With more than 500 residents living at Lenbrook, there are a lot of life experiences available to learn from. That’s what Lenbrook’s Training and Development Specialist, Tammy Washington, hopes to share with the community’s associates and interns. “Can you imagine all that knowledge and understanding about life that’s within these walls?” asked Washington. “We’re hoping to unlock that vast treasure chest and offer the most incredible learning experiences.”
The effort is already underway with the Mentor Me Monday sessions where residents share their expertise and know how with Lenbrook associates. The most recent Mentor Me Monday featured Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Miller. Their daughter Cheryl Dixon shared their life story and also taught Lenbrook associates the Miller’s “7 Secrets to Saving Your Way to Success.”
Mr. and Mrs. Miller were married at the age of 19 and neither had a college degree. Mr. Miller began working at General Motors as a janitor making $0.97 per hour but worked his way up. He reminded his children that it’s not where you start, or what you make – rather it’s what you do with what you make. Mrs. Miller worked for a few years, but soon stopped to take care of the children – all six of them. For most of their lives they lived on one income and became great at saving. On one income they were able to save for a family vacation each year, send all their children to college, and retire at Lenbrook.
“The Mentor Me Mondays program benefits our associates and interns by giving them access to knowledge that’s not easy to find – it’s like a class they would have to pay for but even better,” said Washington. “While it’s a huge benefit for our associates, our residents also appreciate this opportunity. They have decades of experience about how to live a successful and meaningful life. Having the chance to share that knowledge and insight provides our residents with a sense of giving back and feeling useful.”
In addition to the Mentor Me Monday sessions, weekly one-on-one mentoring has been included into the Cristo Rey interns’ schedule ever since Lenbrook started its internship program with the high school three years ago. Each student intern is paired with a resident to get to know one another over lunch and talk about career and life choices. Both interns and residents alike benefit from these conversations and learn to bridge the generation gap to really understand each other – to the delight of those who participate.
“It’s these types of conversations that Lenbrook residents are encouraged to share – with the associates and interns who are eager to learn from their elders,” said Washington. “Each associate that attended the first Mentor Me Monday session was engaged and interested in learning the information but even more so at hearing the Millers story and how they lived their life. It helps our associates and interns to plan for success in their own lives.”