Shari Yahner
 
Homeland Center Activities Coordinator Shari Yahner  

With an extensive career in long-term care, Shari Yahner knew that she wanted for work for Homeland Center. When a friend told her about an opening, she was thrilled to get the job.

“The staff is so caring and wonderful,” she says. “I feel so blessed to make a difference in someone’s life.”

Yahner first came to Homeland as a part-time dietary technician in June 2016, but soon, she was working full-time, spending one day a week on nutrition and the rest as a skilled-care activities coordinator. Some days, she’s helping residents make music by distributing homemade maracas to shake while a visiting musician sings familiar songs.

Other days, she works one-on-one, playing games or helping residents color adult coloring books. She’s always searching the internet for new ideas. She brought one favorite game from home – the classic Pass the Pig, when players toss plastic pigs like dice and earn points depending on how the pigs land.

Editor's note: We are saddened to report that Ellen passed away unexpectedly and quietly on Saturday, Jan. 28. Our sincere sympathy to her husband, Bill, and her family.


Ellen Warren
 
Ellen Warren  

When she was in first grade, Ellen Warren would sneak into the art room while her classmates went to recess. Ostensibly, she was helping clean the chalkboard erasers, but the teacher knew she just wanted to draw.

That introduction to art launched a lifetime of devotion to artistic endeavors and to supporting the performing and visual arts wherever she lived.

“I believe the soul needs creativity,” says Warren, a Homeland Center resident since late 2016. “The spirit needs creativity.”

Warren was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania and grew up in nearby Scranton. Her father was a mining and metallurgical engineer. Her mother was a homemaker and community volunteer for “anything and everything” – American Red Cross, Girl Scouts, a local performing arts center, a health care facility.


Kathryn Steigler
 

Kathryn Steigler reminisces about working in a Bavarian porcelain factory after World War II.

 

The German province of Bavaria is home to one of the world’s rare deposits of kaolin, the clay mineral capable of withstanding the intense firing needed to produce delicate, translucent china. In the unsettled days after World War II, Homeland Center resident Kathryn Steigler worked in a Bavarian porcelain factory, and like Bavaria’s durable clay, emerged from hardship to find her life in America.

Kathryn Schlafman Steigler was born in Hungary in 1925, in a village of ethnic Germans. Her family worked a small subsistence farm, raising their own food and livestock. Her brother tended the horses. She learned from her mother and grandmother to bake bread every day and to weave fabric on a loom and sew it into clothing. Any extra crops were sold to a neighbor’s shop.

“Mom and dad, they worked so hard, and the young ones had to help, too,” she recalls.


The Zembo String Band
 
The Zembo String Band entertained residents and guests in Homeland's Chapel.  

On a chilly night in December, the atmosphere inside Homeland Center was warm and loving. Every space filled with residents and invited guests exchanging good wishes and laughter. Live music filled three dining rooms and the chapel. Tables groaned with food, all of it homemade by Homeland staff. Wreaths hung on the walls, and Christmas trees brightened the rooms.

In the annals of holiday open houses, Homeland’s yearly holiday party, organized by the Board of Managers, is unique. Up and down every hall, every gathering space was adapted to accommodate as many as 500 guests. The tradition dates to 1978, giving residents the chance to send invitations and host family and friends in sharing the holiday spirit. 


Trenisha Gray and Tina Dinger
 

In the life of a nurse, organization and efficiency are key. Here, Trenisha Gray finds a hallway moment to consult with Homeland dietary specialist Tina Dinger about a patient’s care. 

 

Trenisha Gray’s office is a small getaway directly off the first floor hallway of Homeland Center’s skilled care unit. The only decoration, standing on top of a hutch, is a colorful greeting card proclaiming, “Hoping your new job is a bright new beginning.”

Gray received the card just a few days after starting as a Homeland nurse manager in October 2016. Coming from the family member of a resident, it made Gray feel welcome and helped her realize the strong ties that people have to Homeland.

“It told me that families are involved and very welcoming, and they do appreciate the care that we give,” she says. “It encouraged me to want to work even harder and give my best even more.”

Gray has worked in hospital and nursing settings, in cardiac and psych units, before joining Homeland. She came to Homeland because she “always heard great things about it.”

“I enjoy that it’s a 5-star Medicare facility,” she says. “They center around the residents. That’s the most amazing part.”

Gray is a Harrisburg native who graduated from Harrisburg School District’s prestigious Sci-Tech High School. In college, she was undecided about a major, but then she came home to help care for a grandmother diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. That’s when she realized that nursing was her field. It felt natural, “being able to care for someone, and having empathy.”

 

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