REDDING, Conn.—Meadow Ridge (MeadowRidge.com), a Benchmark continuing care retirement community (CCRC), has announced the winners of its 2021 scholarship fund. A total of $135,000 has been distributed to 27 Meadow Ridge associates or their children to help them pursue degrees, certifications or further their studies at 18 different public and private educational institutions throughout New England and beyond.
Thanks to the scholarship program, several associates will be able to pursue education, and eventually work, within other Meadow Ridge departments. A number of dining associates are exploring careers as an activities director, in nursing, accounting or expanding their knowledge of health or psychology. In addition, several associates at Ridge Crest, Meadow Ridge’s skilled nursing and rehabilitation center, will use the funds to achieve advanced nursing degrees.
“We have an incredible team of associates who not only work tirelessly but are family to us,” said Jim Bacon, Meadow Ridge resident and chair of the scholarship finance committee. “Being able to help in this way is important to us because, without these funds, many of the recipients would not be able to achieve their goals.”
Stefanny Florez of Norwalk, Conn., is one of many Meadow Ridge associates who have benefitted from the Fund in the past. Florez has worked at the community for 17 years after immigrating from Medellin, Colombia. She began as a server for independent living and worked her way up within the department. In 2019, Ridge Crest at Meadow Ridge’s Certified Dietary Manager retired, and the position became available. The scholarship funded the education Flores needed to step into the role.
“I wouldn’t have been able to go back to school if it wasn’t for the scholarship,” said Florez who loves her new role within Meadow Ridge’s skilled nursing and rehabilitation center. “Some of my residents can’t always communicate due to health issues. Being able to creatively problem-solve, so they get the nutrition they need, is incredibly gratifying.”
In 2004, Meadow Ridge residents established the Meadow Ridge Annual Scholarship Fund to support the career advancement of the over 275 associates and their families. The Fund is underwritten almost entirely by residents. Since its creation more than 15 years ago, the amount awarded annually in scholarships has risen from $4,000 to, in recent years, more than $100,000.
“Few retirement communities have resident-created programs like this, so we’re very fortunate this is an option for our associates in addition to the many opportunities and ample recognitions provided by Benchmark,” said Chris Barstein, campus executive director of Meadow Ridge. “Every year, our residents work diligently to raise funds, solicit applications, vet and select recipients and more. Our residents are incredibly passionate about this program, and we look forward to working with them to help grow it.”
About Meadow Ridge
Managed by Benchmark Senior Living, Meadow Ridge in Redding, Conn., is one of Connecticut’s most comprehensive continuing care retirement communities (CCRC) with 136 acres and 415 apartment homes offering independent living, assisted living and award-winning skilled nursing and rehabilitation. The community’s new Mind & Memory Care for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia is expected to open in 2022. For more information, visit MeadowRidge.com.
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