Caregiver Stories: Caring for my 1st Grade Teacher

Resident Care Associate, Donna, was surprised to learn that Helen, a resident she had been caring for was her 1st grade teacher!

I wasn’t putting two and two together. One day we were walking and talking and she said “oh, when I was a teacher” and I said “oh, where?” and she said, “EG Campbell School” and I said “oh my gosh, that’s where I went” that was when I finally put two and two together. 


Think back to elementary school, what do you remember? Maybe the really cool lunchbox your mom let you get, or chocolate milk from the carton for lunch?  What about your teachers?  Was there one who stands out, maybe they comforted and cared for you as you spent the first full day away from your parents, maybe they showed an amazing amount of care and patience as you learned to read and write, or always knew when you needed a little extra encouragement. For many students at Elwyn G Campbell School in New Bedford, our Autumn Glen resident, Helen, was that teacher!

It’s a funny coincidence when life reunites you with people from your past, even if it takes a minute to remember where you know them from. This is true for Autumn Glen resident care associate, Donna, and Autumn Glen resident, Helen. They had both been at Autumn Glen for about a year and a half before they realized Helen had been Donna’s 1st Grade teacher!

You can always find these two laughing together, reminiscing and reminding everyone around them of power of connection and the amazing impact a teacher leaves on a student’s life. The roles are slightly reversed now that they are no longer in the classroom. Donna works as a resident care associate providing personal care to residents at Autumn Glen and Helen continues to enjoy her retirement and spreading her positive attitude and caring nature to everyone at Autumn Glen.

We sat down with Helen and Donna to learn a little bit more about their personal connection and what it has meant to be able to spend this time together. As expected, the conversation was filled with kind hearted memories, jokes and lots and lots of laughter.

Here is what Donna and Helen had to share about their connection:

Donna: “Helen was my first-grade teacher at the EG Campbell School”
Helen: “Elwyn G Campbell”
Donna: “Yep, in 1978.  I was six years old, you were fresh out of college, right?”
Helen: “Correct” 

Donna: “What I love about Helen is what you see is what you get, this sweet lady was always the nicest, caring and sweetest lady ever. That’s why I remembered her so much.”
Helen: “My head is getting bigger and bigger…and I already had a big head.”
Donna: “There was another first-grade teacher, Miss Sancusy, who is still very good friends with Helen and comes to pick her up. We always get a little reunion when she comes by and we  have our conversations and talk about first-grade and the EG Campbell school.”
Helen: “She’s just a hot ticket.” 

Donna: “Anything you would like to add, young lady?”
Helen: “I just think you’re wonderful.
Donna: “Well, I think you’re wonderful, that’s why we’re here together.”
Helen: “Nothing like it. That’s what I say.”  

Donna: “How long did you teach at EG Campbell School, Helen? 40 something years? You were fresh out of college and you retired there too, right?”
Helen: “Correct”
Donna: “I have three friends, all of them sisters who also had Helen as a teacher. When I told them, they were so excited and said how Helen touched their hearts too and they will never forget her. Helen has touched a lot of lives.”
Helen: “Oh yes, it was wonderful. It still is wonderful connecting with students.”
Donna: “And you’re wonderful, who would’ve thought we’d be reunited after all these years?”
Helen: “We get to tell these stories about each other.” 

Donna: “Funny story, Helen was here about a year and a half, and I didn’t even realize who she was. I wasn’t putting two and two together. One day we were walking and talking and she said “oh, when I was a teacher” and I said “oh, where?” and she said, “EG Campbell school” and I said “oh my gosh, that’s where I went” that was when I finally put two and two together. Now I get to drive her crazy and tell everyone our story that comes through the door, don’t I? She loves it.”
Helen: “She gets me in trouble, she doesn’t miss a beat.”
Donna: “I do not, and you don’t miss a beat either –  especially when I’m off work. When I have one day off she asks me, “where have you been?”  I say, “I was only off for one day”.
Helen: “Right.”
Donna: “You’re always looking for me aren’t ya?”
Helen: “Mhm because you’re special. Let’s have a fight, who’s more special? You or me?

One of the best parts about life in a senior living community are the connections that happen between the residents and the associates who care for them. It could be a rekindled connection like Donna and Helen, or a current CNA who is caring for her first mentor, read Vanessa’s story here. Those connections make our communities feel like home for everyone who lives, visits and works at them.

We love learning about the connections that happen at our communities. Check out these stories to learn about a few more:
The Best Friendships are Found Here
Finding Friendship at any Age

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Working at a Northbridge senior living community

If you are considering a career in senior living, we hope you’ll consider one of our communities. Our team of associates makes a meaningful difference in the lives of our residents, every day. Because of that, we treat our team like family and we’re happy to offer:

  • Competitive Pay
  • Flexible Schedules
  • Direct Deposit
  • Vacation & Personal Days
  • Paid Holidays & Sick Time
  • Your Birthday Off
  • Health Insurance to Qualified Associates
  • 401k Company Match
  • Tuition Reimbursement
  • Ongoing Education
  • Associate Appreciation

View our careers website today to view open positions, what a day working at Northbridge is like, and why our associates love to work here.

As a New England senior living company, we pride ourselves in being the local choice for families in need of assisted living or memory care. We look to our teams of associates to truly make our communities home for our residents. Whether that’s a helping hand or a moment to listen to a story, our associates are dedicated and compassionate. With 19 communities in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, we hope you’ll find your home here too. If you already love what you do, and want to love where you work, apply now! We look forward to meeting you.

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