Senior community aide helps residents feel at home

March 29, 2013 • Local News

Kelly Leflar, a service coordinator at Summit and Wildwood apartment complexes. (Jill McLaughlin Photo)

Friday morning’s bright skies lit the adobe apartments at Summit Apartments but it couldn’t compare to the true sunshine that Kelly Leflar carried with her everywhere she walked.

“Hey darlin’!” she called out to residents who walked by as she strolled through the complex.

Leflar, a service coordinator for Yes Housing Corp., just celebrated her one-year anniversary working for the senior and disabled residents at both residential neighborhoods.

Her mission is to provide quality of life and clean and sanitary housing conditions for the people who live within the buildings. But she often finds herself going far beyond her job description.

“I try to go the extra mile,” Leflar said. “I couldn’t have a more rewarding job. It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”

Her favorite [auth] aspect of her job is helping to provide a sense of community and family, she said.

During her short time so far, she has helped residents build their own community garden on a small plot on land, so they could grow their own vegetables. Once the veggies are ripe, the community gets together for a small feast.

One man, Buster, was a double amputee and former champion boxer, but still managed to make his way over to the garden every day to water the plants. Unfortunately, Buster died recently.

“Losing Buster was like losing a family member,” Leflar said. “This year’s tomatoes are dedicated to Buster. But those things happen. We just have to know they’re in a better place.”

Most residents live on less than $8,000 a year, she said. So, Leflar does as much as she can to provide extra events, gifts of food and celebrations.

If she notices that someone hasn’t been out and about for a few days, she knocks on their door to check in on them, she said.

“They need to be outside,” Leflar said. “Socialization is so important.”

Leflar and the staff work with The Salvation Army to provide extra food and necessities. And every month, birthdays are celebrated. One gentleman called Leflar every day for a month to remind her of his upcoming birthday.

“You just don’t know how much something might mean to someone,” she said. “We all do things out of the realm of our job descriptions.”
Some residents also volunteer for the other residents.

Amy Sapian is one of those who takes time to drive others around, read the paper and do chores. As a favor, Leflar paid out of her own pocket to have a surgery done for Sapian’s small dog in return.

“I treat them like family,” Leflar said. “Yesterday, a client who has a mental disability needed curtains hung, so I went over there and hung curtains all day.”

She also helps with their budgets if they need it, and helps fill out paperwork for Medicaid and Medicare.

Sapian, who has lived at the Summit complex for nearly 20 years, said the residents have become a family.

“We get attached to the people here,” she said. “We’re attached to Kelly. She has been the best.”

The Summit complex, with 53 clients, and the Wildwood with 60, will soon have two coordinators to help with community care. The program is run through grant funding.

Leflar moved to Roswell from a small town in Texas. She lives with her son Austin.

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