FTJ Director of Philanthropy is Awarded Compassionate Heart Award

Shelley and Joy

We are pleased to announce that Shelley Harris, FTJ Director of Philanthropy, was presented with the Compassionate Heart Award on June 15th at the LeadingAge Washington annual conference in Spokane, Washington.  This award recognizes an individual who serves as a model of commitment to compassionate care.  The criteria includes steadfast commitment “above and beyond the call of duty” to the elderly; specific acts to enhance and enrich the lives of aging persons; exceptional service to a member community, its residents and/or the elderly population in the community; and outstanding treatment of the whole person.

Commitment to Compassionate Care

“This nomination paints a picture of someone who truly seeks to meet the needs of each resident and who values the whole person,” announces Glen Melin, LeadingAge Washington Board of Directors Immediate Past Chair and Awards of Excellence Committee Chairperson.  “Caregiving is a multifaceted effort and a person can be an excellent provider of care without holding an NAC license.  Shelley models the traits all of us would want to see in the team members who are caring for us or a loved one, regardless of their job title.  These include commitment to compassionate care, hospitality, and enhancing the lives of aging persons and the elderly population.  A common theme in all our award winners is a level of passion that drives them to go ‘above and beyond the call of duty,’ and the nomination describes many ‘above and beyond’ examples of Shelley finding out what brings meaning and joy to individual residents and going out of her way to make everyone feel as if they are family and welcome.”

Philanthropy Efforts and So Much More

“Every day I work with Shelley I am amazed by her kindness to every single resident,” comments Melody Federer, Philanthropy Coordinator.  “She makes everyone feel as if they are family.  She creates wonderful ideas to raise money for Franke Tobey Jones, and not only our campus.  She has single-handedly gone out of her way to shine light on Point Defiance ~ Ruston Senior Center which Franke Tobey Jones operates.  Although they receive weekly donations of bread and other packaged goods, Shelley immediately saw the need for more and has orchestrated philanthropy efforts throughout the year with FTJ residents and volunteers to bring fresh fruit, soups, crackers, Christmas presents, Easter bags, Valentines treats and so much more to the participants at the Senior Center.  Moreover, she makes sure to bring flowers, cards, chocolates and favorite beverages to FTJ residents on their birthday and anniversaries.  She also makes sure to bring flowers to anyone who has had a loved one pass away.”

Meaningful Connections

“Shelley has only been with FTJ a few years and has really made a difference, especially during the pandemic,” says Michelle Olafson, FTJ Director of Admissions and Resident Relations.  “Aside from the food donations for the Senior Center throughout the year, Shelley took an idea from one of our staff and a resident who wanted to make a difference and created the Celebration of Life Circle.  Through her FTJ connections, she knew a resident for whom this idea might just be the perfect opportunity to honor her family, and she was right.  This resident jumped at the chance to create such a meaningful way to not only honor her family, but to also honor all the FTJ residents and family members.  Shelley connected this resident with Tom Torrens, a nationally acclaimed sculptor who resides in Gig Harbor, and the amazing idea quickly became a reality.  Now, once a month we have a special gathering place for residents, family members and FTJ team members to honor those residents that have passed that month.  The Celebration of Life Circle is also used to pay tribute to world events, special occasions and more.  It gives us all an opportunity to come together as a family in those times that really matter to all of us.  Shelley is one of those people whom you would want in your retirement community because she is funny, kind and you know you can count on her to help.”

Amazingly Creative and Giving

“I have worked with Shelley since she arrived at FTJ and am always amazed by the number of ideas she not only comes up with but executes,” exudes Kate Gray, Point Defiance ~ Rutson Senior Center Director.  “She has made her presence known and felt by every senior at the Pt. Defiance~Ruston Senior Center and some in the community.  During the pandemic, she helped read books, which were video recorded and put on Facebook, YouTube, and the FTJ website.  She heralded the Senior Center at FTJ to create their very own food program, contributing to the nutrition program at the Center.  She brought joy to the seniors when she arranged for a Girl Scout Troop to come and interact with our participants and hand out Girl Scout cookies during a Strength and Balance class.  It was she who solicited volunteers to pack goodie bags at all the holidays, making them feel special.  She arranged for a church group to bring all type of items, such as food, hygiene items and more.  She has researched and solicited more grants than we have ever had.  Her energy is endless and her heart infinite.  She has affected the participants at the Senior Center in ways they, nor I, will ever forget.”

Making a Difference In the Lives of Seniors

“It is a real honor and pleasure to have Shelley at Franke Tobey Jones,” says Christine Hall FTJ Sr. Director of Marketing and PR.  “She is completely sincere, down to earth and truly cares for each and every person whether it be a resident, family member or team member.  She is the epitome of the FTJ Promise ‘To Make Every Day Meaningful ~ To make a difference in the lives of my residents, my team members and myself’  Not a day goes by when Shelley is not making plans to raise money for the good of seniors; writing cards to celebrate a resident’s birthday, to sympathize a passing or congratulate an anniversary; thinking of ways to make someone’s day special; creating ways to honor our amazing residents; bringing flowers from her garden to brighten someone’s day; and so much more.  Our residents love Shelley and respond in a flash to either donate money and/or time when Shelley puts out a request.  Within days her office is full of whatever the request was for and people to help make it all happen.  I know of no one who deserves this award more than Shelley.” 

About Leading Age Washington

LeadingAge Washington represents the interests of not-for-profit and mission-driven organizations dedicated to improving the aging experience of over 50,000 older Washingtonians and their family members; whether in need of safe and affordable housing or healthcare offered in both community and licensed residential settings.  On behalf of our member organizations, they advocate for needed funding to support caring and housing for low-income seniors and advocate for sound policy that promotes a healthy and balanced care environment always with a constant eye towards quality improvement.

They educate member organizations on cutting-edge clinical care practices and changing regulations and advance innovative solutions to designed to meet the growing needs of an aging society. Through various member services programs, they help members use their resources efficiently through the group purchasing program and by insuring against and managing the risk of worker injuries.  They are one of 37 state partners with LeadingAge, a national association exclusively representing the interests of not-for-profit organizations that collectively touch the lives of over two million people every day. Together they are committed to excellence in each individual’s aging journey, providing the services and resources people need, when they need them, in the place they call home.

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