“Every Life is Beautiful – an Introduction to Santa Teresita’s Neighborhood of Care Program”

“Every person is made in the image and likeness of God. Every life is beautiful.” This is the key principle of Santa Teresita’s Neighborhood of CARE program, which is a yearly series of 10 classes taught by the Carmelite Sisters to all of the staff members in order to share the underlying spirit of service to our residents. This underlying spirit is Love.

Love permeates all aspects of the care that we strive to provide at Santa Teresita. We understand that there is an urgent need to reaffirm the dignity of every human person, especially our elderly, so that all will know that they are loved and will always be loved regardless of their physical condition, age, or mental awareness. Whether the person is a child who is only a few days old or a teenager whose goals and aspirations have no limits or an elderly person whose journey on this earth is nearing an end, each and every person longs for and deserves to be loved unconditionally.

At Santa Teresita, we understand this existential reality of the necessity of love. We also understand the importance of providing an environment for our residents that is truly based on mutual care and respect. The implementation of the CARE program has allowed us to continue to share and affirm this mission of love to all of our staff members, regardless of their previous training and education. Through these classes, we are continuing on the path of creating a life-giving Neighborhood of Care at Santa Teresita. We understand that the development of a new model of care for our beloved Seniors will require on-going dedication and training, and we are thankful that the CARE program has proved to be a source of this continuing formation.

The lessons in the CARE program communicate topics such as identifying and overcoming plagues of loneliness, helplessness and boredom that may affect the lives of the elderly, and the necessity of attending to their spiritual and emotional needs in addition to their physical needs. Therefore, the staff members from all departments understand the importance of placing the resident in the center and serving the whole person and their families. The CARE classes are unique, well designed, and include art projects, videos, music, field trips, and outdoor activities. Through the program, the staff has been able to look deeper into the truth that EVERY LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL, regardless of age.

The response of the staff members has been tremendously positive. We even heard one say that the classes are, “food for the soul.” The Neighborhood of CARE program is beginning to establish a common language and vision that staff can articulate and live, not just while at work, but in all dimensions of their lives. Overall, it is a way to promote the Gospel of Life; a culture of life and love!

Prayer used in CARE Program:

O God of tenderness and compassion, Your love guides us at every moment of our lives. We praise you for the gift of human life and especially for the promise of everlasting life. Watch over and protect those who care for the elderly. Give them a courageous and gentle spirit. Sustain them in their efforts to bring comfort, companionship, joy and healing. Make them ever more a radiant sign of Your transforming love. O Lord of life and Foundation of our hope, pour out your abundant blessings upon all who live, work and visit Santa Teresita. Amen.