As if the pandemic wasn't enough, a tug on Chelsey Greentree's heartstrings prompted her to do something out of the ordinary for a relocating Avenue Living Communities (ALC) resident. Calling for support from the local community, gifts and financial donations were received with over 800 responses to an online post.
"It was amazing," said Chelsey Greentree, a Residential Portfolio Manager for ALC in Edmonton, Alta., who reached out to her community through a Facebook group to initially rally furniture donations for an ALC resident in need. "I had nearly 800 responses. I am still getting messages from people," said Greentree.
ALC's team members regularly show passion and intuition in their work as positive resident experiences surface almost daily. Their efforts to go to unexpected lengths for others do not go unnoticed. This story is no different.
When Greentree prepared herself for a morning of relocating ALC's residents from a building to be renovated, she knew of the diverse residents she would meet, but didn't know the extent of emotions she would feel until she met 90-year-old, Helen.
"I was walking down the hallway and this little old lady just pops her head out, and it honestly just shocked me," said Greentree.
"She was adorable in these little fluffy slippers and her housecoat, and the resident asked, "are you coming to see me?" I responded with "not today, but I will come back another day," and I just couldn't stop thinking about her," explained Greentree.
Greentree says the experience stuck with her. It hit close to home, as she herself is close with her elderly family members.
"She reminds you of your own grandma. In my family, we're very close and do everything together," said Greentree. "I just wanted to make sure she didn't have to do this move alone."
Fast-forward a few days later, Greentree helped Helen find a new home. The two got to know each other, forming a friendship - one that runs deeper than the average property manager and resident relationship.
"It was an opportunity to connect with a resident," explained Greentree. "We all get bogged down with the day-to-day and you can get really disconnected. I've been in property management for a decade. With this position you get to interact with people, chat with them, see how they are living, and help them in some way."
The call for community support came about after Greentree had witnessed Helen's minimalist living situation. Helen was not one to fuss, but Greentree wanted more for her and surely thought there were others in the community that would feel the same. She was right.
"I realized she was sleeping on a cot. I just couldn't believe that. She didn't have a TV and her only entertainment was this beat-up old radio, and Helen said "it's fussy... sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't". And, it just broke me," said Greentree.
Over 800 responses later, Greentree had donations of furniture, groceries, financial donations, and a brand-new bed set up and ready for Helen in her new apartment. Not only did the community show great spirit and support, so did Greentree's team as ALC Maintenance Associates and others chipped in to help. This is not unusual, and something Greentree says is part of their In It Together culture.
"We banded together," said Greentree. "It was just amazing being able to help her. I wouldn't have done it any differently."
As the two left Helen's old residence on moving day, where she was well-known and had lived for 20 years, Helen's new apartment, filled with furniture and groceries, was still to be a surprise.
Greentree told Helen, 'I want you to turn around and smile because this is your last time at this apartment. You're never coming back here.' Helen then put her shades on.
"As we were leaving, everyone kept asking her, 'where are you going?' and Helen said, 'I'm out of here.' She was so cute," explained Greentree.
Greentree lead Helen into her new home, and that was everything for her. Greentree noted that it's moments like those that she knows she is where she belongs, in property management.
"It was the expression on Helen's face. I had been fighting tears the whole week and that was just everything for me," said Greentree. "That was one of the best things in the whole world."
The passion for helping others does not end there for Greentree. She continues her friendship with Helen, making sure she has what she needs, as with many other of her ALC residents.
"I've always wanted to help people. That was my baseline. I needed to make a difference somehow," said Greentree. "It's important that if you can go the extra mile, then you do that."
Greentree admitted, "when residents reach out to you and tell you they love their place, it just makes it all worth it to be a part of that. I love it."
Do you have a positive resident experience story to tell? We'd love to hear from you! Reach out to Connor at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know how one of our team members impacted your living experience.