“I joined the Board of Directors of Ed-U-CARE because I hoped that my 26 years working in not-for-profit organizations to improve the quality of life for older adults and their families and 40 years serving in professional and personal caregiving roles would be an asset to the organization.
“I am a social worker and social work educator. I have cared for children and young adults when they needed a place to live for protection and safety. I have rescued dogs that were left on busy highways and taken care of cats for a friend with asthma. I have taught family members and professional caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease communication and behavior management skills and the importance of stress management to prevent burnout.
“But it was not until I met Sharyn Fein, founder of Ed-U-Care and heard her vision for Ed-U-CARE that I realized I, too, needed self-compassion and support. Sharyn’s vision is to support marginalized and isolated older adults, as well as their caregivers.
“Ed-U-CARE supports the marginalized groups in our society by encouraging healthy living choices through education, cultural humility training, exploration and self-awareness. We also work with professional and personal care givers who may experience Compassion Fatigue.
“I have personally benefitted from the service provided by Ed-U-Care. Through the four annual Compassion Fatigue symposia I finally understood that those of us who teach others about caregiving and compassion fatigue, also have to take care of ourselves. I came to accept that being vulnerable is not a weakness, but an inherent part of being human. I believe that because of my involvement in Ed-U-CARE as Board member, educator, volunteer and program participant that I have become a more loving and giving daughter to my wonderful 103-year-old father and have begun practicing better self care strategies.
“Like the many other regulars who return each year to the annual Compassion Fatigue Symposium, I look forward to Fifth Annual Compassion Fatigue Symposium Spring 2016 and the lessons and strategies I will learn for self-care, self-compassion and healing. As a Board member and volunteer, I am proud that we encourage healthy living choices for personal and professional caregivers, as I want others to benefit from our services as I have.
“This is our first year participating in North Texas Giving Day. We plan to use the donations raised on September 17 to help fund next year’s Compassion Fatigue Symposium so we can help more caregivers.
-By Harriet L. Cohen, PhD, LCSW, Ed-U-Care Board Member
* Photo credit: Mohon-Sturch Photography