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Ochoa appreciates work environment, learns practical life skills

Addison Schultz | The Feather Online

Ochoa serves in the dining hall at Holiday Retirement, carrying baggage and serving meals to residents.

Students all over high school campuses find jobs at fast food restaurants, grocery stores, and animal shelters to earn money and gain work experience. Rather than pursuing the usual route, senior Alina Ochoa chose to seek work at Holiday Retirement Home

Ochoa works as a server at Holiday, serving food at mealtimes and helping to carry any belongings for the residents. Besides learning life skills, Ochoa gains friendships and work experience.

“I love working at Holiday because I love helping the elderly and seeing their big smiles and how happy they are,” Ochoa said. “Having conversations with them and listening to their stories is always a fun part of the job. I thought this job would be a good experience, especially learning how to have manners and patience with the seniors.”

The appeal to high school jobs grows as students mature and require work experience, income, and independence. According to Prep Scholar, high school jobs aid students in developing time management, an understanding of their interests, and college applications.

In the following podcast, Alina Ochoa shares stories and experiences at Holiday Retirement.

Former hostess at the The Windham, FC alumni Marissa Parker, ‘17, faced many joys and challenges working with seniors. Gaining patience and perseverance, Parker’s experience in the retirement community helped her grow socially and develop new friendships.

“My favorite part of working at the Windham was interacting with the residents,” Parker said. “Overtime my relationships with them grew and it was like I had 200 more grandparents. The main challenge I faced was learning to be calm and patient during busy times.

“I have become a more social person and I learned how to better interact with all of the residents and my coworkers,” Parker continued. “I really enjoyed that as my first job and it opened my eyes to how amazing senior citizens are.”

In the following tweet, Holiday Retirement offers multiple ways to volunteer in your community.

Working in retirement communities not only provides friendships, but a chance to learn from the previous generation. Through conversation and service, students working with seniors gain perspective and the opportunity to impact a group of people that lived before them.

Addison Schultz | The Feather Online

Ochoa serves the seniors at Holiday, serving food during mealtimes or assisting them in carrying personal belongings.

Business office manager Debra Yerger has spent 32 years serving the residents at Holiday and taking care of office duties. Overseeing the servers and staff, Yerger guides her team to make Holiday a comfortable place for seniors.

“I believe that as high school students pursue jobs, it teaches them responsibility,” Yerger said. “I have seen my student employees here at Holiday become more secure of themselves and gain confidence in their abilities. Whether serving, housekeeping, or doing dishes, we work as a team and help where we’re needed.”

After six months of working at Holiday, Ochoa has learned patience and problem-solving skills. As problems arise, she meets them with the confidence gained from previous challenges and issues.

“Working with elderly can be difficult because they have hearing loss and some of them have memory loss and they forget what they order,” Ochoa said. “But as I grow every day I learn how to deal with others when problems occur and I have gained friendships with some elderly which I will cherish.”

Whether helping someone with a bag or serving a table during mealtime, Ochoa uses her job to benefit the residents of Holiday Retirement. As she moves on to college in the fall, Ochoa hopes her experiences will prepare her for challenges and opportunities in her future career.

For more articles, read Editorial: Role of student leadership or Feather continues to compete, looks to engage with community events.

Addison Schultz can be reached via email and via Twitter.

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