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East Ridge at Cutler Bay, the area’s only life plan community, recently recognized eight employees as the community’s 2019 Associate Scholarship recipients.

The East Ridge at Cutler Bay Foundation’s scholarship program has been in existence for only four years and to date, has distributed more than $36,000 in scholarships. All funds are donated by East Ridge residents, family members, friends and employees.

“Residents and associates have a symbiotic relationship,” said Troy Hart, President of SantaFe Senior Living and East Ridge. “We find time after time on our resident satisfaction surveys that nothing is rated higher than the relationships developed with staff. Residents see an opportunity for employees to grow through furthering their education and want to be part of their successes. It’s important that we celebrate these bonds.”

A committee of community residents including Mary Cross, Jeff Haller, Cynthia Kay, Thomasine Morris, and Sandra Reed along with East Ridge’s Executive Director Ken Cormier and Human Resource Business Partner Debbion McFarlane reviewed each applicant’s submission.

The criteria used to select recipients are based on the number of hours the employee works at East Ridge, length of his or her employment, supervisors’ recommendation, grade point average and personal essay. Scholarship amounts vary and are paid to the educational institution of the applicant.

The recipients of this year’s scholarships, which totaled $16,000, include:

  • Call Center Clerk Kristine Baiardi, who is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in architecture at Miami Dade College;
  • Three Palms Skilled Nursing Certified Nursing Assistant Nia McDuffey, who is pursuing her practical nurse license at Robert Morgan Educational Center;
  • Three Palms Skilled Nursing Assistant Antoria Carter who is pursuing her practical nurse license at Robert Morgan Educational Center;
  • Three Palms Skilled Nursing Certified Nursing Assistant Laura Charite who is pursuing an associate degree in nursing at Miami Dade College;
  • Call Center Coordinator Andrea Luebano who is pursuing a Master in Social Work at Miami Dade College;
  • Assisted Living Department Registered Nurse Udaipaul Persaud who is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in nursing at Miami Dade College;
  • Home Health Aide Triniquea Hall who is attending Life Line Med Training and pursuing a medical assistant certification;
  • Environmental Services Housekeeper Amparo Montejo who is pursuing a cosmetology certification at La Belle Beauty Academy.

Persaud, who started his tenure at East Ridge as a certified nursing assistant 14 years ago, thanked residents for their support and contributions.

“This scholarship will go a long way toward to my future and enable me to give back to society,” he said. “My ultimate goal is to become a mental health practitioner and the possibilities in that field are unlimited.”

A Growing Scholarship Program

In only three years, the scholarship fund has more than doubled and the recipients have multiplied and at the recent Scholarship Award Presentation, eight employees received scholarships to assist with their college tuition.
A committee of residents including Jeff Haller, Sandra Reed, and Tommie Morris along with East Ridge managers Executive Director Ken Cormier, Human Resource Director Debbion McFarlane, and Foundation Director David Kremer reviewed each applicant’s submission.

“The criteria used to select recipients is based on the number of hours the employees works at East Ridge, length of their employment, supervisors’ recommendation, their grade point average and personal essay,” said Kremer. “The amount of the scholarship varies and is paid to the educational institution of the applicant.”

2018 recipients include:

  • Certified Nursing Associate Samantha Avilla, who is attending Keiser University for a degree in nursing;
  • Assisted Living Associate Alexis Brooks, who is attending Saber College for a nursing degree;
  • Dietary Aide Lisa Brown, who is attending Fortis College and studying radiology;
  • Dietary Aide Rose Denezaire, who is studying at the American Medical Academy for a degree in nursing;
  • Dietary Aide Donna Dyal, studying nursing at Fortis College;
  • Call Center Coordinator Andrea Hernandez-Luebano, who is attending Miami Dade College and seeking a degree in social work;
  • Dietary Aide Shacque Paddyfoot, attending GTB Aviation Technical College to become an airline mechanic
  • Certified Nursing Associate Michelle Toth-Castillo, who is studying psychiatry at Harvard Extension.

“We are so proud to see the impact receiving the scholarship makes in someone’s life,” added Kremer. “It validates the commitment these employees make to East Ridge and our residents. These are employees, who in addition to working at East Ridge, are attended colleges to further their careers. Many balance their East Ridge job with school and family responsibilities. It’s very gratifying to know we are able to help them improve their lives.”

Congratulations to each of the award recipients and continued success!

To learn more about the East Ridge at Cutler Bay Foundation’s Scholarship program, please call David Kremer at 352-262-6510.

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