After nearly four decades, rec. director Carol White prepares for retirement
By Kristian Partington
One of the greatest attributes of Barrie’s Coleman Care Centre is the dedication of so many team members, some of whom count their commitment to service at the small home in decades, not years.
Carol White, the director of recreation, is just such a woman. She began working with Coleman nearly 40 years ago and, from her early role as a nurse’s assistant to her current position as a central pillar in the village’s leadership team, she’s always maintained a deep commitment to the residents she supports and the team members she works alongside.
Now the team, residents and families are preparing to say goodbye to Carol as she officially steps into retirement on Sept. 25.
“When we look at our little home, we’re small . . . and we’ve got a lot of long-term team members,” Rita says. “We’re a tight-knit group.”
Carol has always been one of the threads that kept that group tight and over the years, she has connected with countless residents who look upon the team as family. Rita points out that the home has always served adults with developmental disabilities and in many cases, blood family is not around.
“We become their family,” Rita says, and Carol was like the matriarch at the head whose attention to the details of daily life meant that no celebration – large or small – ever went unrecognized. The small details, in many ways, are what bring a home to life and offer a true sense of comfort to those who live and work there.
“The organization of all the small details and keeping us all in line, I think honestly that’s her strongest suit,” Rita says, “and she’s got a great sense of humour – she laughs a lot.”
Carol’s generous spirit and sense of optimism stand out when vice-president of support office services Christy Parsons reflects on the time she worked with Carol, especially during the period of transition five years ago when Coleman became part of the larger Schlegel Villages organization.
“Carol was a tremendous support in helping Coleman transition into the Schlegel family,” says Christy, who was the organization’s recreation and community partnerships consultant at the time.
“Her positivity, expertise and patience has been much appreciated by the team, particularly for our residents and family members and she has generously shared her experience over the years in supporting our younger adult residents with the strong focus of enhancing the overall well being for each individual.”
After nearly 40 years, Carol’s imprint is certainly left upon the foundation of Coleman Care Centre and her dedication to the family it houses will be an example to carry on well into the future. She’ll certainly be missed as the Schlegel family wishes her well in her retirement.