Executive Director’s Labor of Love Benefits Valle Verde Residents and Team Members

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Honig and a Valle Verde resident on Team Member Luau Day.Two years ago, Melissa Honig accepted what she thought to be a temporary position as Valle Verde’s interim executive director in Santa Barbara, California.

However, funny things happen when you fall in love, which is what transpired between Honig and the community. Today, she continues to act as the community’s executive director, finding great fulfillment in a labor of love that began many years previously.

When Honig was 12, her great grandmother, Lilly, had just moved into a nursing home. At 97, Lilly had lived much of her aging years independently and on her own terms in a White Plains, New York, high-rise building, which was decorated with black-and-white pictures of her Russian family.

However, that cozy sense of home didn’t seem to translate into Grandma Lilly’s 200-square-foot, semi-private room at the nursing home. She also did not enjoy how she spent her time there; while there were plenty of activities, they were not meaningful or adjustable to residents’ individual schedules.

“While it was an excellent nursing home, it wasn’t good enough,” says Honig. “At that moment, I knew I wanted to create real homes for elders needing nursing care.”

Twenty-five years later, this is still Honig’s goal at Valle Verde; she truly believes that a home is where the heart is, so she puts hers into it every da.

Throughout her time working in both the Pleasanton home office and as Valle Verde’s executive director, Honig’s top priority has remained the same: to create a real home for all residents.

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