Staff Highlight: Vonkisha

While 2020 was a year of many firsts for us all, our clients at Orchard Village faced no exception. All of our residential clients were sheltered-in-place during the stay-at-home orders and had essentially been quarantining together over the fall and winter last year. We interviewed one of our staff members, Vonkisha Jordan, who quarantined with clients in their home not just once, but twice.

The first time Vonkisha was quarantined, she stayed in Orchard Village’s Floral home for seventeen days straight. This was right before Thanksgiving, and just a week before someone at Orchard Village was exposed to the Coronavirus. During Vonkisha’s time at Floral, she got inventive and mapped out a routine for the clients to keep them engaged and build a sense of normalcy. This involved regularly playing board games with one another, drawing, and one of many clients’ favorite activities, listening to music. Vonkisha also fostered the importance of going outside and getting some fresh air, which was an asset to our clients’ mental health while they were sheltered in place. As she said, “The job is what you make it”, and she was certainly a bright light in these difficult times.

During Vonkisha’s second quarantine, she stayed at Orchard Village’s Newcastle residence. This time, the quarantine occurred right before Christmas, and as you can imagine this took a great toll on clients who were not able to see their families for the holidays. This was also unusual for Vonkisha to be away from her family during this time, but she says that “these guys [are] family, you do what you can for them.” Vonkisha once again used her creativity and taught each client how to use FaceTime, so that they could visit their families, even though that looked slightly different this year. The clients also taught one another to play pool and found various ways to have fun and stay in good spirits despite the situation. Of the clients she was quarantined with both times, Vonkisha said “to know them is to love them.”

Thank you, Vonkisha, for sharing your story, and for helping to keep Orchard Village’s residents safe as we navigated this challenging year!