Thomasville - Joan Dukes makes her rounds, saying hello to residents at Cameilla Gardens life center. "It's so good to see you," she says to a patient. At 70, she's older than some of the patients she takes care of as a nursing aid.
Dukes says, "It gives me something to look forward to and I just enjoy it. I love these people out here. They're great." But Dukes is new to the medical field. At 68, she was laid off from a job she held for 2 decades. She needed something to do with her time, and she needed money.
Jobs with Dignity Director Brenda Russell says, "I said, 'If you had a blank slate right now, what is it that you'd like to do?' And she said, 'All my life, I've wanted to be a nurse.'" So, through Jobs with Dignity, a program that places seniors in new careers, Dukes went school to be a nurse's aid. Four weeks later, she was employed.
Resident Bertha Chestnut says, "She helps do what we need done. All you got to do is turn on the light and she's right there. She is doing an excellent job." A job that she loves.
If you are over 55 and interested in finding employment, contact Brenda Russell at Jobs with Dignity. That number is (229) 378-1105.