Gene Clements’ Avalon Story
Just a few words from the perspective of an employee, better known as a Graveyard Direct Care staff member. I have been on the staff at Avalon since July 2003, taking a brief LOA returning six months later to join the Graveyard shift. How could I possibly stay in the same position seeing the clients for a brief time before tucking them into bed, then emptying garbage cans, laundering sheets and towels to name a few odd jobs.
I'm not a remarkable person, just a senior citizen who has been involved with social services for the greater part of her life. The key is that I have been in other peoples' lives all my life. That's what keeps me wanting to interact with the most unlikely units of society...teenage girls! I have raised two girls of my own. They are now in their fifties, and were never angels as teenagers. The challenges of those years was not for the faint of heart. It's the light at the end of the tunnel that is the goal together with the journey to reach that goal that has always been my personal achievement.
The clients arrive at Avalon, they say farewell to their parents and they are left with strangers. They are tired from their journey and time changes don't help. They are thrown in with a group of their peers who are struggling with various stage of recovery. Then the sun goes down, it's dark, it's lonely, and they are in a strange place with a whole bunch of women for the most part who order them around, (teenagers hate that), and make them EAT!!! That's where I come in. Hi I'm Gene, I'm here to keep you safe tonight, and to take care of anything you need that is within my power and job description.
The relationship begins. Generally, I'm hated for an indeterminate time. I'm not fond of this part, but, the veil lifts, and hate turns to love. My family is their family; my pets are theirs also. Intimate knowledge is always a nono: who wants to know any intimate knowledge of an old lady. The nearest thing to that is my tattoo. As a scuba diver a tattooed turtle is a must! I recognize their birthdays and some holidays with cards. A farewell card and small gift awaits those who graduate.
Okay, you've guessed it. It's about me, staying involved with difficult clients, who knows what the new day will bring, and keeping my brain active with acceptable solutions. I can't win them all, but I certainly try to help the clients with problem solving, (not therapy) and learning that they MAY go to the bathroom.
That's why I stay. Benita, you and I will both know when it's time for me to hang back my key.
- Gene C, Graveyard