What sticks out as a special memory from over 10 years of working here?
The Eclipse Party of 2017. Building 40 opened in late 2016. The staff had worked hard to establish the community’s culture, fill apartments, and navigate our construction related issues. It had been a difficult prior 12 months and we were gearing up for Building 50’s opening, which would happen later that year. The Eclipse Party was our first big celebration with the residents and happened on August 21st. I remember the grass being brittle and the air very warm and dry as we sat on the west side of Building 40. We obtained eclipse glasses for the residents, which was a minor miracle, and everyone gathered on the lawn waiting for the moon to make its show. The event was a major success and the first of many summer celebrations.
What does 10 years of working here mean to you?
After graduating from grad school, I hopped around from agency to agency for 10 years and worked in a wide variety of human services fields. I wasn’t happy at my prior job because I didn’t feel I was helping. I prayed deeply for guidance. I was in search of a job that would allow me to truly help people and stay at long term. Givens was that opportunity which has meant a great deal to my family.
Describe Givens Gerber Park in 10 words:
“Home is the comfiest place to be.” – Winnie the Pooh
What makes this community unique?
It is personal relationships and the community’s culture that make living at a Givens community special. HUD’s minimum requirement that housing be “safe, sanitary, and decent” and the staff works hard to far exceed that baseline. It is really easy to take for granted the extremely special when you are immersed in it. I was certainly guilty of doing that during my time as Community Manager. I’ve since been afforded the ability to view our community through a broader lens which has allowed me to appreciate it at a deeper level.
What roles within the organization have you held? What does your current role look like?
I started as the Givens Estates HUD Coordinator. I held the role until mid-2016, when I officially became the Givens Gerber Park Community Manager. In 2021, Givens received a capacity grant to build more affordable senior housing from the Dogwood Health Trust. I was very interested in trying to develop new communities and applied for the role. My current position is Project Development Coordinator.
What do the next 10 years look like?
Givens is on the precipice of tremendous growth, especially with affordable housing. In the next decade, I believe we will have at least 10 additional affordable senior communities within a two-hour radius in Asheville. I foresee us having technological improvements and support that will increase residents’ ability to stay in their home even longer, rather than going to a nursing facility. At the end of the day, personal connections will continue to be most important in making a Givens community special.