Covia and Front Porch are uniting as one organization in an affiliation that is expected to take place on April 1, 2021. John Woodward, who has been CEO of Front Porch since 2015, will become the CEO of the combined organization following the close of the affiliation. Prior to joining Front Porch, John was an investment banker and advisor to not-for-profit organizations. He has an MBA from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business with a specialization in Hospital Administration.
Recently, Laura Darling, Covia’s VP of Communications and Spiritual Care, sat down with John to talk about the affiliation and his vision for Front Porch after the affiliation. The interview has been edited for clarity.
LD: It’s great to get to learn more about you! What do you want people to know about you that isn’t included on your resume?
JW: Like most kids in the rural community where I grew up, I had the usual assortment of odd jobs mowing lawns and house painting. I received my first official paycheck as a summer worker in a sawmill near where I grew up in North Idaho. After college graduation, I moved to San Francisco where I volunteered in a free clinic as an intake worker, interviewing walk-in clients. It was in this volunteer role that I first recognized the value of listening. To this day, I strive to become a better listener of those we serve.
LD: Along with your days in the sawmill, we know a little bit about your professional background. But what is it that brought you to senior living? And why have you stayed?
JW: I was fortunate to work with a wide range of not-for-profit organizations including academic medical centers and rural health clinics, mental health providers and organizations serving the developmentally disabled. I also advised senior living organizations on green field development as well as expansion and renovation programs. It was these relationships that provided the opportunity for the consolidation of the predecessor organizations that formed Front Porch.
When I was approached about my current position, I was very familiar with Front Porch since I was part of the team that helped with the mergers as well as financing. But my perspective had been from the outside and did not involve day-to-day responsibilities. An opportunity to actually work with many of the people who I had known for many years, was really exciting.
One reason I have stayed in senior living is that I learned just how interesting and exciting it is to work with both the residents and our employees. Early on another person on our management team told me that he considered it a privilege to work for our residents. And that stuck with me: it is an incredible privilege to support these amazing people.
We have a very simple objective which is to do our best to support our current residents and prepare for future residents. If we do not work directly in the communities, we need to do our best to support the people who do, because the residents rely on them directly. If we do this, everything will else be fine.
LD: How would you describe your management style?
JW: I’ve observed a lot of different management styles and governance structures and formed my opinions about which ones are the most effective. For me, the most important ingredients to management are teamwork and collaboration. I believe that good ideas come from many different and often unexpected places. If you don’t collaborate and don’t have teamwork, you will often miss out on the best ideas. It’s also more fun to work as a team. And if you’re going to work hard, you better have some fun along the way!
The other lesson I’ve learned is the power of listening. Strategy doesn’t have to come just from ideas that roll around in your own head. If you listen to the people you serve and listen to the people you work with, strategy will often emerge from those conversations.
LD: Tell me a little bit about what’s special about Front Porch. What do you want Covia to know about Front Porch as an organization?
JW: I think what characterizes Front Porch is that it comes from a culture of change. The organization started with the merger of Pacific Homes with FACT [Foundation to Assist California Teachers] and California Lutheran Homes. Several year later, Sunny View, a community in Cupertino, became the fourth organization to join Front Porch.
If I had to point to an enduring influence, it would be the Pacific Homes board. Pacific Homes filed for bankruptcy protection in 1977 and was reorganized in 1981. As part of the reorganization, the trustee insisted on the appointment of board members with significant business experience. In 1992, the court approved a settlement with the prior residents and a reduction in the obligation to the Methodist Church that permitted a recapitalization in 1993. The operating performance steadily strengthened over the next decade, which set the stage for the subsequent mergers. While the board members have changed over the years, I believe that that emphasis on financial stewardship as well as commitment to mission continues.
The Covia and Front Porch boards seem to share many of the same perspectives. Neither board is willing to accept business as usual. Neither organization is complacent about the risks, and the need to change in order to respond to future needs.
Covia’s President and CEO, Kevin Gerber, has really been outstanding in his vision of the future. And it’s been a privilege to work with him and the Covia board.
LD: What have you learned so far about Covia as an organization, and how do you plan to get to know Covia better?
JW: While I have not been able to personally meet many Covia residents or employees, I look forward to an opportunity to expand my relationships. I have observed the passion, commitment and engagement of both employees and the residents. They’re very much like Front Porch residents and employees, and I look forward to the opportunity to listen, learn, and enjoy the perspective of the people we serve.
LD: I know that some people have wondered and worried if Covia will lose its character or if the individual communities will lose their individual character. Can you talk a little bit about that?
JW: Covia and Front Porch share a commitment to supporting the individual characteristics of the communities, just as we support the individual needs of our residents. We believe that the unique characteristics of each community provide a tremendous advantage to our organizations. This approach also reflects our commitment to allowing residents to define their lives and their needs.
For-profit companies developed many of the new Senior Living communities during the last decade. Our not-for-profit status gives us certain tax advantages, but ultimately we must compete on the basis of our facilities, service and pricing. I believe that not-for-profit status is an opportunity to provide more to both our residents and employees but requires careful oversight. We have an obligation to use this advantage efficiently and remain aligned with our mission and long term goals.
If we were a for-profit entity, this transition that we’re going through now might have been done much sooner. It would have been, “Okay, let’s true up the book. You get X dollars and we get Y assets and we’re done.” But what we’ve done instead of truing up the books, we’ve trued up the values. We’ve been asking each other, “So what do you believe in? How are we going to operate the future?” And that’s really the key.
LD: Along with being mission-driven and efficient as a business, what values do you hope the new organization will share?
JW: My immediate priority is to support collaboration at all levels. We want everyone to “own strategy.” We expect them to lead and to speak out when they see things that we can do better.
One of the common characteristics of both organizations is that we embrace change. We believe that there’s a responsibility to innovate, to not accept business as usual. No organization has a monopoly on good ideas and together we can come up with better strategies.
But collaboration requires connection. And so I’m hoping people can connect, if not in person, then virtually. We have worked diligently to collaborate virtually during the last year but I personally look forward to some in-person meetings.
I also think it’s vital that we retain the integrity that each organization has established over its history. I am hopeful that we can develop trust throughout the entire organization to allow effective teamwork.
LD: What excites you about this affiliation?
JW: As much as each organization has accomplished to date. I think the potential to do so much more is reflected in the new organization that we are building. As we go forward, I expect the energy to build with our combined teams. The possibilities are limitless.
LD: Here’s my last question: COVID permitting, when do you think we might be able to see you in person?
JW: My best day is when I visit a community, and I seek opportunities to visit as often as possible. I intend to visit all of the Covia communities as soon as the public health protocols permit. Whether it’s standing in front of a group of several hundred or having coffee with one or two people, it is an opportunity to learn from residents and employees.
Going forward, I plan to split my time between Northern and Southern California, so I hope to visit all of our communities on a regular basis. This not a big change for me personally since I have commuted between Glendale and San Francisco since joining Front Porch. I have lived in San Francisco for over 40 years, so I’m counting on BART returning to full service soon so I can get to the Walnut Creek office!
Watch our video interview with Grant Edelstone here.
For the general election on November 3rd, the State of California has provided guidance to make it easier – and safer – for registered voters to participate in the election process. In particular, the California Department of Public Health sent a letter to remind Skilled Nursing Facilities “of their obligation to assist and encourage residents to exercise their rights…This includes their right as a citizen to vote safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Grant Edelstone, Senior Director of Risk Management, explains some of the safer options available for all voters. “One thing you can do to stay safe is to vote by mail. Avoid voting in person.” California voters who are already registered to vote have been sent their ballot by mail. They can complete and mail in their ballot or drop them at an official ballot drop box.
Edelstone says that, for those who like to vote in person, there are safety practices that everyone can do. “If you go to a polling station, only go if you feel physically well and you have no respiratory symptoms. Try to avoid the lines by having your documentation and forms prepared in advance. Get familiar with who and what is on your ballot before you arrive at the polling station. Try to go at an off peak time, like mid-morning. Bring your own black pen or an e-stylus, if you have one.”
Edelstone also emphasizes the importance of standard safety practices at polling stations: wearing a cloth face covering or mask; wearing gloves; maintaining a physical distance of at least six feet from others if you’re standing in line; using hand sanitizer frequently before and after touching objects or surfaces; and washing your hands when you get home. “You could consider wearing eye protection like goggles,” he adds, “And if you’re going to stand in a long line maybe bring a portable chair and wear comfortable shoes.”
Residents who may not be able to get to a polling station can ask staff members for assistance in ways that respect their privacy, Edelstone says. “That could be helping them register if they’ve changed their address to update their voter registration if needed.” (The last day to register to vote is Monday, October 19th. Californians who meet the registration requirements can register online at https://registertovote.ca.gov/.) Staff can also help people to go online to get materials in the language that they prefer, or help read the election materials to someone and help someone with alternative voting methods.
Edelstone also shares what staff are not allowed to do. “You can’t influence a resident’s vote. You can’t mark a ballot in any way other than the resident directs you to. You can’t tell anyone how a resident voted. You can’t decide if someone is mentally incompetent to vote. You can’t determine if a resident is eligible to vote. And you can’t vote on their behalf, if you’re unable to reliably determine how the resident wants to vote.”
“So basically you have to listen to the resident, respect their wishes, and do what they are directing you to do, is the easiest way to put that,” Edelstone says.
Fundamentally, Edelstone says, “There’s ways to participate in and support civic activity without having to interact with too many other people and to have your voice heard and make your vote count.”
To learn more about how to vote in the upcoming election in California, go to https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/voting-resources/voting-california.
Wednesday, October 21 10:20 am
CalFire reports that the Glass Fire is 100% contained as of 11:00 am Tuesday, October 20th. All of us send our deepest gratitude to our first responders for everything they have done to protect Spring Lake Village, Friends House, and the greater Sonoma and Napa County community during this fire.
Monday, October 19 11:00 am
We are happy to report that our Skilled Nursing Facility was granted approval by the State to reopen and residents will be returning throughout this week.
Other than our SNF residents and residents already on our list for an extended absence, all Spring Lake Village residents have returned.
Thank you to everyone who helped our residents stay safe throughout the evacuation.
Thursday, October 15 9:20 am
The recording of yesterday’s Zoom update is available here, and the Q & A document is here. Unless something changes significantly, this is the final SLV update Zoom call related to the evacuation. Michael will resume regular written updates starting today and weekly resident meetings next Wednesday, October 20. We will provide updates to this webpage only when there are significant changes or items to report.
Thank you to everyone who helped us get through this evacuation.
Wednesday, October 14 5:25 pm
Residents are continuing to return to Spring Lake Village and getting tested upon arrival. So far, all tests have come back negative.
Independent Living residents who have yet to return may come back between 8:00 – 4:30 tomorrow or Friday. Please pull into the main parking lot as directed and wait to get tested before returning to your residence. If you have any questions or concerns about arrival times, or need to make arrangements to return at another time, please call 707-538-8400.
There will be a survey of our Skilled Nursing Facility conducted by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) on Friday. If we pass the survey, Spring Lake Village will be able to start bringing back Skilled Nursing residents on Monday of next week.
The recording and Q & A of today’s update will be posted in the morning.
Tuesday, October 13 5:00 pm
Our next Spring Lake Village Community Update will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, October 14 at 3:00. Please click the link below to join the webinar:
To join by telephone, call 669-900-6833 or 855-880-1246 (Toll Free), and enter the Webinar ID: 921 3357 4393 (International numbers are available: https://esc.zoom.us/u/aZjRUUGlV).
Tuesday, October 13 9:15 am
Residents continue to return today. Residents from East Side Cottages 10 – 44 and East Side Buildings A – F are asked to arrive between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm and report to the parking lot at the main entrance. From there, you will be directed where to park and will be given a COVID-19 test before returning to your home. There will be assistance if you need help with transporting your items. It is important that you arrive during these scheduled hours since these are the times when staff is available to do the testing. All residents must get tested before returning to your cottage or apartment.
Residents from the Arbol Community will be returning this afternoon. Tomorrow, residents from West Side Cottages 50 – 101 and West Side Buildings G – P are invited to return between 9:00 am – 1:00 pm and follow the procedures outlined above.
The full return schedule is posted here. Residents in Skilled Nursing will return once Spring Lake Village has received approval from the Department of Social Services and OSHPD, most likely beginning to return next week.
If you cannot return at your scheduled time, you must contact Connie Nelson at Spring Lake Village and set up a scheduled time to return so that staff will be ready and available to test you upon arrival. Thank you for your cooperation!
The Q & A from yesterday’s Zoom update is here. The recording is here. There will be another Zoom update tomorrow at 3:00, which will likely be the final video update related to this incident. Starting tomorrow, Executive Director Michael Cataldo will resume his regular daily memos. Weekly resident meetings will resume next week.
Monday, October 12 5:10 pm
The recording of today’s Zoom update is now available to watch here. Our next Zoom update will take place this Wednesday at 3:00. More information will be posted tomorrow.
Monday, October 12 11:15 am
We will be having a Spring Lake Village Community Update today at 3:00 by Zoom. Please click the link below to join the webinar:
Or call in to 669-900-6833 or 877-369-0926 (Toll Free) and enter the Webinar ID: 925 3346 4802 (International numbers are also available: https://esc.zoom.us/u/acTc7ThZhh).
Residents are beginning to return to Spring Lake Village, according to the Evacuation Return Schedule, available here. Today, residents who have been staying at the Residence Inn Sacramento Downtown will be returning. Tomorrow, residents who live in East Side Cottages 10-44 and buildings A-F are welcome to return between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm. We are so glad to welcome you back home!
Friday, October 9 4:00pm
Friday, October 9 8:45 am
There will be a Zoom community update for Spring Lake Village today at 3:00. Please click the link below to join the webinar:
To connect by telephone, dial 669 900 6833 or 877 369 0926 (Toll Free)
Webinar ID: 919 8829 4649
International numbers available: https://esc.zoom.us/u/abVw1YyEaL
Thursday, October 8 9:10 am
The video recording of yesterday’s update is now available. You can watch it here. The next Zoom video update will take place tomorrow, October 9 at 3:00. The link will be posted by the end of the day today.
As of 7:30 this morning, CalFire reports that the Glass Fire is 66% contained. “Crews experienced minimal fire behavior throughout the night. These conditions consisted of creeping and smoldering within the current fire perimeter.” The full update is available here.
The City of Santa Rosa has posted information to inform city residents that the water quality was not impacted by the Glass Fire. They report, “Ongoing testing and monitoring of Santa Rosa’s drinking water confirms that our community’s water system meets all safe drinking water standards.” Read the full statement here.
Wednesday, October 7 5:10 pm
The Q & A from this afternoon’s Spring Lake Village Community Update is now available for download here. The video will be available tomorrow. Our next update will take place on Friday, October 9 at 3:00 pm.
We do not yet have a reopening date when residents can return to Spring Lake Village, though we hope residents may start to be able to return sometime next week. Before residents can return, we need permission and guidance from state regulatory and public health agencies. We expect detailed guidance from the Department of Public Health this week. We will plan a staged reopening so everyone doesn’t arrive at once. Please stay safe where you are and we will let you know more as soon as we know more.
If you do move to another location, or need essential items from your apartment, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org or 707-538-8400. If you would like to move to the Residence Inn Sacramento Downtown, where SLV staff are able to provide support, please contact Chris Ichien at email@example.com.
In preparation for residents’ return, staff and vendor partners are cleaning the Spring Lake Village campus. Duct cleaning began today and should be completed tomorrow. Environmental Services is continuing to clean and replace linens and remove spoiled food from refrigerators.
The Santa Rosa Postmaster has informed us that mail will be delivered to the campus starting next Monday, October 12. UPS and FedEx parcels are currently being delivered and stored in a secure location.
During the remainder of the evacuation, Stephen Eik, Spring Lake Village’s IT Tech, will be offering remote Tech Help for SLV residents from 9-1, Monday-Friday. If you would like to schedule an appointment, please call Stephen at 707-318-4524, and leave a voicemail with your name, phone number, and tech issue for which you would like help.
Tuesday, October 6 4:10 pm
Our next Spring Lake Village Update will take place tomorrow at 3:00 pm. Residents, family members, friends and others are welcome to attend. Please click the link below to join the webinar:
Or join by telephone at 669-900-6833 or 877-369-0926 (Toll Free), then enter Webinar ID: 938 7361 9087 (International numbers available: https://esc.zoom.us/u/ah9We5WMS).
Tuesday, October 6 1:10 pm
Although there is no new update on when the Spring Lake Village campus will be reopening for residents, staff are currently cleaning common areas as well as laundering linens and removing spoiled food from refrigerators in preparation for residents’ eventual return.
In addition, a team is working on a plan that will allow residents to return safely and prevent the possible spread of COVID-19. At this point, we do not have any active cases of COVID-19 among our dispersed residents. However, due to possible exposure during the evacuation, we will be putting precautions in place when residents return.
The questions and answers from yesterday’s video update are now available for download here. Our next update will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, October 7 at 3:00 pm. We will post the link by the end of the day today.
Well Connected, a Covia Community Services program that helps seniors throughout the United States stay connected by phone or Zoom, has set up a special group for Spring Lake Village residents to help you stay connected. Weekdays from 10:00 to 11:00 am, SLV residents are invited to check in with each other by phone. Please download this flyer to get the details on how to join. And thank you to the Well Connected team for setting this up.
Monday, October 5 5:30 pm
The most recent Spring Lake Village update is now available to view online here. Our next video update will take place on Wednesday, October 7 at 3:00 pm.
At this time, there is still no reopening date for the Spring Lake Village community, though we anticipate it will be at least another week. The neighborhood remains under an evacuation warning, and Melita Road is closed at Highway 12. SLV’s community leadership is in contact with state and local departments of health and Social Services to determine when residents might be able to return. In the meantime, residents may still contact the community at 707-538-8400 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you need items from your apartment or wish to update us on your current whereabouts.
Kevin Gerber, Covia’s President and CEO was able to visit the campus today and reports that the staff has done great work in cleaning the campus. Maintenance and Environmental Services staff are clearing out dairy and deli items in refrigerators, laundering sheets and linens throughout the community, and changing filters in the HVAC systems, among other clean-up tasks.
CalFire reports that the Glass Fire is 30% contained at of 3:30 this afternoon.
Sunday, October 4 8:30 am
As of this morning, the Glass Fire is 17% contained. CalFire reports “The Glass Fire continues to actively burn across Napa and Sonoma Counties due to windy conditions, with slope and topographic driven runs. Critically low fuel moisture, very warm and dry weather conditions are contributing to very active fire behavior. Aggressive mop up and tactical patrol continues in areas where the fire’s forward progress has stopped. Crews are working aggressively to construct and reinforce existing control lines. As people start returning home, be vigilant that emergency crews are still working in the area.”
Spring Lake Village remains in an evacuation warning stage. If you would like to retrieve important items from your apartment, please email email@example.com and let us know the item and where it is located. A team member will retrieve it for you and arrange to have it at the security check in for you to collect.
The next Spring Lake Village video update will take place tomorrow, Monday, October 5 at 3:00 pm. Executive Director Michael Cataldo and others will be available to share information and answer your questions. Here is the link to join the webinar.
Congressman Mike Thompson announced to Sonoma County Residents, “If you were impacted by the Glass Fire, the county is opening a Local Assistance Center on Monday, Oct 5 at Maria Carrillo High School in Santa Rosa. It will be open on Monday from 1-7pm and then Tuesday, Oct 6 through Saturday, Oct 10 from 10am to 7pm.” More information on the Local Assistance Center and the services available can be found here.
Friday, October 2 5:45 pm
We know that people’s primary question is likely to be, “When can we return to our homes?” Unfortunately, we cannot provide any sort of definitive answer to that question. It all depends upon what happens with the fire, how long it will take to clean the campus, what our regulatory agencies require of us, and more. When we last went through this evacuation process, it was a full two weeks before residents were able to return to Spring Lake Village, and there was less clean up for the campus. We advise you to find a place where you can be comfortable for at least that long.
We will be available to respond to phone calls and emails this weekend. We hope you get some rest, wherever you may be.
Friday, October 2 8:00 am
As a reminder, there will be a community update for Spring Lake Village by Zoom today at 3:00 pm. Click here to join the webinar. You can also call in at 669-900-6833, then enter the Webinar ID: 910 8936 7411.
Due to the Red Flag Warning being extended through Sunday morning, Friends House has unfortunately had to postpone its plans for residents to return to the campus. Executive Director Clara Allen has shared a letter to the community explaining the decision. She writes,
Although we’re not together physically, we’re in community spiritually. As a community, we care about each other’s safety, health, happiness and wellbeing. The Quaker value of Gentle Bravery comes to mind. The world is calling upon us to be nimble and flexible. This year has brought unfathomable changes and challenges to all of our lives. I’m struck by the compassionate ways in which our community meets those challenges. Hopefully, it won’t be long before the evacuation order is downgraded, once again and you’ll be on your way back home. I’m holding you in the light.
You can read the full letter here.
Thursday, October 1 6:30 pm
Our next Zoom update for Spring Lake Village will take place tomorrow, Friday, October 2, at 3:00 pm. Please click the link to join the webinar: https://esc.zoom.us/j/91089367411
All Spring Lake Village residents have now left the Petaluma Community Center and all other emergency shelters and are in an appropriate, settled location.
The team at Spring Lake Village report that the smoke smell makes it impossible for most employees to return to campus. Air scrubbing began yesterday and the maintenance team is making arrangements with a contractor to provide cleaning services, but for the moment, no one can return to campus.
A memo for Spring Lake Village employees has been posted on ADP, our HR information system. Please log in at my.adp.com to read and acknowledge receipt of this letter, which contains resources for your support as well as information on reporting for work during this emergency.
Residents who need essential items from their apartments, such as medical equipment, should contact your community. We will make arrangements to deliver essential health and safety items to you.
Thursday, October 1 8:30 am
The recording of yesterday’s Spring Lake Village update is now available here.
Friends House Executive Director Clara Allen has posted information about plans for residents to return to the campus, tentatively this Friday at 10:00 am. More information is available in her letter, posted on the Friends House site here.
Wednesday, September 30 5:15 pm
Over 300 people attended the Zoom call today for an update on Spring Lake Village. Thank you to everyone who attended for your questions and comments. We will share the link to the video once it becomes available. A summary of the questions and answers is here. Our next update will take place on Friday, October 2 at 3:00 pm.
Although at this time, our communities are not in danger from the Glass Fire, the National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for the North Bay Mountains starting from 1 PM Thursday (10/1) to 6 PM Friday (10/2) due for breezy northerly winds and critically dry conditions. Residents should not return to the community for any reason at this time. If you need items from your home, please contact your community to request that a staff member retrieve the item for you.
If the fires remain at bay, Friends House has received permission to plan for residents’ return, possibly as early as this Friday, October 2. Executive Director Clara Allen will be sharing details on this plan on the Friends House website.
As of yet, Spring Lake Village has received no indication from DSS about a potential return date. The Facilities team has returned to campus and air scrubbers will be employed tomorrow to clear some of the smoke and ash.
We are still working to find placements for some of our Assisted Living residents, due to restrictions on emergency transfers because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Assisted Living residents who are still in an emergency shelter are being provided 24 hour care by Covia staff. We anticipate that all will be placed in a more settled environment no later than tomorrow, possibly as soon as this evening.
Wednesday, September 30 8:25 am
Due to the smoke damage and ash, Spring Lake Village is unable to reopen, even though the evacuation order for the Spring Lake neighborhood has been lifted. We invite SLV residents, family members, and others to join the Zoom call today at 1:30 for further information. Please click the link below to join the webinar:
Tuesday, September 29 5:20 pm
Spring Lake Village Executive Director will be holding a Community Update by Zoom tomorrow, Wednesday, September 30th at 1:30 pm. Residents, family members, staff, and others are welcome to attend. We are also working on streaming this live on Facebook, but will record and share if the livestream does not work. Please click the link below to join the webinar:
Spring Lake Village residents are also reminded that you can log into the SLV Resident Website to share news with your friends and neighbors about your whereabouts and how you are doing. Look under the News Discussion Forum for the evacuation discussion thread.
All Friends House residents have been transferred to other locations where they are receiving ongoing support. The Spring Lake Village staff has been working to find placements for the last 30 residents still in evacuation centers, most of them currently located in Petaluma where staff are providing support and activities.
The SLV Wellness Team and the FH Director of Marketing Paula Wright are making phone calls to Independent Living residents who self-evacuated to verify their location and to check in their needs. If you have an immediate concern, SLV residents are invited to call 707-538-8400. Friends House residents are welcome to call Paula at (707) 537-5927, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional staff are reporting to the Residence Inn in Sacrament to provide support for the residents living on site. Tomorrow, supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) will be delivered. Residents are reminded to continue to follow COVID-19 safety precautions: wear your mask, maintain at least 6 feet of distance if at all possible. If you notice any symptoms such as shortness of breath, cough, or fever, please isolate yourself and inform your Director of Health Services immediately.
The Friends House and Spring Lake Village campuses remain closed, and will likely remain closed for some time. Dennis McLean, Spring Lake Village Facilities Director, reports that there is significantly more smoke damage than 2017, due to the fires getting so close to the campus. Both campuses are covered in ash and will need significantly cleaning. However, neither community has sustained any fire damage.
Tuesday, September 29 8:00 am
More than 75 residents are now staying at the Residence Inn Downtown Sacramento, with more expected to arrive today along with additional staff to support them.
One of the Skilled Nursing Facilities that offered to accommodate some of our residents did not receive permission from our regulatory agencies to begin admission until late last night, delaying their transfer. We are in the process of making arrangements for transportation, and all Skilled Nursing residents should be in their planned emergency location by noon today.
We have been and will continue to notify emergency contacts directly about the status of each resident.
We are also working on setting up informational meetings by Zoom for residents and other interested persons, probably starting tomorrow. We will let you know the details when they become available.
Monday, September 28 5:00 pm
We have set up the main phone number for Spring Lake Village to forward to someone off-campus. If you have questions or would like to update us on your whereabouts, please call 707-538-8400.
We encourage all residents to collect receipts for meals, housing, toiletries, and other necessary items purchased as a result of the evacuation, which may be included in an eventual insurance claim. Employees should track any expenses related to work, such as travel to other locations.
Employees on site at Spring Lake Village drove around and surveyed the area. They report that there is no fire activity in the East Grove or near the campus. There is evidence of spot fires in Spring Lake Park, but they appear to have been long since extinguished. There are no emergency vehicles in the neighborhood. Fire activity is very visible in the surrounding hills, but seems to have moved away from the community.
That being said, DO NOT attempt to return to the campus for any reason at this time. Fire and other emergency crews need to be able to focus their attention on fighting the fires. Thank you for your cooperation.
Along with all of our residents, some of our team members have been evacuated from their homes as well. Our Human Resources department will reach out via text to all SLV employees to check on their well-being and let them know how to access information and resources.
Stay safe, and we hope everyone gets some rest this evening.
Monday, September 28 noon
Spring Lake Village staff are finalizing arrangements for residents in Assisted Living, Memory Care, and Skilled Nursing to be transferred to locations where they can receive appropriate care during this emergency. We will notify emergency contacts directly as soon as these arrangements are finalized.
We are also making arrangements with a hotel in Sacramento to provide rooms for SLV and Friends House residents who do not need additional care. Currently, 36 residents have checked in; we anticipate 20-30 new rooms to be available today, and more to come. Please contact email@example.com if you plan to use this housing option.
At this time, the fire has spread to Spring Lake Park, but is not on the Spring Lake Campus itself.
The security team is still located at the Spring Lake Village campus. Employees who provide direct care to residents should ask their supervisors where to report to work. No employees, aside from the security team, should come to the Spring Lake Village campus. If you have further questions about your work duties, please contact your direct supervisor.
Monday, September 28 7:00 am
All residents have been evacuated from Spring Lake Village and from Friends House, another community in Santa Rosa that has a management contract with Covia. SLV’s Executive Director Michael Cataldo and security staff are still on site.
Our Skilled Nursing residents who need the most care were transferred to St. Paul’s Towers in Oakland while others are currently being cared for at an evacuation site in Santa Rosa. We will find placements for our other SNF residents today.
Many of our residents are staying with family, having already made plans to do so in case of an emergency such as this. We also chartered a bus to transport residents to a hotel in Sacramento, where both Spring Lake Village and Friends House residents can stay during this emergency.
Sunday, September 27 11:50 pm
In response to the fires in Sonoma County, Spring Lake Village, Covia’s community in Santa Rosa, is in the process of evacuating. We will provide updates as soon as we have further information. Thank you for your patience.
The following message was sent to Covia employees by Kevin Gerber, President and CEO, on Sunday, May 31. You can download the PDF version here.
I write to you as my home town of Oakland is in turmoil. All of us were already tired after weeks of shutdown and fear of illness. And, with the death of yet another Black man at the hands of police, another burden has been placed on our African American residents, employees, and neighbors.
I am writing with two messages today. One is to stay mindful of our guiding principles. We say that we have been shaped by our values of welcome, inclusion, social justice, and grace. We will do our utmost to demonstrate those values in all that we do. We say that we will respect one another and treat one another with dignity at all times. Black lives matter, and we resoundingly refuse to give in to racism, hatred, fear and violence. We say that we reflect, celebrate, and foster the diversity of those who live and work within the Covia family and society as a whole. We commit ourselves to supporting our African American residents, employees, and neighbors and to working with our greater communities to build a just society for everyone.
My second message is this: be kind and gentle with one another in these very difficult times. Recognize the burdens that those around you may carry, and help how you can.
In September, Canterbury Woods received the Award of Excellence for Food Safety from the Environmental Health Bureau of the Monterey County Health Department – the only senior living community to receive this honor.
“All operating food facilities meet regulatory food standards. Those who excel are recognized with our Gold Seal and those food facilities who have consistently demonstrated excellence in providing safe and secure food will be honored,” said John Ramirez, Director of Environmental Health, in a press release shared by the County of Monterey.
The Award of Excellence program began in 2016, and recognizes 3 locations every year as part of National Food Safety Education Month. This year, Nepenthe Restaurant and Sun Street Center were also honored along with Canterbury Woods.
The Monterey County Department of Health inspects over 2000 food service facilities throughout the county. The unannounced quarterly inspections review all aspects of food safety, from food sourcing, to employee health and hygiene, to safe storage practices. Facilities that meet or exceed health standards based on state laws are awarded the Gold Seal. Of those Gold Seal facilities, inspectors nominate 25 that demonstrate excellence in food safety year over year for the Award.
“We have received the Golden Seal at every inspection since I have been here,” says Robert Kershner, Director of Dining Services at Canterbury Woods. “Morrison Community Living prepares us and supports us in the best ways possible to set us up for an award like this.”
“This recognition is a big deal,” he adds. “It confirms to me and our staff that our efforts are focused successfully on maintaining a safe environment for our residents. Credit is really due to all of the department staff for their undying dedication to food safety.”
Earlier this year, Covia was certified for a second year as a Great Place to Work. This certification, based on a Trust Index that includes over 60 evaluated elements, considers not only organizational culture but also each team member’s experience.
“We like to get feedback from the organization to see how we’re doing,” says Prab Brinton, Vice President of Human Resources. “Are we meeting our objectives? Is everybody engaged with their current roles? And, most importantly, are there areas to improve? At the end of the day, we want to build a strong culture and the only way that we can do that is by getting employee feedback.”
The Great Place to Work survey revealed a lot of exciting insights about Covia. One of the things that was made clear in these results is that employees are proud of their work. 89% of respondents indicated that they “feel good about the ways that Covia contributes to the community” while 87% feel a sense of pride about what they have accomplished. The people stand out at the top as one of the main reasons employees enjoy their work, especially in their interactions with staff and residents.
“The work that we do truly makes a positive impact in people’s lives,” says Lizette Suarez, Well Connected Español Program Manager. “I am surrounded by a great team who is dedicated and committed to making a difference in the world.”
The Great Place to Work survey not only highlights successes but also serves as a great tool to pinpoint areas of improvement within the company. Based off of the results of the survey, each community has identified specific goals that will be their focus over the next year. These goals range from managers more readily including employees in important decisions to working quicker to adapt to changes.
Beyond these individual goals, there is one company-wide goal, which is centered on creating a great culture. Over the next year, Covia will focus on developing a hiring culture that is both fun and effective with the goal of bringing in more candidates that are a great fit. This will include becoming more transparent and creating a New Hire Orientation and Onboarding process that does a better job of orienting new hires within their particular community as well as with the company as a whole.
These goals will be evaluated through pulse surveys sent out to employees periodically. Based on these surveys, the entire company as well as each community will be able to determine if they are moving forward or if more work is needed to reach their designated goal.
“All of the work that has gone into identifying these goals and tailoring them to each community is intended to better the experience of every employee,” says Brinton. “There are always places to improve and the Great Place to Work survey has provided a great jumping off point from which to evaluate and enhance Covia’s employee experience.”
The Village People, Spring Lake Village’s entrant in the Sonoma County Wine Country Games (commonly known as the Senior Games), won their first medal on May 31, 2019, taking third place in the bocce tournament. The team included Capt. Sue Guerra, Don Allison, Brenda and Butch Dippel, Pete Guerra, and Barbara Ware, all residents of Spring Lake Village, a Covia Life Plan Community in Santa Rosa.
The Sonoma County Wine Country Games, a program benefiting the Council on Aging, encourages healthy activity and social engagement for anyone 50+ through education, connections, and the spirited competition of sport, inspiring all to take an active role in determining the quality of their aging experience. Along with bocce, events include basketball, cycling, pickleball, tennis, volleyball and more.
In the bocce tournament, teams competed with each team playing three 50-minute games. If teams did not finish in 50 minutes, the existing score at the time was used. At the end of the three games, four teams were eliminated from competition based on number of games won and point count. The two remaining teams with the highest point count played each other for first and second place. The two other remaining teams played for third place.
In the first round, The Village People beat a team from Oakmont called Varenna #2, lost to Fountaingrove (another Oakmont Team), and beat the Collectiballs, a Santa Rosa league team, giving them enough points and wins to progress to the second round. After defeating Varenna #2 a second time, the Village People squared off against the Go Getters for their chance to win the bronze medal.
Congratulations to the Village People for their third place win!
Interview with/Entrevista con Lizette Suarez, Program Manager/Coordinadora de Programa Well Connected Español
To learn more about Well Connected Español, visit our webpage at https://covia.org/services/well-connected/bien-conectado/.
Para obtener más información sobre Well Connected Español, visite nuestra página web en https://covia.org/services/well-connected/bien-conectado/.
For those who don’t know, what is Well Connected?
Well Connected is a phone and online program offering activities, education, friendly conversation, and an assortment of classes and support groups to older adults accessible from the comfort of home.
|Para los que no saben, ¿Qué es Well Connected?
Well Connected es un programa telefónico y en línea que ofrece actividades, educación, conversación amistosa y una variedad de clases y grupos de apoyo para adultos mayores accesibles desde la comodidad de su hogar.
|Has Well Connected had groups or classes in Spanish or any other languages before?
Yes, Well Connected has offered classes in Spanish and Russian over the years, but without designated staff who spoke those languages it was hard to gain traction. With designated Well Connected Español staff we are better equipped to connect Spanish speaking older adults with programs they can enjoy.
|¿Ha tenido Well Connected grupos o clases en español o en otros idiomas antes?
Sí, Well Connected ha ofrecido clases en Español y en Ruso a lo largo de los años pero sin personal designado que hablaba esos idiomas era difícil ganar terreno. Con personal designado para Well Connected Español, estamos mejor equipados para conectar a adultos mayores que hablan español con programas que puedan disfrutar.
|Why did Well Connected decide to offer a program in Spanish?
There has been expressed need from service providers and from within the Spanish-speaking community. With the support of Navigage and Metta Fund, Well Connected Español was born. We hope to be able to offer Well Connected in more languages in the future.
|¿Por qué Well Connected decidió ofrecer un programa en español?
Se había expresado la necesidad de los proveedores de servicios y de la comunidad latina. Con el apoyo de Navigage y Metta Fund, nació Well Connected Español. Esperamos poder ofrecer Well Connected en más idiomas en el futuro.
How did you hear about this project, and why did you decide to get involved?
I heard of this posting via Indeed.com, from the moment I read the listing I knew it was a project I wanted to be a part of. I grew up very close to my grandparents and older adults all throughout my childhood. As an adult, that did not change much. I am amazed by their wisdom, their life knowledge and experiences. The more I am exposed to them the more I have access to information I wouldn’t learn otherwise because it is stored and unique to them and their personal stories.
|¿Cómo se enteró de este proyecto y por qué decidió involucrarse?
Me enteré de esta publicación a través de Indeed.com, desde el momento en que leí el listado, sabía que era un proyecto del que quería formar parte. Crecí muy cerca de mis abuelos y adultos mayores a lo largo de mi infancia. Ahora como adulta eso no a cambiado mucho, estoy asombrada por su sabiduría, su conocimiento de la vida y sus experiencias. Cuanto más me expongo a ellos, más acceso tengo información que no aprendería de otra manera porque está almacenada y es única para ellos y sus historias personales.
Have you talked to any Latino elders about this program? What do they think?
Yes, I began promotion of the program both locally in the Bay Area and through virtual trainings to reach Latino elders across the country. I have done presentations at senior centers and at senior housing facilities. The biggest challenge is getting people to understand this new way of thinking about community. Once people understand the concept, the feedback has been positive, with and lots of excitement.
|¿Has hablado con algún anciano latino sobre este programa? ¿Qué piensan ellos?
Sí, comencé a promover el programa tanto a nivel local en el Área de la Bahía como a través de capacitaciones virtuales para alcanzar personas mayores latinas en todo el país. He hecho presentaciones en centros para personas mayores y en instalaciones de vivienda para personas mayores. El mayor desafío es lograr que las personas entiendan esta nueva forma de visualizar comunidad. Una vez que las personas entienden el concepto, la retroalimentación ha sido positiva, y con mucha emoción.
What are you going to offer for this first session?
For the first session we will be offering the following activities;
|¿Qué vas a ofrecer para esta primera sesión?
Para la primera sesión estaremos ofreciendo las siguientes actividades;
Apreciación de Arte
Introducción al Tejido Basico
Serie de Viajes Desde el Sillon serie;
Peru, Mexico e Italia
Como Vivir Una Vida Saludable
¿Sere yo Co-dependiente?
Día de la Madres
Estado de Well Connected Español (Foro Comunitario)
How can people sign up to join?
They can register the following ways for the program;
|¿Cómo pueden las personas registrarse para unirse?
Pueden registrar de las siguientes formas para el Programa;
Teléfono: (877) 400-5867
Correo Postal: 881 Turk Street | San Francisco, CA 94102
WhatsApp: (415) 602-9518
What if people want to volunteer? How can people get involved?
People can get involved as a facilitator for activities, as a member of the advisory council to advise program manager or as a volunteer helping promote and or send birthday and thank you cards out. To get involved, you can call me, Lizette, at (877) 400-5867 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|¿Qué pasa si la gente quiere ser voluntario? ¿Cómo pueden involucrarse las personas?
Las personas pueden participar como facilitador de actividades, como miembro del Comité Asesor para asesorar coordinador de programa o como voluntario para ayudar a promocionar y / o enviar tarjetas de cumpleaños y de agradecimiento.
Para participar, puede llamarme, Lizette, al (877) 400-5867 o envíe un e-mail a email@example.com.
What else do you want people to know about Well Connected Español?
Well Connected Espanol is a program by and for Latino elders. This program is only possible with the participation and volunteerism of the community. Together, we put together a great selection of classes and facilitators to make the experience very enjoyable for participants. We hope people participate, consider volunteering, and help us spread the word that Well Connected Español is launching and is here to stay!
|¿Qué más quieres que la gente sepa sobre Well Connected Español?
Well Connected Espanol es un programa de y para personas mayores Latinas. Este programa solo es posible con la participación y voluntariado de la comunidad. Juntos, organizamos una gran selección de clases y facilitadores para que la experiencia sea muy agradable para los participantes. ¡Esperamos que la gente participe, considere ser voluntario y nos ayude a difundir la noticia de que Well Connected Español se está lanzando y está aquí para quedarse!
The Well Connected and Well Connected Español Spring Session begin Monday, April 8, 2019.
La sesión de primavera de Well Connected y Well Connected Español comienza el lunes 8 de abril de 2019.
The Covia Foundation’s 8th Annual Celtic Cup golf tournament, dinner and live auction takes place Monday, April 29th at the historic Berkeley Country Club. Funds raised by the event will support affordable housing and programs to reduce social isolation, provide for immediate needs and emergencies, and improve food security for seniors. Registration is now open.
The Berkeley Country Club, located in the hills above the Bay with three bridge views, has a personal connection to Covia: Mike Westall, the President of the Board, resides with his wife at St. Paul’s Towers, a Covia Life Plan Community in Oakland, California.
The golf course, designed by famed architect Robert Hunter in 1920, was fully restored in 2011, receiving the first ever Award for Excellence from the prestigious American Golf Architects Association.
This year’s Gala Dinner and Live Auction will be hosted by Liam Mayclem, Emmy Award-winning Co-Host of CBS Eye on the Bay and the KCBS Foodie Chap. He and his partner recently opened Noe’s Cantina in San Francisco.
Liam recently visited Oak Center Towers, a Covia Affordable Community, to see Covia’s services in action. “In a short time, Liam was able to meet several residents, some of whom recognized him from his media work. I can tell he’s going to bring a really personal touch to the event,” says Julie Hoerl, Covia Foundation Development Manager.
Mayclem is also contributing personally to the live auction. “He told us that he loves to do auction items that bring donors together with the mission,” Hoerl says. “In addition to providing a private event at his restaurant, he offered to host a dinner at a Covia Affordable Community for auction winners and seniors who live at the community. He’s even going to provide the recipe for his family’s Shepherd’s Pie.”
Other Live Auction items include a Hawaii getaway, Wine Country weekends, and hard-to-come-by sporting event tickets.
The gala dinner and auction will take place in the Berkeley Country Club’s English Tudor-style clubhouse, a historic building fully restored in 2002, with panoramic views of the Bay.
Funds raised from the event support Covia’s Affordable Housing and Community Services programs, offering housing and services for low-income or isolated seniors. In the past, funds raised from the Celtic Cup have helped open new Market Day locations, supported needed life-safety improvements in Affordable Senior Housing, and provided emergency funding for low income seniors.
Golf registration is available for individuals and foursomes and includes the evening reception, dinner and live auction. Evening-only tickets are also available. Individuals or foursomes can register online. Space is limited. For more information, visit CelticCup.org or contact the Covia Foundation at 925.956.7448.