Capitol Ridge at Providence Celebrates Commitment of Long-time Associates
Capitol Ridge at Providence, a Benchmark community since 2004, unveiled a “Commitment and Compassion” wall honoring the passionate and dedicated long-term associates who have been part of the Capitol Ridge community for five years or more.
A dedication ceremony was held on March 15 and 33 associates were recognized for their combined 394 years of service.
“The event was very heartfelt—it was great to see the staff recognized for all of the hard work they do,” Capitol Ridge Executive Director Kelly LaFazia said. “What impressed me the most was how supportive all of the coworkers were of one another. They really cheer each other on and have so much respect for each other.”
Associates from across all departments at Capitol Ridge were recognized. Three of the longest-serving associates honored were Medication Technician Cruz “Yvette” Cruz, Dining Services Director David Silva and Front Desk Receptionist Sharon Shaw.
Cruz, who just celebrated 20 years at Capitol Ridge, was hired right out of high school as a nursing assistant at the age of 18. She has spent her entire professional career here. “You don’t realize how quickly 20 years can fly by,” she said. “It felt like I just started here yesterday.”
She recalled how when she first started working at Capitol Ridge some of the residents would chide her—telling her she was young enough to be their granddaughter and requesting another employee. “They’d tell me ‘I’m sure you know how to do your job, but I want someone else,’” Cruz said. “Now I have residents requesting me by name and asking to see me. So it’s nice to know that I worked myself into part of a community.”
Cruz became close not only with the residents in the community, but with her coworkers as well. “We’re a very tight-knit group,” she said. “I love my coworkers, we’re a tight knit team, and I think the residents really benefit from that.”
It was actually one of these coworkers who pushed Cruz to become a Medication Technician. “I was a little hesitant—there are a lot of responsibilities that come along with this position—but [my coworker] kept telling me ‘You can do more Yvette, I know you can do more.’ So eventually I took the classes and became a Medication Technician two years ago and I wouldn’t change a thing.”
Capitol Ridge isn’t just a senior living space, but it’s an integral part of the Smith Hill neighborhood of Providence in which it is located. David Silva, a Smith Hill native himself, recalls one particular resident who, before coming to Capitol Ridge, lived on the same street Silva grew up on. “It was great to be able to reminisce about the neighborhood with her,” Silva said. “We were members of the same parish, we watched the neighborhood grow and change, and it was great to have that connection.”
As the Dining Services Director, Silva wears many hats, but this just allows him to interact with more residents—an aspect of his job that he loves. “We really get to become like family,” he said. “I cook, I manage, I do whatever I can to make the residents happy, because at the end of the day we’re really here for them. It’s a great feeling coming into work every day, seeing that the residents really do appreciate what we do.”
Front Desk Receptionist Sharon Shaw is typically one of the first points of contact for residents and their families. An associate at Capitol Ridge since 2005, Shaw reflected fondly on all of the friends she’s made throughout her years at the community. “I get to know our residents as they are now, but also get to learn about them as they were, and what’s made them who they are,” she said. “I get to learn about the lives they’ve lived, and I am able to relate to so many of them on so many different levels. It’s like looking back at your parents and trying to picture them as they were in stories you’ve heard.”
Benchmark Senior Living Founder, Chairman and CEO Tom Grape and Executive Vice President of Operations and Sales Jayne Sallerson both attended the dedication ceremony. Grape founded Benchmark in 1997 with the belief that what truly sets this organization apart is an associate’s ability to connect personally with a community’s residents, their families, and with their fellow associates—something all of those honored last week embody.
“The beautiful thing about being able to honor the longest-serving associates at Capitol Ridge is that they have perfected how to elevate human connection over the years,” Grape said. “They have cared for and shared love for and reached out to our residents, their families and their fellow associated in ways only they know. It’s a reflex for them – and that’s a core value they demonstrate every day. And because it’s at the core of what they value – it’s a Benchmark value too.”
Benchmark is celebrating 20 years of loving support of seniors and their families and an innovative approach to care. With 54 communities, Benchmark is the largest provider of senior housing in the Northeast.
View a full list of Capitol Ridge honorees below.
Cruz “Yvette” Cruz
Karen E. DiStefano
Thambyiah J. Manokaran