Posted on November 9, 2021
Derby, NY…Harmonia Collaborative Care’s Jennifer Gunia, Senior Services Coordinator, received Network in Aging’s Dr. Evan Calkins Award for Meritorious Service. The award is presented each year to an individual who has made a special contribution to the field of aging or long-term care. This year’s award was presented to Jennifer at Network in Aging’s Annual Meeting, Thursday, November 4, 2021.
For more than 50-years, Harmonia Collaborative Care has focused on mental health and senior services supporting independence. Jennifer has spent the last 18 years of her working career supporting Harmonia’s seniors throughout a rural community. As the Senior Service Coordinator, Jennifer’s department provides case management to seniors to help them stay independent in their homes.
Jennifer knows the community well. She does her best to get the word out about the senior services Harmonia offers by word of mouth, tabling at farmer’s markets and attending events. While she can’t go door to door, Jennifer has been known to hand out business cards to those in need of support at the grocery store or restaurant. “I see people struggling or hear about caregivers in need of guidance and I have to find them help”, said Jennifer.
Valerie Nowak, LMHC, MPH, CEO of Harmonia said of Jennifer, “Jennifer understands the unique challenges of seniors in rural/semi-rural areas. They have to go the extra mile, literally and figuratively, to make sure people are getting the services they need. Eighteen years of dedication in a community, equals 18 years of specialized knowledge. Jennifer instills the importance of her program with everyone on her team”.
Network in Aging is a network of people and organizations committed to improving the quality of life for older persons in Western New York. Angie Crawshaw, Network in Aging president said, “It was a great privilege to award Jennifer Gunia from Harmonia Collaborative Care the Dr. Evan Calkin’s Meritorious award. Her professional and community involvement exemplifythe Network in Aging’s mission of advocating on behalf of the elderly. During the award selection process, her nomination stood out as she excelled in meeting all criteria for the award.”
“My roots are in the Southtowns community. When I started out, I helped the grandparents of people I knew. Now, that has shifted to helping folks my parents age,” said Jennifer. “I have a strong connection with the local area. I feel that I am a voice for seniors and their caregivers in the areas we cover.”