Life’s Journey Leads to Oak Crest for Fefe Mukendi

Parkville, Maryland—When Fefe Mukendi arrived in the United States from the civil war-torn nation of the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2004, a career at Oak Crest was the last thing on her mind.

A United Nations program (International Organization of Migration) had helped her escape the threat of violence,  turmoil and an uncertain future, but new challenges immediately faced Fefe.  She was responsible for raising three brothers and a sister.  French was her native language so learning English was a priority.  And she needed to establish herself in a brand new country, more than 6,500 miles away from her hometown.

“The desire to help people has been a constant in my life,” Fefe said with her trademark bright smile in a recent interview.  “The medical field was a natural fit.”  After taking her first job with Genesis HealthCare, she learned about Oak Crest from colleagues. 

The rest is history.  Fefe began working at the Erickson Living retirement community in Parkville as Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) in December, 2006.  She eventually went back to school, enrolling at Baltimore City Community College.  While caring for her siblings and working at Oak Crest, she earned an AA degree in respiratory therapy.     

The new position came to be the “natural fit” that Fefe had sought.  The goal of home support is to help maintain the safety and independence of residents in whichever level of care they choose to live.  Residents can call upon the department following a recovery from surgery, for example, and take advantages of those services from the comfort of their apartment home.  The assistance can be anything from meal preparation and light housekeeping to medical reminders and socialization.

“Creating friendships with the residents brings them comfort and happiness,” stated Fefe.  “These wonderful relationships make the job even more rewarding for me.”

Comprehensive training and career development are major priorities for the team, noted Celeste Saunders, Home Support Manager at Oak Crest.  “Our caregivers receive training by the State of Maryland as well as continuing education within our department via monthly in-service seminars and skill labs,” said Celeste, who has been with Oak Crest for eight years.  “They also receive oversight and guidance from a registered nurse.”

Fefe adds that “we also study the daily care plan of each resident we serve to bring them the best experience  possible during our visits.”

Her future is bright since those first days in the United States.  Fefe is now a full-time employee with a comprehensive set of benefits, and she has a specific short-term goal.

“I am currently studying to become a board-certified respiratory therapist,” she said.

“Fefe is a model employee,” Celeste said.  “She brings compassionate care and a warm spirit to our residents, going above and beyond so many times.  She is naturally inquisitive and has been one of our best recruiters by referring other employees to Oak Crest.”

Her success story goes well beyond Oak Crest.

“Given the journey she has traveled, Fefe is the most positive person I know,” described Celeste.  “Her siblings have all become highly successful citizens, due in large part to Fefe’s love and nurturing heart.  She inspires all of us, and we’re grateful that she is a member of our Home Support Team.”

For more information about the Oak Crest Home Support Department, please call Celeste Saunders at 410-665-1000.  For more information about career opportunities at Oak Crest, please visit https://jobs.ericksonliving.com.

About Oak Crest:  Oak Crest is one of nineteen continuing care retirement communities managed by Erickson Living.  Located in Parkville, Maryland the scenic 87-acre campus is home to more than 2,100 residents.  Oak Crest is the ideal greater Baltimore retirement destination offering a true sense of community, convenience beyond compare and a sensible financial structure.