Mercy employee Spotlight: Martha Valesco and Derielle Coleman

Team Members Spotlight on the Mercy Team

Each person who works at Elder Care Alliance (“ECA”) helps to create communities where people are empowered and engaged, providing environments that foster independence and joy. Advanced graphic design students from the TBD*  in-house design studio at California College of the Arts created a Celebrating Elder Caregivers campaign. The student project helps celebrate and honor ECA team members through an online platform that shares their stories.

Martha Velasco

I started at Mercy as a housekeeper –helping Julio wax the floors! Then, the Resident Care Director wanted me in her department, so they trained me, and I was able to stay. Later I offered to take residents to appointments after the driver resigned.

I was offered the position of driver, receptionist and medical records. Now, my role has changed to Driver and Life Enrichment. I get attached to our elders – I see them as my grandfather, grandmother. When I see their smiles, it makes me so happy. When I take them out, and they enjoy the trees and the flowers, it makes me happy. At first, I was nervous to do Life Enrichment groups, but now if you ask me anything, I’ll do it! When we went to the Art Gallery with our elders, we bonded, and it was like their dementia was gone.

Derielle Coleman

In January of 2015, I was enrolled in a humor psychology seminar at Holy Names University. A key element of this class was volunteer experience, which is what brought me to Mercy and Elder Care Alliance.

For an entire semester my professor, classmates and I volunteered by holding a Laughter Yoga workshop with elders in communities all around the Bay Area. Mercy quickly became my favorite community to visit, and before long, I had established relationships with several of the residents in memory care as well as the Memory Care Coordinator, Mindy Creson.

Before I knew it, the semester was over and not only was I graduating, but I was being offered a part-time gig with Mercy’s Life Enrichment department. A few months later, I gained a full-time position with Elder Care Alliance at Mercy Retirement & Care Center. That was two years ago, and I was 22.

The company culture and values drew me to ECA. I feel that the way we uphold the dignity and self-esteem of our residents is what sets our organization apart from other elder home facilities. Also, and most importantly, my residents are some of the most phenomenal people I’ve ever met. All of their unique backgrounds and personalities are what drives me to create the best experiences for them while they’re living at Mercy. I don’t only feel like an employee of Elder Care Alliance but also an advocate for the seniors who may feel lost or forgotten by the rest of society.

My favorite part of working in elder care has been fostering genuine relationships with our residents. The best part of my day is watching the elders gather for one of my programs. Knowing that they not only enjoy my programs but also look forward to seeing and checking in with me makes my heart so full.