she is embarrassed to mingle with others because of her accent.
The first time I finally met Heather was a month ago when she was getting her mail, and our Storytelling Group flyer caught her eye. We proceeded to chat about the group and I encouraged Heather to come by and check it out. She said she would do her best.
When I didn’t see her at the next class, I thought I had lost her interest, but she proved me wrong when she showed up to our second Storytelling Group of the month. She was hesitant to participate, but hung out nearby. As she watched other residents tell their stories, she realized her accent was not such an obstacle after all. She came and sat with Sarah and me while another resident told her story.
At first, Heather said she would briefly discuss the story prompt, as she was still not feeling comfortable with her language skills. But, once she started telling her story, she felt more comfortable and she ended up surprising herself with how well she could tell the story and maintain our interest.
She was so happy by the end of her story, she couldn’t stop smiling and saying how she came to the group prepared to be a passive participant, and she was so shocked she opened up and shared so much! We were all grateful for Heather’s courage to speak up and enjoyed her story very much. With the confidence and comfort she established, we hope she becomes a regular at our social events and groups.
~ Tanya Kutukdjian, EngAGE Programs Assistant
~ Elizabeth Sampson, Regional Programs Director