CALA’s Advocate of the Year Award honors CALA members who actively build relationships with legislators, support CALA’s policy priorities, and demonstrate a commitment to grassroots action on behalf of Assisted Living. During today’s Assisted Living Advocacy Day, we were proud to honor three CALA members as 2014 Advocates of the Year:
Mark Cimino – CiminoCare
Mark’s 2014 advocacy efforts can be summed up in one word: hands-on. He reached out to legislative offices—both in person and by letter—to discuss bills and speak in support of the Assisted Living Waiver program. He organized and led many speaking engagements to educate others about Assisted Living and the benefits of intergenerational interaction. And, when Assemblymember Ken Cooley visited Citrus Heights Terrace, Mark didn’t just tour him around; rather, he encouraged the Assemblymember to really get to know the residents by participating in a life enrichment program with them. Through Mark’s hands-on efforts, legislators and the public better understand the positive impact of Assisted Living.
Terry Ervin – Oakmont Management Group
For Terry, the most valuable advocacy tool is first-hand experience of Assisted Living. In addition to attending CALA’s advocacy events, Terry made sure that policymakers and the general public felt at home in his community. In particular, he helped to organize six legislative visits at Oakmont of Carmichael throughout the year; during two of the visits, his residents were honored with Certificates of Recognition for their community service efforts. His educational presentations to community groups highlighted the variety of options available in Assisted Living, and he gave local students meaningful access to residents, family members, and colleagues during an internship expo held at his community.
Deborah Godt – Revere Court
The impact of Deborah’s efforts during a particularly challenging year cannot be underestimated. She wrote, called, faxed, and met one-on-one with organizations and policymakers to make sure they understood the importance of fighting against drive-by lawsuits as well as the impact that pending legislation would have on their elder citizens and their communities-at-large. She formed particularly strong relationships with staffers during these calls and meetings, which led to many officials attending the grand opening of her community. Finally, her testimony in the Assembly Budget Committee voiced strong support of the DSS budget, leading to much-needed reforms within the department.
Congratulations to all three Advocates of the Year, and thank you for your commitment to educating policymakers and community leaders on the importance of Assisted Living!