2022 Activity Professional of the Year... Mandy Alvar!
Please help us congratulate Dove Healthcare - South Eau Claire's Recreation Director Mandy Alvar on being awarded Activity Professional of the Year! She was recognized at the annual Wisconsin Representatives of Activity Professionals (WRAP) conference on September 22.
Mandy Alvar is exactly the kind of extraordinary individual who deserves the recognition! Giving 100% of her heart every day to our residents, Mandy provides the most genuine connection and comfort to all she serves.
As the recreation director at Dove Healthcare - South Eau Claire, Mandy goes above and beyond every single day to ensure each resident's needs are met. The activity calendar for our 34 bed skilled nursing center and 16-bed assisted living residence is only a small fraction of what she does, but it is always filled with unique and fun events. From wine tastings, to pontoon rides, to sock hops, she goes out of her way to ensure our residents always have something to look forward to doing. Furthermore, she prioritizes personalized one on one time with each resident - singing, dancing, praying, or whatever brings a smile to their face.
Director of Operations - Eau Claire Ashley Smetana shared, "Mandy is undoubtedly the most selfless person I have ever met. She often chooses to spend her weekends, holidays, and evenings with any resident who may need a little extra support or cheering up. Not only does she provide exceptional care to the residents, but she extends this compassion to every single person she interacts with too. Mandy creates the most accepting, fun, and caring environment for all of our residents and employees."
Mandy has never felt her job is work. She describes her job as what "fills her cup". Outside of being a recreation director, Mandy devotes almost every waking hour to volunteering throughout the community. She has also served as a chaplain assistant at another local nursing home for 13 years. Her presence brightens every setting and motivates us to be better, kinder humans.
Qualities and achievements that Mandy demonstrates for this award:
- Mandy lives a life of service, as evidenced by her role as the recreation director at Dove Healthcare - South Eau Claire; frequently volunteering evenings, weekends, and holidays to provide one on one care to residents who need extra support; her weekly volunteer hours for the jail doing ministry work
- Involvement in WRAP; Mandy also currently serves as the president of Chippewa Valley Area Activity Professionals.
- Mandy was awarded WEAU's Sunshine Award after being nominated by a resident's family member. In 2020, when visitor restrictions were in place, Mandy went out of her way to ensure each resident had daily interaction and stayed connected with their loved ones. She came in on days off to celebrate birthdays and set up zoom calls. When family members could not come inside, they found comfort in knowing Mandy was inside.
- When we shared the Sunshine Award announcement on social media, there were so many supportive comments about Mandy. Comments included "Thanks for all you did for Alice"; "Thanks for everything you do for our family.."; "Mandy is bringing so much sunshine to my 91 year old mother!"; "So deserving, you should have like 20 of these!"; "Heart of Gold"; "You are definitely a bright ray of sunshine…"; "You are seriously the best and we are beyond blessed to have you!".
- Mandy has been committed to serving the long-term care population since 2008 when she first started as a CNA. From a CNA to recreation director, Mandy has ALWAYS ensured the residents are the center and priority of all she does.
- Mandy leads and coordinates an outdoor concert series that the entire community is invited to attend every summer in July on the grounds of Dove Healthcare - South Eau Claire. This has been a fantastic way to bring our residents, families, and community together!
- Mandy has also been pivotal to the success of community fall bazaars and Christmas craft sales hosted at Dove Healthcare - South Eau Claire, with proceeds always supporting the resident council fund.
Inspiration Mandy has given to others:
Mandy inspires us all to give more, seek less, and find joy in every moment.
Every single day, Mandy inspires us to be a better person. She inspires co-workers to remember their "why". Mandy has created a culture at Dove Healthcare - South Eau Claire for both residents and employees that feels kind, compassionate, and purposeful. Yet, her humble personality would never take an ounce of credit for the culture. Furthermore, Mandy has mentored other Dove Healthcare recreation directors, spreading her creativity and joy across Northwest Wisconsin.
Mandy has identified that the way to have joy in life is to spread joy - we could all benefit from a few more Mandys in the world right now.
We are so thankful for you, Mandy, and we are incredibly grateful to have you as part of our Dove Healthcare family!