Students discover community working in senior care facilities


According to Walden University, about 30% of high school students have obtained a job for a portion of their high school career. Some students work in restaurants, as babysitters or in retail. However, some VHHS students have branched out to find job opportunities in local senior care facilities.

Sheryl John (12) has taken it upon herself to explore these job opportunities.

Local senior care facilities, including Vernon Hills’s Victory Center and Lincolnshire’s Sedgebrook recruit and hire student employees, including VHHS students.

“One of the main reasons I chose to work at Victory Center was because of its location. It’s very convenient for me, and it’s important that wherever I work is close to where I live,” John said.

Convenience and proximity to Lake County’s senior care facilities are not the only factors that contribute to students’ decision to work in these places. John said the job uniquely offers different roles that benefit the work environment and cater to her individual interest.

“Currently, I work as a receptionist, but before I worked as a waitress,” John said. “I found working as a waitress wasn’t something I enjoyed, so I began to work as a receptionist.”

For sophomore Ryan Klene (10) his job responsibilities at Sedgebrook are different from John’s.

“I work in the delivery service, so I go to one of the cafes and deliver the packaged dinners to the different residents,” he said.

John believes these job opportunities offer valuable lessons that students can utilize in their futures.

“I answer calls, emails, answer questions and communicate with the residents,” said John, as she talked through her day-to-day responsibilities at Victory Center.

Junior Jonah Hanson (11) works as a mentor and guide at Sedgebrook.

“I train the new workers by showing them where things are located and running through procedures with them. The supervisors use me as a bridge to these new employees,” Hanson said.

Though local senior care facilities offer different roles for students, each of them include real-life work experiences, something that many high school students strive to experience early on. Residents have openly shared individual experiences and stories of their lives, which has given employees memorable and personal anecdotes that they can recollect.

“The residents love to talk to others, but so do their caregivers. One of the caregivers had told me her son’s entire life story about wanting to go to med school, and that was something that stuck out to me,” Hanson said.

Klene shared his personal experiences with the residents.

“I love building connections with them because they are genuinely happy and enjoy spending their time talking to the workers. It’s nice to have this small community to talk to,” Klene said.

John also believes that working in local senior care facilities provides principles that she holds personal to herself.

“Working at Victory Center has given me specific benefits that are personal to me. It has given me the ability to grow and develop as a person through leadership experience,” John said.

At Sedgebrook, Klene has gained different skills.

“For me, I have learned good social techniques,” Klene said. “Also, it has taught me patience when working with those who have difficulty understanding or other medical conditions.”

Hanson’s job in a senior care facility has provided skills that can be carried on and taken into account in the future.

“It has taught me to take charge and to have care for a job that I enjoy and am passionate about,” Hanson said.