Volunteers of America and Senior CommUnity Care PACE are pleased to announce Cara Helmick as their new center manager at the Eckert site in Delta County. Helmick was previously the director of social work and behavioral health and will retain these responsibilities in addition to her new responsibilities as center manager.
Helmick's goals are to familiarize herself with the program's partners and community providers while learning the challenges and strategically developing solutions with her team.
"Empathy is one of the qualities I value most in a leader. I believe that understanding the experiences of others assists us as leaders to better support our employees," Helmick said. "It also keeps us connected to our employees so as to better recognize needs and praise success. Connection to the community is vital -- it's important to be involved in what's happening and truly lead through service." Her longterm goal is to develop a strong presence as the provider of choice for older adults in Delta County.
Helmick began her journey with Senior CommUnity Care PACE five and a half years ago. She is a licensed clinical social worker. Prior to joining Volunteers of America, she worked as a substance abuse therapist in the community. In 2013, after obtaining her master's in social work, she discovered that traditional social work was her passion and joined the PACE team.
"One of the things I value most about working for Volunteers of America is the opportunities afforded to staff to develop professionally and move within the organization," she said.
Helmick's personal experience has shaped her attraction to providing aging services.
"I have been so fortunate to have special relationships with each of my grandparents. They have inspired me to work hard and to live a full life. In seeing them age, I understand the importance of aging in place -- that is why PACE is so special to me," she said. "I can't imagine being asked to live anywhere else besides my own home. Why would that be different for anyone else? I think the work we do for older adults in our community is incredible. You truly cannot understand it until you experience it."
Senior CommUnity Care PACE, a program of Volunteers of America, is a nonprofit, faith-based organization that has served Montrose and Delta counties for 10 years. PACE enrollees are age 55 and over and meet a nursing home level of care, but more than 95 percent are able to live in the community with the services and support they receive through PACE.
Executive director Cindy Simmers said, "Cara has proven herself to be a dedicated, passionate team member. Her work ethic and positive attributes have made it easy to place her into leadership roles where she excels. We are extremely excited to have Cara as the new center manager and look forward to the positive influence she will have overall."
Helmick is a Delta County native. She grew up in Hotchkiss and now lives in Austin. She and her family enjoy spending time outdoors traveling, camping, fishing and paddle boarding.
"I love that Delta County is small and inter-connected. I also love all of the outdoor access -- you can travel 15-30 minutes from home and be at a lake, a river, or on top of the Grand Mesa!" she said.
To learn more about Senior CommUnity Care PACE, visit www.seniorcommunitycare.org or contact the Eckert center at 970-835-2900.