By Susan Saldibar

My daughter is a second-grade teacher in the heart of inner-city LA. The pay sucks, but there is a passion in her voice when she talks about her students that is almost impossible to describe.

I get the same feeling listening to Donna and Shelby, two KARE HEROes you have to meet.

Tune in to this KARE-ing Conversations episode, and get ready to be moved.

Listening to the stories of CNA Donna and LNA Shelby was powerful to say the least. I can’t properly articulate what I hear in their voices, but it’s beautiful to behold.

First, kudos are due to Jordan Evans of KARE (a Foresight partner) for bringing these KARE HEROes in to speak. KARE is 100% dedicated to serving the needs of the careforce (CNAs, LNAs and others) — so much so that they keep adding useful resources to their app (the latest is Stride, a broker for affordable health care).

Meet KARE HERO Donna:

  1. Donna is a proud Texan and mom of five boys!
  2. She got started doing private in-home care and “fell in love” with caring for older individuals.
  3. She works full-time as a transportation driver for a senior living community (does it for the insurance — what else is new) and uses the KARE app for extra shift work.
  4. One of her aha moments was using KARE to secure a gig in Colorado. She enjoyed getting on a plane and working in new and different environments. Still does!
  5. Donna’s passion for caregiving is riveting. She once told a resident who was missing her granddaughter during COVID, “I’ll be your granddaughter now,” to the comfort and delight of the woman. How amazing is that?

Meet KARE HERO Shelby:

  1. Originally from Vermont, Shelby is a full-time LNA in a senior living community.
  2. At age 18, while working at a gas station, she realized that she wanted to do something meaningful with her life.
  3. Shelby loves what she does but hates just sitting around watching TV with residents. She is constantly asking, “What more can I do to help?”
  4. Prior to earning her own credential, Shelby learned a lot by working as an LNA assistant and witnessing what they did and, more importantly, what she could do better.
  5. Shelby describes CNAs and LNAs as the “backbone” for nurses. “They often forget that.”

Five things Shelby and Donna want you to know:

  1. They love what they do and develop deep relationships with residents.
  2. They know more about residents than the nurses do. Way more. “When nurses are in a conversation with a family and they ask a question, the nurses always turn to us for answers,” Shelby says.
  3. They are not there to “take over” anyone’s job. They are there to help the nurses and other CNAs.
  4. They and other care workers really, really need access to affordable health and dental care. Give them access, and they’ll be more likely to stay.
  5. KARE is making them better caregivers. It gives them a platform to connect with each other and lets them share stories and words of advice. Shelby met Donna through the KARE community. Both women have inspired each other.

And, finally, three things you should know about KARE:

  1. KARE is an app that helps CNAs/LNAs and other members of the careforce find part-time gigs. It’s a great way for full-time employees to pick up some extra hours.
  2. KARE makes your careforce better because it gives them an opportunity to gain support from one another. KARE HEROes get to know other KARE HEROes, and there is an esprit de corps that follows them wherever they work.
  3. KARE now partners with Stride, an organization that brokers affordable health insurance for gig workers. So if you aren’t able to afford great health care for your careforce, you can turn them on to KARE.

If you still have any doubt about just how important your careforce is, you need to watch the KARE-ing Conversations livestream.

“CNAs are the heart and soul of a community,” Donna says. “But you have to have a heart for this business. It ain’t for the weak.”

To learn more about KARE and what they are doing to support care workers everywhere, click here.