Paurvi Bhatt lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she lived with and cared for her mother for the past 9 years until her mother died in early 2022. She’s been a caregiver since she was 28, supporting her father who had dementia and her mother who had complex lung disease and multiple cancers. Paurvi is trained in health systems and public health, and has been a global healthcare leader for most of her career. Being an only child, daughter, and caregiver of immigrant parents gave her a unique “front row seat” to appreciating what really happens when “care comes home”. She’s excited to join the 2022 National Fellowship for Caring Across Generations to help ensure future of care at home is responsive to ethnic differences, and seamless across insurers, agencies, workforce, and families so we can focus on those we love as they approach the end of life. In her free time, you can catch Paurvi singing along with bands from the 70s and 80s at concerts or in the car when she thinks no one is listening!
Taylor Calderone lives in the NYC suburbs of northern New Jersey. As a millennial member of the sandwich generation, she cared for her mother and then her father (who both fell ill in relatively quick succession), while also caring for her two very young children. She hopes that in telling her story, she will help to raise awareness of the value of care in our society and reduce the stigma many face when they make the choice to prioritize caregiving. Growing up, she studied ballet, and she remembers her mom and dad showing up for every performance. She believes that, even on the difficult days, the most important part of caregiving is showing up for those we love.
Pretial lives in Nashville, Tennessee and has been a caregiver to her mother for eighteen (18) years. She wants a positive community to connect with caregivers. Pretial believes she has something to contribute with her personal caregiver experience and professional experience in advocacy, law, and policy. Pretial really loves learning new things and creative writing, so she is working a Young Adult fiction and is working to utilize tech to help close the wage gap for women faster.
My name is Maikaaloa Clarke, many folks know me as Maika. I live in San Jose, Ca within the Aboriginal territory of the Tamien people. I am a proud member of the Indigenous Hawaiian Nation. I have been a caregiver since I started babysitting at the age of nine, since then I have decades of professional and personal experience taking care of children, elders and people experiencing disability. I also have experience of chronic illness, disability and relating to my own caregivers. I applied to be a fellow at CAG because I wanted to connect with people who understand the challenges that come with giving and receiving care and like me want to work towards making positive changes at a systemic level. I’m a true romantic and am starting a business as a Wedding Officiant and pre-marital counselor. I even performed my brother’s wedding ceremony via Zoom during the Covid lockdown last year.
Kathryn DeBruler lives in Dallas, Texas, a city that has instilled in her a deep and abiding belief in the power of “y’all.” She began caregiving in 2017 when her father – the primary caregiver for Kathryn’s mom, who has advanced multiple sclerosis – was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Looking back, she knows her parents would have greatly benefitted from an effective, affordable system of care. Until that exists, Kathryn is excited to join Caring Across Generations’ fellowship so she can help bring awareness to caregiving, advocate for caregiving reform, and be a resource and support for others. In her free time she loves creating new recipes using whatever ingredients are on hand.
Porothea Dennis lives in Dayton, Ohio where she cares for her family, friends, and others in the community. Her family members and others she cares for or has cared for in the past have diagnoses of hypertension, diabetes, PTSD, heart disease, and other issues. She joined the fellowship to learn how to access other resources through networking with others who are caregivers, to enhance her knowledge to obtain adequate care for the individuals and community she lives in. She loves watching Investigation Discovery and at one time wanted to be a private investigator.
My Name is Cinthia (Cindy) DeVries and I live in Muskegon, Michigan which is on the west side of the state. My neighborhood is nestled between the beautiful Muskegon Lake and the sand dunes of Lake Michigan. I currently care for my 27-year-old adopted daughter who lives independently but requires daily help from both family and her support staff, and my 84-year-old mother who just moved out of our house and in with my sister whose house is a single level. my siblings and myself divided the care tasks; I am responsible for all her medical needs. Prior to my mom moving in with me for 8 years, she lived next door caring for my grandma so I could help with her care. I joined the fellowship because I live with the daily need of quality support staff for my daughter and have experienced losing quality people due to lack of pay. I also work for a non-profit agency that provides services to the special needs community and deal with the lack of workers due to low pay. I really love Mickey Mouse and love going to Disney World because everyone is always happy!
My name is Jonathan W. Eliacin. I currently live in Teaneck NJ and am originally from Rockland County, NY. My mother was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when I was eleven years old, I was her primary caretaker for 14 years. Now that I’m married and no longer living with her, I’m not currently her primary caretaker but still help as I can. I joined the fellowship to help the young caretakers, mainly boys of color to not experience the same struggle I did. Having to take care of a parent is no easy task, especially when it happens at a young age. Any added help to ease the transition and lighten the load a bit I feel would greatly help through the light being shed. A fun fact about myself, is I’m currently an architecture major at NJIT.
Greetings from Dracut, Massachusetts, a serene farming community. The seeds of caretaking were planted decades ago when I was a sprout. Throughout the years providing care for loved ones (presently my husband Sean) has been and is my great privilege. Oppression is a weed which is happily removed with staunch advocacy. In joining the Caring Across Generations Care Fellowship, I strive to cultivate an abundant space where person-centered care is revered and protected. As a logophile, I close with this word of the day, in benignancy: sympathetic concern for the well being of others.
Karen Hill lives in northeast New Jersey where she cared for both of her parents until they both recently succumbed to their chronic ailments (dementia and cardiovascular disease). She is also currently managing her own ever-changing symptoms related to an autoimmune diagnosis. The realization of the need for strong advocacy for caregivers became even more apparent to her while caring for her parents. This fueled her high interest to partner with an organization like CAG; a major desire to cultivate a voice that will have a greater impact based on her frustration with varying healthcare systems and address the glaring disparities amongst socioeconomic, racial, and cultural demographics. Karen loves to travel and her happy place is the beach.
G.J. was formerly a solo, 24/7 caregiver for his adoptive grandfather, who had Alzheimer’s Disease. She currently supports her chronically ill partner and kiddo, all proudly neurodivergent. G.J. joined the fellowship because supporting caregiving has become their passion. “There are tremendous stories and research for us to share, but we have to network to find each other and we must understand policy and care advocacy to help our impact strengthen, respond, and endure.” G.J. finished graduate school early in the pandemic and is developing a podcast to talk about how COVID is changing our lives and culture.
My name is Lyssette Horne and I am a chronically ill, non-binary, queer, Black femme fighting for health equity. As a doubly disabled couple, my husband and I care for each other and our emotional support animals. After I became diagnosed with skin cancer at 29 I began to understand how difficult it is to navigate the health care system as a single working adult living paycheck-to-paycheck. My hope in joining the fellowship is to create change that allows disabled and chronically ill people to thrive and not just survive. I believe that when we show up as ourselves authentically, we give others permission to be themselves.
Her name is Cheryl Shay Johns-Kilgore and she hails from Charlotte, North Carolina. She is a Caregiver to her mother, husband and family friend with Alzheimer’s and joined Caring Across Generations to learn how to narrow the gap in care for people of color. She hopes to use her experience as a Fellow to start making significant changes in the way care is perceived. She enjoys reading, waterfalls and swimming, when she can.
Jennifer Kucera currently resides near Cleveland, Ohio. She was born with a form of Muscular Dystrophy called Spinal Muscular Atrophy. She has had caregivers all of her life, starting with her parents, who helped with all of her activities of daily living. She currently lives independently, in her own apartment, with the assistance of caregivers. Without caregiver support, she would have to live in an institution such as a nursing facility. Caregivers have always meant the world to her. She joined Caring Across to further her skills as a state and federal disability advocate and also to help create a better system where caregivers are valued for the important job they do. During her downtime, she hangs out with her emotional support dog, Miley, and loves being in nature.
My name is Patti LaFleur and I am from Auburn, Washington (a suburb outside of Seattle). I had the opportunity to be the care partner for my wonderful Mom, Linda, for the last three years before her passing in March. I describe caring for my Mom as an opportunity because I was adopted and it was my chance to reciprocate the love she gave to me. She had dementia, type 1 diabetes and was in a wheelchair but despite all of it we found joy, love, and fun every day We even went to Disneyland! Over the last two years, I have shared our story on social media as a way to raise awareness and change the stigma around dementia, and connect with other caregivers. Through storytelling I have been able to advocate for people with dementia, but in joining the fellowship I will be able to gain actual tools, resources, and ideas for continuing this advocacy for people caring for loved ones with dementia and beyond.
Jennifer Lagemann lives in Kansas City with her husband. She took care of her maternal grandmother at home for seven years, along with her mother, aunt, and uncle. She began to need assistance completing her activities of daily living (ADLs) when Jenn was in middle school following a stroke and cancer. Jenn enjoyed helping her live life as independently as possible. She joined the fellowship because she wants to be a better leader, and to her my writing skills to be an advocate for other caregivers, and to change the caregiving industry for the better, at all levels. Fun fact about Jenn: Her dream is to get published in the New Yorker!
Thai Lu is a transdisciplinary artist, writer, and community organizer, living on unceded Tongva Land (Los Angeles), California; and centering their practice on the social, cultural, and physical effects of chronic illness. As a chronically ill, disabled, neurodivergent, and gender-divergent first-generation American from a family of refugees, Thai works at the intersections of Western bio-politics, Southeast Asian diaspora, post-war intergenerational suffering, relational ecologies of interdependence, and the concept of metamorphosis. I am interested in exploring ways to build languages of care to translate the stories of marginalized experiences. I would love to use my skills in art and design to create visual aids and documentary films.
Debbie Maley lives in Buffalo, New York where she cares for her mother who is diagnosed with dementia. She joined the fellowship out of a desire to empower herself and fellow caregivers with knowledge, skills, and support to get through this journey together. She is a therapist with hopes to expand resources for caregiver mental health. In her free time she enjoys any opportunity to hang out with animals, whether it be hikes with llamas or yoga with goats to name a few!
Karen Obas is a white, non-binary writer and a community organizer living on the Native Territories of Keyauwee and Saura tribes in Greensboro, NC. She cares for her son as well as managing several diagnoses of her own. After watching her son receive inadequate care by schools and health systems, she rearranged her life to fight for him to get the care he needs. She wanted to join the Fellowship to strengthen and her advocacy skills in order to build communities that will impact change. When Karen is not writing poetry or spending time with her family, she enjoys practicing Tae Kwon Do with her son.
Katherine Bloom O’Connell is a communications and advocacy professional who lives outside of Minneapolis, MN. In early adulthood she was lucky enough to care for her dad through a terminal illness alongside her mom; she still affirms it was one of the most fulfilling opportunities she’s ever had. She and her husband have three kids, two dogs, and are currently championing their oldest daughter through the remainder of treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). She is most excited to empower others to claim their caregiving narratives and transform them into powerful advocacy tools. Katherine believes policy work should be accessible (and not scary!) and is most effective when driven by people with direct lived experiences.
I am Carlos Olivas III. As a California native, raised in Sacramento, CA. My entrepreneurial goals embrace learning from and contributing to my community. I left Sacramento to attend college in Santa Barbara, studying art and theater. I worked in live event production, which enabled me to travel. I raised my talented and beautiful, twenty-five-year-old daughter, Eva L. Acuna-Olivas, in a great little beach community in Ventura County.
In 2015 my life changed forever. I returned to my childhood home to become the primary caregiver for my Dad, Carlos L. Olivas Jr. He is currently living with Geriatric Alzheimer’s Dementia.
My name is Roquesha O’Neal, I was born and raised in the city of Detroit, and was educated in the Detroit Public School System. I am a mother of 3 and grandmother of 2. I credit some of my achievements to my role as a volunteer parent at my son’s school and in my community. Since his freshmen year, I have served as Local School Community Organization President as well as a member of the Osborn Neighborhood Alliance Education Committee, Mothering Justice, Michigan United, and Detroit Action Network.
One thing that my mother taught me was to keep a good heart and that everything else would fall in place, the only way a good heart can be seen, is by the things that you do. What I want to do is continue to give of myself, by having a meaningful place on the Mothering Justice Committee. I truly believe that this position would allow me personal growth while helping our future leaders to be the very best that they can be.
Hello, my name is Cathy Ortega. I reside in Goodyear, Arizona with my husband Randy. I am his caregiver and also provide care for my mom. She resides in a care facility as she needs more care. Both of my loved ones had strokes that left them wheelchair-bound. I joined this Care Fellowship to gain a sense of community, to help others and to continue to learn more. Fun fact I never saw myself as a caregiver until last year when my husband had his stroke. But I have been a caregiver since I was in high school and part of college dealing with my mom and dad’s illnesses as well as assisting in caring for my younger sisters and nieces. This caregiving season has enabled me to encourage, connect, and empathize with caregivers worldwide. It has inspired me to advocate expanding elder health policy and the practice of self-care for caregivers. Additionally, I am archiving and documenting my dad’s progression through his vast assortment of art, which includes Covid doodles. I hope the dementia community will embrace the artists living with this devastating disorder, allow them to display their talent, and bring this disease to the forefront.
Tameka T. Phillips lives in Fayetteville, North Carolina. She currently cares for her partner who has been diagnosed with clinical depression. Prior to that, she cared for her mother who was diagnosed with mental and physical impairments. Tameka joined the fellowship to connect with others and learn more on how to advocate for caregivers, as well as those who are receiving care. A fun fact about Tameka is that she loves neurographic art because it stimulates the beautiful brain, encourages unapologetic creative expression and gives her peace.
Originally from the Sunshine State, Sam Reetz is based in New York City. Since 2005, she has been part of various care networks within family and friend groups. A believer in the power of media narratives to reshape legislative policymaking, coalition building, and cultural resonance, it’s her hope that participation in the fellowship will expand her working knowledge of the policies most impacting Caring Majorities and provide additional opportunities for seeking community-first reforms. Sam is also a filmmaker and performer who founded and leads an intergenerational storytelling initiative called Millennial Ethics.
Jacquelyn became the sole caregiver for her mother, Lynn, and grandmother, Joyce, in 2016 after a faulty furnace leaked carbon monoxide into her family home, causing both to develop Alzheimer’s. In 2020, Jacquelyn began documenting her mother’s and her journey on Youtube and Tiktok under the handle @MomOfMyMom. She has since been praised by Alzheimer’s disease expert Teepa Snow for her devotion to implementing fun and creating joy around the task of caregiving. Together, the mother and daughter have amassed over 800k supporters across all platforms. With @MomOfMyMom Jacquelyn hopes to bring awareness to the tasks of caregivers. As a TV writer she hopes to bring these relatable stories to screens around the world.
Jonas Weitzman is a NYC-based Nursing Home worker & reformist. After experiencing the beige, soulless atmosphere of his grandmother’s Nursing Home, Jonas became a Certified Nurse’s Aide. It’s now his primary mission to infuse Long Term Care with love and autonomy. His secondary mission: figure out why soy sauce comes in those terrible little packets.
My name is Madinah S. Ali, and I live in the Decatur, Georgia, a suburb outside of the Atlanta area where I care for my mother who has dementia. I have been caring for her for the last seven years. The reason I joined the fellowship is because I am really interested in learning about how I can overhaul the caregiving system in the United States, and how we come up better financial resources for women who carry the burden of caregiving. I really enjoy yoga and meditation and I also love to travel.
My name is Victoria Helmly and I live in Marietta, GA. I am a care partner for my dad who is living with Parkinson’s disease and dementia. I am excited to be in the fellowship because I am passionate about care and advocating for care partners. I am eager to learn from others about care and learn how to more effectively share my story to create change. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family and my cat, watching movies, and doing dance workouts!
My name is Sheree Holloway and I live in Atlanta, Ga. I have been in Atlanta for over thirteen years. I am a family caregiver for my daughter since 1995. Being a young mother at the tender age of 21, and she had so many health issues, it wasn’t easy!!! She was born with epilepsy, developmental delays, and cerebral palsy. I wanted to join a positive fellowship to network and make new relationships with other caregivers. I wanted share my experiences with being an advocate for my daughter as her parent/legal guardian. I wanted to also learn from other caregivers’ experiences and what they have learned. I want to learn leadership skills, how to continue to advocate with knowing my/her rights as a special needs individual. I like to read or watch documentaries about disabled people and how they conquered and live in the community with others!!! I also enjoy watching my daughter conquering her experiences in life knowing she is different!!! Lastly, for my own me time, I like to cuddle up in my bed and read an encouraging book!!!!
My name is Cindi Johnson. I live in Decatur, GA, just outside of Atlanta. Currently I care for adults living with disabilities due to brain injury, in a clubhouse-model day program that I started as a
nonprofit 23 years ago. Most of my life I was a caregiver for my parents: for my mother, beginning when I was 11 due to mental health challenges, then physical disabilities, then dementia, until her death in
2010; for my father increasingly as he aged with multiple physical disabilities until his death in 2019; and while I was not my stepmother’s primary caregiver during her decline due to Alzheimer’s Disease, I participated heavily in the caregiving process as a health professional and support for her children and my dad. I wanted to join the fellowship for several reasons: first and foremost I am passionate about strengthening the homecare workforce by advocating for direct support professionals’ pay, health benefits, and working conditions; second, I am knowledgeable about HCBS policy in Georgia and think I
have something to offer in terms of expanding services and supporting care providers; and third, I am empathetic toward family caregivers and the multiple burdens and joys they carry. A fun fact about me
is that I love to explore mystical teachings and meditative solitude.
Hello! My name is Michelle Maxwell. I live in (Midtown) Atlanta, Ga. I was the caregiver for both my parents but mostly my mother, Susan, who was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2007. My amazing father Chuck, passed away in Dec 2008. My incredible mother passed away in November 2021. I’m looking forward to being part of this community so I can connect with those in need of care and other caregivers. I want to learn how to advocate and implement change in a broken system. Hoping to resolve many of the issues and challenges that caregivers and the disabled face. Fun facts about me: I love ALL genres of music and I love to cook! Grateful to be a part of this organization!
I am Ingrid Oneal. I was a caregiver up until March 22, 2021, when my grandmother passed. I’m still a caregiver for my 11-year-old daughter part-time. Her father has her during the school year due to my diagnosis with Multiple Sclerosis. I joined the fellowship because I have many caregivers in my life still and they need help. I resigned from my job as a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor to take care of me for a while. I have a passion for those with disabilities. My passion is especially for those with visual impairments.
My name is Mira Patel. I live in Jonesboro, GA. My role as a caregiver has been defining for most of my life. I’ve helped take care of my grandmother with Alzheimer’s, my brother with disabilities, and now my parents as they are aging. What I am hoping to gain from this experience is to be able to connect to other caregivers. I’ve learned that most times as caregivers we’re not taking care of ourselves and taking part in this fellowship is for me to be able to do that. I am looking forward to sharing my story and not feeling isolated in this role. In my spare time I enjoy reading, although my “to be read” pile grows a lot faster than I can keep up.
My name is Danissia Ransaw and my pronouns are she/her. I am a small town country girl from Alabama who is now living in the big city of Atlanta, midtown Atlanta to be more specific, to chase after her dreams! In the midst of my career in the entertainment industry, I tend to care for some of my family members and friends. However, my main point in wanting to be a part of this fellowship was to shed more light on the difficulties of being a caretaker/caregiver, and speak on, and up, for the people of color, more specifically us black people, who are continuously denied resources and support whenever it comes to anything regarding bettering our culture and communities. In my spare time from advocating for my people, I am a professional dancer, aspiring actress, and aspiring music artist. Music is the heartbeat to my life and I would be lost without it.
I am Courtney Taylor and I reside in southwest Atlanta, GA. I am currently helping with the care of my aunt who has dementia. I joined this fellowship because I am interested in learning more about the services that are available for caregivers and elderly persons. I also want to know more about what rights are available to caregivers. One fun fact about me is that I am among the few people who live in Atlanta that were born and raised here.
My name is Linda Walton and I live in Metro Atlanta, I am a transplant from Alabama. Caregiving is my life I have worked as a C.N.A, In OT(Rehab), Childcare, Doula and for a Non-Profit that serves moms and babies as a Community Partnership Specialist. I have worked in rehab, geriatrics, pediatric, daycare, home health, mental health and with adults with developmental delays. I cared for my grandmother before her death as she suffered from, dementia, diabetes, and heart disease. The experience was so natural for me however, it was a very stressful time for our family. Providing education about dementia and general caregiving to family members was also a part of my duties as one of the main caregivers for my grandmother. Finances was also a concern in terms of navigating through Medicare, resources for seniors, medical care, and compensation for a family member who had no income while helping to care for my grandmother. I joined the fellowship to learn how to advocate for the rights of caregivers and to learn from the experiences of other caregivers. Connecting to caregivers to let them know that we have each other to support and learn from. I also would like to learn from professionals in the Care Area and meet and network with people who can make Care a top priority in our country.
My name is Vonetta Williams. I live in Atlanta, Georgia. I care for my Mother, Step-Dad, and Uncle. I joined the fellowship to get ideas on how to balance my time effectively and to gain insight on how-to laws that pertain to caregiving. Fun fact: I’m left-handed. I am also the only child, niece, and grandchild.
Shane Caterino lives in Chicago, Illinois with her husband and two children. At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, her U.S. Army Veteran father experienced a stroke and continued complications related to his Agent Orange exposure. During the past two years, she navigated the VA’s healthcare system to ensure the highest quality of care and services for her father while juggling what many sandwich generation individuals juggle – career and care for children. Shane is honored to be in community with the Caring Across Generations Fellows and is most looking forward to lifting the voices of caregivers of color. Fun fact about herself – she loves seeing live music with the added bonus now of experiencing bands of her youth with her children.
Natasha Croff lives in Chicago, Il where she cares for her 12-year-old son living with the Autism Spectrum Disorder and Developmental Disabilities. She has had to find resources and maneuver through the educational system to ensure her son receives what he needs to be successful and have a fulfilling life. She joined the Fellowship to gain more knowledge in advocating for her son and sharing the information she has obtained with other parents, to make their journey a little easier. She promotes local support groups for parents of children with Autism and other disabilities. She is a lover of all things craft involved.
My name is Liza Pereira Curiel (she/her), I live in Chicago, IL
with my 25 year old Autistic son Sebastian. I joined Caring Across America because I am interested in learning how to help advocate for the aging and the disabled and those who care for them. I really love listening to people share their stories and hope that I can learn to share more effectively. I hope to open a bakery/cafe for Autistic adults and families one day.
My name is Mike Ervin. I live in Chicago, where I grew up. But I was born in Germany on a U.S. Army base. My father was an army sergeant and veteran of World War Two and the Korean and Vietnam Wars. I’ve used a wheelchair for 60 years and have had scores of people throughout the years assist me with the activities of daily living. Thus, the caregiver movement is of vital importance to me but I think it will never be as strong and effective as it can be until it equally values, includes and amplifies the voice of care recipients. I hope my involvement in the fellowship will take the movement in that direction.
Brekke lives in Chicago IL. Seeing how little support there are for people like her mother, who was ravaged by the crippling disease of rheumatoid arthritis for decades before then suffering from several traumatic brain injuries, she saw how important an ethical advocate is for the elderly and people with disabilities. She has accumulated so many diverse skills in her time as a caregiver and a lot of fury at the state of healthcare and politics in the US. She is hoping the Care Fellowship can help direct those skills and emotions into something productive and helpful to more people. She once fancied herself an archaeologist and spent time in Israel excavating a Roman basilica and would do almost anything to have the chance to excavate in Egypt or Göbekli Tepe.
My name is Kris McCabe. I’ve lived in Chicago, IL for the last 10 years, 5 of which have been spent caring for my Grandma, who lives with Alzheimer’s. I was eager to join Caring Across to be able to connect with others who understand the needs of care. I am looking forward to truly learning how to use my voice in a way that can ignite the changes we need. I love connecting with others and am eager to get to know my fellow fellows!
My name is Letia Motley. I currently live in Skokie, IL, but I am originally from Chicago, IL. I am a mobility specialist at a non-for-profit organization where we teach individuals with disabilities how to access and utilize public transportation throughout the city of Chicago and surrounding suburbs. I am also a full time caregiver for my son who has multiple disabilities. I wanted to join the Fellowship to learn how to effectively advocate on a more national level. A fun fact about me is that I recently became a published author. My story about my journey with autism was featured in the first-of-its-kind compilation book, For the Love of Autism.
Nadine Rosemon is a mother of one young child and currently lives in the Bronzeville area of southside Chicago, Illinois. She is helping to coordinate care for her older sister who suffers from systemic scleroderma and may possibly combine households to care for her sister directly. Issues related to transportation for medical appointments and the high-cost of medicines for rare diseases are of particular concern to her. Joining the fellowship is a natural extension of Nadine’s strong sense of volunteerism and support of healthcare access for all, especially those who have socioeconomic and racial barriers to healthcare. Nadine loves classic rock and might take guitar lessons in the winter. Stay ‘tuned’!
Erica Stearns grew up with disabilities and is the caregiver of her two young children with disabilities. She resides in Southern Illinois where she works virtually as a state-wide disability advocate through her career at The Arc of Illinois, her podcast (Atypical Truth), and her role as chair on multiple family-centered committees and councils. Erica was drawn to the fellowship because she is passionate about improving access to resources for those receiving and providing care, especially for the multiple marginalized population. Erica’s family recently went through the long process of purchasing a double wheelchair-accessible van for their family, and they are excited about the opportunities this will give their children to physically participate in community events.
Phyllis L. Tyler lives in Flossmoor, Illinois where she cares for her aunt and uncles. She wanted to join a community of caring hearts and connect with other caregivers in order to learn how to advocate for communities who care for our disabled and senior citizens. Advocating for quality care for all citizens will ensure that they are treated with the dignity that they deserve. In her spare time Phyllis enjoys creating special charcuterie boards for her friends and family.
Felicia Williams lives in the Austin Community on the Westside of Chicago, IL. She helped care for her uncle with heart ailments from New Orleans, LA in 2005 when he was rescued and transported from a nursing home and flown to Chicago to stay with her mother. She helped to coordinate her uncle’s care by helping to provide him with nursing home and hospice care services. In 2017-2018 she helped a another uncle with his in-home care because he had arthritis, diabetes, hypertension, cancer and became incapacitated and blind in his late 80s after a fall in his apartment. She’s provided care for her son as a child and adult. He suffered from recurrent Metabolic Acidosis/Gastrointestinal health issues which caused persistent vomiting. Currently, she still provides care to her mother that’s diabetic, hypertensive, has glaucoma, tinnitus and suffers from arthritis. In addition, she’s caring for herself with the help of her 21-year-old son. Her goal is to receive adequate care for osteoarthritis, hypertension, foot, ankle, and shoulder injuries. She joined Caring Across Generations’ Care Fellowship to learn about advocacy and legislative processes. In addition, she wants to be a voice for people with disabilities, caregivers, and marginalized individuals that are often subjected to major systemic, health disparity issues within the healthcare system. A fun fact is she loves to collect ceramic purse-shaped cookie jars.
California Care Fellow bios will be available soon!