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A Carnation’s Coronation: Reaves Receives 18th Wolff Care Giving Award


A person doing the work they were born to do brings light to the lives of all those around them. The light that shines from Village Shalom Programs Assistant, Dolores Reaves, has helped to blossom the lives of residents in the community’s memory care neighborhoods for more than 15 years. Friend, teacher, advocate, and caregiver – the roles Reaves plays are as vast as her extensive collection of flower bows. On Jan. 29, this carnation received a fitting coronation, when Reaves became the 18th recipient of Village Shalom’s Wolff Excellence in Care Giving Award. 


Dolores Reaves flashes a big smile to accompany her signature flower bow after Peggy Lewis (right) presented her with the Joseph and Eleanor Wolff Excellence in Care Giving Award. 

The Joseph and Eleanor Wolff Excellence in Care Giving Award was established by the Wolff family in 2007. Eleanor Wolff was a resident in Village Shalom’s Weinberg Health Center prior to her passing in 2006. Her sons were so pleased with the extraordinary kindness and wonderful care she received, that they established a fund to reward outstanding Village Shalom employees who directly serve the needs of the community’s skilled nursing residents. The award provides a $750 cash prize, a statuette and a permanent place on the Wolff Award recipient wall in Village Shalom’s Weinberg Health Center. The fund will recognize two winners a year for a total of 25 years. 

“Dolores is the epitome of an activity professional. She has a certain set of skills and knowledge that allows her to create and conduct programs appropriate for our memory-challenged residents day-in and day-out,” said Village Shalom Director of Resident Services, Eileen Miller. “What’s most impressive is her passion for her work, which hasn’t diminished one iota in the 15 years she’s been here.” 

Caring for those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia truly is a passion for Reaves. Not only does she have a special knack for interacting and developing programming for these residents, she’s also a fierce advocate for the cause – always volunteering to organize campus-wide fundraisers and represent Village Shalom at community Alzheimer’s events.

Reaves was selected from a field of eight candidates. The other nominees were Rocky DeLaCruz, Kim Green, Christopher Murei, Yawna Simmons, Joyce Smith, Winnie Tesema and Meghan Tierney. Wolff Award nominations are made by fellow employees, skilled nursing residents, their family members, board members, volunteers and other visitors. The community’s management team serves as the award’s selection committee. 

Nominees must meet several criteria to be eligible to receive the award. The candidate must put the needs of residents first, focus on resident-centered care, actively observe Residents’ Rights, be a demonstrated team player, go “above and beyond’ in all interactions, and actively “live the mission” by providing the highest quality of resident care to meet physical, social and spiritual needs. Reaves was nominated for the award by her co-workers Zenette Kearney, Peggy Lewis and Laura Ryan.