Erika, an AKOTA Home Care caregiver, came to this country from El Salvador 17 years ago. At first it was a difficult transition. Her English wasn’t good enough for many jobs, so she worked as a cleaner while she took English classes, eventually qualifying for Job Corps classes to become a Certified Nurse’s Aide.
“I always wanted to be a nurse” Erika told me, “and being a caregiver allows me to care for people in their own homes. I cared for one client for 14 years! When you take care of people, you get to know them really well. You understand them and are able to calm their fears. You learn from each other, and they learn to trust you.”
Jesus’ parable, The Workers in the Vineyard (Mt 20:1-16) speaks to the experience of many of our caregivers. While some of us have been blessed to have been born in the United States, others have come to this country at the 3 o’clock or the 5 o’clock hour. These immigrants often find employment more difficult to come by. “Why do you stand here idle all day?” the Land-owner in the parable asks. The unemployed answer, “Because no one has hired us.” The landowner said to them, “You too go into my vineyard.”
The picture above is of the Christ Church Cathedral at Oxford University. Construction began in 1160 AD and was finished a swift 60 years later in 1200. This picture was captured in September, 2017. The cathedral is still being used daily 857 years after construction! The cathedral was built by hands similar to Erika mentioned above….as a labor of love by some who were English and others who did not necessarily call England their original home but who, with loving and caring hands, built not just a structure but a cathedral. And the impact of their work is still being felt hundreds of years later.
At AKOTA, we feel we are doing the same thing…We are not just running a business! We are building a cathedral in the hearts and minds of our clients, caregivers and staff to the glory of God. And although we have been loving and serving our clients and caregivers for almost 24 years, we hope to still be loving and serving for years to come (although I don’t know about 857 years…that would be a LONG TERM business plan!).
Many of our caregivers are born in America, but many often come to us as refugees from war torn countries. Other find their way here in search of the American Dream. Regardless of their origin, all our caregivers are seeking a just wage, and the safety and security of a steady job. AKOTA provides this pathway for employment and citizenship. Just like the Land-owner in the parable, we wish to give all our caregivers an opportunity to love and serve in their chosen career path no matter what time they arrive at our vineyard. This is why our caregivers are not independent contractors, but employees of our company. Thus, we can provide them a just wage, paid sick leave, paid vacation time, a 401(k) retirement package, health insurance and other benefits. Because we care for our caregivers like family, we provide continuing education programs, and tuition reimbursement for CNA classes.
In the words of Natasha, another of our dedicated caregivers, “AKOTA is a family. The care team functions as a family, and we care for our clients like family.”
We welcome you to become one of our family too. For more information on how AKOTA cares for people in their homes, please see our website: www.AKOTAhc.com or call one a member of our care team: 1-877-549-7894.
(By the way, in constructing the cathedral, the builders intentionally started with relatively little ornamentation at ground level and increased the delicacy and ornamentation of the construction as they went up. This was to draw the eye to heaven and to bring glory to God. In the same way, we hope that as we build we get more and more skilled at loving and serving!)