Helping seniors and others in need maintain their health, safety and independence at home is exactly what each Amada caregiver strives for every day while serving in cities, towns, neighborhoods, and communities around the country. At Amada, we call it enriching the lives of others, a humble phrase that defines our Job One, our motto and our reason behind every action and goal.

Our annual Amada Caregiver Value Awards recognizes six outstanding caregivers who not only answer the call of caregiving but rise to its many challenges with patience, persistence and positivity. Like graduations, birthday parties and other celebrations this pandemic year, our awards ceremony held September 3rd had to be virtual. Yet the appreciation and gratitude for each award recipient (and for all Amada caregivers) came shining through with all the emotion and happy tears of past ceremonies.

“This is honestly our favorite day of the year here at Amada,” said Mareanne Fontenette, caregiver recruitment and retention specialist. “Today is the day that we celebrate not only the face of the company but the heart and soul. Today is the day we honor the first responders out on the front lines with us – for us – right now, as well as the superheroes who are out every day enriching the lives of others.”

“A big thank you and warm hug to all the caregivers out there across the country who are delivering wonderful care to our clientele,” said CEO Tafa Jefferson. “We think about you on a daily basis. I was in the office yesterday working with our staff discussing ways where we can get better as an organization taking care of our caregivers, because our caregivers are the glue that holds this company together.”

“I’m sure you many of you understand and know what our company name is and what it means,” added President Chad Fotheringham. “Amada is a Spanish word that means loved or beloved. What we look for in caregivers are people who exude that love and the ability to love other people and care for other people. Our values are based on compassion and being able to put other people above ourselves. And we’re so grateful that you answered the call and you share the same thing that drives you that we do.”

Each Value Award represents one of Amada’s 6 Caregiver Core Values, which include Compassionate, Competent, Communicative, Committed, Confidently Humble, and Congenial. These “Caregiver 6Cs” reflect our caregiving philosophy and process. Amada franchise partners nominated members of their caregiver teams for consideration and after a juried panel made the final selections, Tafa and Mareanne teamed up on a personal call of congratulations to each recipient.

“It was the first time that we also had the franchise partners on the phone at the same time, so that made the call extra special,” Mareanne said. “It is because of caregivers like them that Amada makes a difference. I felt so much pride reading the nominations and gratitude knowing that Amada employs people who really live our values. Those are the type of people I would like to care for myself and my loved ones.”

The recipients of the annual Amada Caregiver Value Awards for 2019 are Gil Clarke (Compassionate), Teresa Maurraudino (Competent), Kiki Carter (Committed), Joanne Lopez (Communicative), Kathaleen Ritenhour (Confidently Humble), and Kristia Johnson (Congenial). What follows are snapshots of their interactions with clients and their loved ones that demonstrate why they were chosen to receive a Value Award.

Gil Clarke, caregiver at Amada Lehigh Valley, received the Compassionate Value Award. Gil is a longtime pastor who sees caregiving as a way of life. He won over an extremely difficult client who presented many challenges. Gil earned the client’s trust and thanks to his dedicated effort, the client became open to receiving care from other caregivers on the Lehigh Valley team. In addition, Gil provides care to a client with Parkinson’s, serving 7 days a week – four hours each morning and evening.

“The 6Cs that make up our value system are not just words,” Gil said. “It says something about all of us and the work that we do.”

Teresa Maurraudino, a longtime caregiver at Amada Central Houston, was presented with the Competent Value Award. Teresa enjoys what she does so much that she accepted a part-time recruiter position for the office only when promised she could continue working with two dementia clients with whom she had bonded. In addition, while on her own time, she continues to visit past clients who have moved into assisted living.

“We wish we had the ability to clone Teresa so that we would have an army of her caring for our seniors,” said Franchise Partner William Long.

Kiki Carter, who is a caregiver for Amada Annapolis, received the Committed Value Award for her dedicated efforts over two years with one client. The client has many needs that Kiki meets and exceeds thanks to her in-depth knowledge and training. Kiki makes the 10-hour shift on time every day of the week, despite a 50-mile commute. When Kiki announced her pregnancy, the client pledged to work on improving her health to make her care easier because she hopes to continue seeing Kiki.

“Kiki is super dedicated,” the client said. “She is one of the family and we love her. We just love her.”

Joanne Lopez, a longtime caregiver at Amada Mesa, was given the Communicative Value Award for her adept approach with clients who sometimes resist receiving care. Joanne truly understood how some senior clients can feel all alone even when family is close by. Her loving yet firm approach wins over these clients, many of whom have challenging conditions like Huntington’s disease or cognitive decline. She reassures, calms and communicates how important the client’s welfare and health are to her.

“You have to be more than a caregiver; you have to be a friend,” Joanne said. “You have to love who you are taking care of. Everybody needs that kind of love. One of the best parts of caregiving is knowing that when you are caring for a patient, you are giving them the support, love and friendship they seek.”

Kathaleen Ritenhour, a veteran caregiver at Amada San Diego North, was presented the Confidently Humble Value Award because she is truly the ultimate team player. Her dedication is such that she is the first to raise a hand to take a shift that comes up unexpectedly or that require travel. She even has taken three shifts in one day even though she ended up driving more than 30 miles. When Amada San Diego Central was just starting and needed to staff a new case, Kathaleen took the 12-hour shift even though it meant a 50-mile drive. She said she did it because she didn’t want Amada to lose the client.

“I can’t say enough about Kathy and what she’s meant to our agency,” said Franchise Partner Fred Ehlers. “We’re dealing with emergencies all the time and when you have someone you know you can count on it just brings the level of comfort to one that money can’t buy.”

Kristia Johnson, who is a caregiver at Amada Tucson, was given the Congenial Value Award for her intuitive ability to relate to each client’s personal experiences that affect how they navigate their daily lives. Kristia rose to the occasion in providing care to a client with frontotemporal degeneration, a brain disorder that can occur in people age 40-65. Kristia supplies all the tools, love, patience, diligence, consistency, reliability, humor, experience, and congeniality the client needs to maintain independence and health.

“The relationship that Kristia formed with this client is just amazing,” said Franchise Partner Christina Ram.

Amada Senior Care is delighted to honor six deserving people as national caregivers of the year, but recognizes all Amada caregivers deserve our sincere regards and gratitude.

These six recipients of the Caregiver Value Awards represent all Amada caregivers around the country, noted Chad, adding “you live these values day in and day out helping our clients.”

“I’m proud of the company and proud of the work we’re doing out there,” said Tafa at the ceremony’s close. “I’m proud of our franchise partners that are doing the good work and employing such wonderful people. I’m just super grateful.”


“Caregivers Honored with Amada Value Awards” written by Michelle Flores, Amada blog contributor.