Nadine Rihani’s first role with Park Center was folding clothes. As she said, “of all things….I hate to fold clothes!” After finally fessing up, Park Center encouraged her to follow her desire to tutor. In following this passion, she began lunching with their members to determine what they wanted to learn. This allowed Nadine to develop relationships which she continues today, typically on Tuesdays.
Through her research, Nadine gave structure to the previously informal academic program. Today she tutors individual members and teaches small classes on a range of studies – from 3rd grade level reading to geometry. In addition to the academics, she lights up talking about the personal goals and achievements of each member such as Amy, her first student. Nadine speaks proudly of Amy’s academic study skills along with her personal realization of how much work went into achievement. Nadine beams, saying it was “the happiest day (when) we went to her graduation! It was just terrific!” Amy now lives independently. The two remain in touch today.
When asked for the secret to her success, Nadine believes it is to treat “everybody with dignity and respect. It doesn’t matter the population. It doesn’t matter if they’re having hallucinations or anything else.” And fortunately, “Everybody at Park Center, members and staff alike, are treated with dignity and respect. It’s a safe place to go every day!” Because of this, Nadine often returns on Tuesdays to lunch with those who mean so much to her.