Todd: His guitar opened the door to a house he calls home.
Todd will tell you; everyone has to work. And at 35 years old, he had done his share. But the day he walked into American House Sterling Meadows, played guitar and talked to the residents, that was the day he realized he wanted more than just a job. He wanted to fulfill his potential. Not only to give, but to gain something more for himself.
A lot of the residents he spoke to were vets, just like him. A history buff, he listened to stories, shared ideas. Todd was enlisted into the United States Marine Corps in December 1994. Stationed officially at Camp Lejeune, NC, he received orders to 5th Battalion, 10th Marines.
“The lessons you learn about working together in tough conditions stay with you forever. You learn to work with people you may not like or agree with to get things done. You learn about cultures that you may have not previously been exposed to. You are encouraged to show initiative and lead by example always. I am honored to meet so many other Marines, and veterans everywhere I go. It's a title that means a lot to me to this very day,” explained Todd.
Thinking back on the day American House opened the door, offering him an entry level job, fills Todd with pride. As does the fact that 10 years later, he is still guided by the same passion every day in his current role as Executive Director. Like his time in the military, Todd knows he is at his best when he is in service to others, “If you can come into a place where you work, where you use your talent and skills to help people, it's really a great feeling.”
As Todd says, “If you can come into a place where you work and basically use all your talents and skills to help people…that’s a great feeling.”
From day one, Todd embraced the community as his family, rising from server to cook. He learned quickly that what residents wanted was a friendly face at mealtime. He laughed with them, showed pictures of his kids. His enthusiasm caught the attention of the “front office” who offered him the chance to lead tours on nights and weekends. One night, a woman came in looking for an apartment for her Aunt Rose. Instinctively, he listened and understood; caregivers need guidance. He explained, this is what we do, and we do it so you don’t have to worry. They bonded, they hugged. She said, “I was supposed to find you!” Soon enough, Aunt Rose moved in.
“It was my first tour, and I was hooked,” Todd says.
He learned to love meeting people on tours, learning as much as he could about them so he could assure them that our goal is to meet all your needs and become part of your extended family.
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He says, “It’s important to help them understand that their loved ones have things they can contribute and share with other residents. They can have an impact on the community.” Todd has an empathetic approach, “Our residents have the same experiences that we do, they are just like us. They just have different needs and wants, and if you’re tuned into that and willing to work and apply yourself, you can have an impact on their lives every day.”
By finding out what people like to do, he and his team help bring residents together. “When someone moves in and makes a couple friends…it’s a game-changer! It becomes more than just a place to live. It’s a community, with privacy when you want, friends down the hall and the ability to engage on your terms.” He continues, “We offer an experience that is more proactive for people, to do meaningful things and find ways to spend their time. Here, people tend to flourish, come out of their shells and find hidden talents.”
After 10 years, Todd is still amazed by what he encounters every day, “It’s as simple as finding out for themselves that they have something to contribute to the community…and if you’ve never seen that, it’s really something to see. “
Todd’s is a story of discovery. Of fulfilling potential to impact the lives of others in a positive way, and understanding that happiness matters to everyone…especially yourself.
We all have a story. A story that taught us something, changed us and helped define who we are. At American House, your next chapter is waiting to be written. We’re here to help you write it. Your way.
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