Staff Spotlight: James Li, AlmaVia of San Francisco

Our 2014 Heart of Gold award winner goes above and beyond.

As a Transportation Specialist, James Li drives residents to appointments and activities. But, he does so much more. James is best known at this community for going above and beyond for the community’s residents, and he is the esteemed recipient of the 2014 Heart of Gold award for AlmaVia of San Francisco.

“James is very dependable, organized and willing to help in every way he can,” says Allison Zalko, Life Enrichment Director at AlmaVia of San Francisco. “He is dedicated to AlmaVia and genuinely cares about our residents and the community.”

Helping AlmaVia Residents Get Around San Francisco
Li’s main responsibilities involve coordinating the transportation of residents to medical appointments and getting residents to and from scheduled activities outside the community. During his downtime, Li helps with errands for residents or staff members in other departments. He sometimes helps residents fix problems with their electronics, and one day, he received an unusual request.

“One of our resident council members used to be a civil rights activist,” says Li. “And now, even in retirement, he still believes those things really matter.”

The resident wanted to voice his opinion on the approval of an upcoming San Francisco Presidio-area development project, but he wasn’t familiar with using email.

“He found the email address of the politician’s office and wanted to write a letter,” says Li. “So I assisted in that and then with the email conversation that went back and forth.”

Through this ability to voice his opinion on an important subject, the resident gained a sense of accomplishment by doing what he loved—being an advocate for issues in the community.

Five Years With Elder Care Alliance
Acts of kindness like this coupled with a strong work ethic, commitment to the team and genuine connections with residents and employees helped Li earn the Heart of Gold award. To mark the occasion, AlmaVia of San Francisco hosted a celebratory bash with both employees and residents.

Li recently gained another point of pride within the Elder Care Alliance ranks by reaching his five-year anniversary as a staff member in February. AlmaVia prides itself on the longevity of its staff and the consistency this provides for residents. Li is a great example of the dedication of the community staff. He first joined the community for a short, weekend stint to relieve the front desk when a staff member left to attend school. However, he quickly realized working at the senior living community was more fulfilling than his previous jobs.

“I tried it out and I got a sense of accomplishment and feeling in myself that I’m helping out and making a difference here,” he says. Li is an example of what Elder Care Alliance strives for—employees with a sense of purpose and passion for the work they do.

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