Kat Wins the Daisy Award for National Activity Professionals Week!
Long before Kat was handed an award for her excellence as the Life Enrichment Director at American House Riverview, she was a kid enjoying college and working in a bookstore. Then something clicked when this English major took a part-time position as an activity assistant at a senior living community. “It was one of those rare aha-moments,” she said. What was meant to provide a little extra income turned into a lifelong passion for Kat. Through the National Council for Activity Professionals, Kat embarked on a year-long program to earn her Directors Certification, which required passing a national exam and maintaining certification with continued education.
The root of her success is simply liking the people she is with every day. Growing up with a mother who served seniors through nursing, Kat tagged along, helping with bingo and socializing, “I was always very comfortable around seniors.” From lunches in the downriver area to larger outings, like a day aboard the Princess Cruise on the Detroit River, Kat loves getting out with the residents. “I’m not afraid to try something new!” In fact, residents are in awe of her skills; pulling the American House bus right up to the Comerica Park entrance for pick-up after securing several wheelchairs and walkers. “They can’t believe how quickly I Jenga everything into the bus!”
With her five-year tenure as LED at American House Riverview, Kat contends she loves the outings, but her favorite thing is setting up large, themed events. “Any kind of event that has a good theme, that’s my jam,” she said. The current Explore More program, called Let Us Entertain You, offers monthly themes such as Music of Your Life and Timeless Cinema.
Surprise! You won!
In fact, it was the decorations for February’s Television Classics that served as the ploy for getting Kat into the dining room for her surprise Daisy Award presentation. “Our Executive Director, Terra, said ‘You’ve got to see these Love Boat decorations I found!’ and led me into the dining room.” She entered to an eruption of applause from out-of-town corporate leadership, residents and fellow team members. “It was so surprising. I was very taken aback, in a good way, of course.” The Daisy Award is given out annually during National Activity Professionals Week to one LED who exhibits performance excellence. Its first recipient, Daisy, the very dedicated and motived LED at American House Fort Meyers, became the award’s honored namesake.
Following in the footsteps of Daisy, Kat is a proven leader. She maintains constant communication with all American House LEDs and has monthly meetings with those in her region. Kat also created and leads another monthly brainstorming group, where she shares her talent for large, themed events to inspire creativity in others.
At the awards ceremony, Executive Director Terra summed up Kat perfectly, saying, “You are the heart of our community. You do such a good job taking care of our residents. Meetings with you are such a blast, because we start out with a tiny idea, and you blow it up into a real thing. You do such a good job of leading us. Kat is the boss, and we are all her employees!”
More to read
Let’s find your community
Maintaining a home and your health can become a challenge as you age. American House provides the care, amenities and services that make life easier. Find out how American House can help you live life to its fullest.