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Cherry & Ashley: A Story of Compassion & Impact

On Wednesday, March 25th, Search Inc. staff members Cherry and Ashley began the first day of what will be effectively a six-week long shift at one of our residential sites. Search has made the decision to convert our homes into extended-shift (live-in) models wherever and whenever possible.

This is truly the safest staffing model; not allowing anyone from outside the home to come into contact with that site's residents or staff. We currently have 15 homes operating with a live-in model and anticipate moving another 5-10 homes to this model in the upcoming weeks.

Cherry began working at Search in January 2018. She was recently promoted to Lead DSP at our Mt Prospect Adult Learning site. Ashley is a QIDP at our Lincoln Square Adult Learning site, and began work at Search in November 2016.

in home cherry ashley

They both volunteered to take on this responsibility and between the two of them have been taking turns supporting our residents at this location 24 hours a day. Their dedication to serving others is all the more inspiring because two residents at the site they are working at have tested positive for COVID-19. As of March 31st, Search has had six staff and three residents test positive for COVID-19 for a total of nine cases. These nine cases have been limited to two CILA homes.   

Hospitals are not admitting positive cases of COVID-19 at this time, unless the person requires respiratory support or some other type of medical intervention. We are in touch with our medical professionals to ensure we can secure a hospital admission when necessary but the residents who are positive for COVID-19 at this site do not meet the criteria for hospital admission at this point, but they are self-isolating at home in a shared bedroom.

In the meantime, we are making every effort to support COVID-19 positive individuals in their home, and are closely monitoring residents for symptoms, including routine temperature checks and symptom management. Search team members like Cherry and Ashley are doing all of this, all while preparing meals, cleaning and sanitizing the home, assisting individuals with taking their medications and simply helping the residents to cope with the disruption this pandemic has caused in their lives by having a little fun – all this while wearing PPE! So far, everyone at this site is doing very well. No one is currently experiencing any severe symptoms. Our residents have been calm, happy and are starting to adjust to their new reality.  

For Cherry and Ashley, the question of whether or not to volunteer wasn’t really that difficult of a decision. As Ashley puts it, “These ladies needed around the clock care. They needed to know that they would not go through this time alone but with a familiar face around the house. This is a big adjustment for all of us and all we can do is continue to be optimistic and keep positive vibes flowing throughout the atmosphere.”

For Cherry, it was the compassion she feels for the residents, her belief in her ability to handle difficult situations, and her faith in God. As she puts it, “At first everything was scary and stressful, but once I put it in my mind what needed to be done and how it needed to be done, once my thoughts, my feelings, my actions, and my will aligned  with the will of God - everything has been working out fine.”

Search is incredibly thankful for the many ways all of our staff members have stepped up to support the individuals we serve, and each other during this extremely challenging time. Our work is not always easy and right now we are all being asked to stretch our normal limits to meet the demands of this pandemic. Every day in every way the Search Team is rewriting what it means to go above and beyond!

Cory Gumm, Search CEO says, “There are no words to describe my gratitude and respect for our more than 270 staff members. I’ve never been prouder to be part of team Search for the way everyone has pulled together and helped each other through this difficult time.  Cherry and Ashley truly exemplify why Search is such a special place and why, even in this time of adversity, kindness and compassion will always shine through.  Our collective futures are bright!   To everyone in the Search family, thank you for all you are doing to love and care for the people we serve and each other.  Search strong!”

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