“This isn’t a job for everybody. You really have to have a passion to do this. I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
Slidell, Louisiana – March 2021
I am Natasha Edwards and I am the Home Manager for Olympia and Constance Community Homes in the Community Living Services program for Volunteers of America Southeast Louisiana. This year, I will have worked for VOA Southeast Louisiana for 15 years.
I started as a Direct Service Professional in 2005 and became a home manager within a year and I’m currently managing two of VOA’s community living homes. This is just something I’ve always been doing—I love helping others. I guess you could say that it’s my calling. This is just what I do.
The thing I like most about my job is that I love the residents. Half of them are older than me but they still call me Momma. I used to take care of my grandmother and I have always been the person who helps everyone in the family.
I started out here part-time 15 years ago and now I’m managing two homes. Who would have thought that? I didn’t have to work but I truly love it.
One of my fondest memories is of one of the residents—Brittany. She was able to go home for a month. She wanted to go home and be with her family so badly. It put a huge smile on her face and it was so rewarding to see her so happy.
There’s another resident, Jacob. He is non-verbal but he’ll communicate with me. If anybody does anything or if he sees anything, he will come find me and tell me the problem. He’ll write it down. He’ll come sit in the office with me. There is just something special about Jacob since he came here. I just took to him. Jacob has been at the Olympia Community Home for nearly three years. He’s 15-years-old and recently graduated from St. Michael Special School.
I love all of them, and that’s what makes this job so special.
This is a 24-hour facility. Everybody is diagnosed with different diagnoses. They have their good days and their bad days, so if someone is having a bad day, it might trigger someone else. But you’ve just got to go with it. I always tell them that we (the staff) are here for a reason, and they (the residents) are here for a reason. We’ve just got to make it work. We are here to redirect them. This isn’t a job for everybody. You really have to have a passion to do this. I can’t imagine doing anything else.