Sheila joined The Selfhelp Home with close to 30 years of experience managing and running senior communities. She describes herself as having a lifelong passion for providing excellence for all seniors entrusted into her care. Most recently, she served as Administrator/Chief Operating Officer of Montgomery Place in Hyde Park. A native of London, England, Sheila’s family ran a 5-star luxury resort on the English coast. That might be why she says that hospitality is “in her blood.” She is married with four adult children and resides in Peterson Park.
Meet Our Team of Senior Care Professionals
Steve joins our team with a solid background of 35 years’ experience working in the field of healthcare accounting. 10 of those years were with a public accounting firm that specialized in healthcare working on various nursing home clients, and that firm is now servicing Selfhelp in their annual audit. The most recent 25 years were with a nursing home management group as their CFO, overseeing as many as 11 facilities. Steve is a licensed CPA in Illinois, lives in Buffalo Grove, and is married with two older sons. Steve enjoys working out, walking his dog Wrigley as often as possible, and traveling.
“I’m excited about my work and adding value to this organization, as well as meeting new people & gaining insight into their interests. Going to work at Selfhelp and seeing the residents each day truly makes the work more meaningful than in my previous job working in a management office setting.”
Raclyn leads our nursing teams at Selfhelp and our post-acute Health & Rehabilitation Center. She is committed to quality care for each and every resident. She has 15 years of leadership and management experience working in senior care and nursing. Raclyn has a Bachelor’s of Science in nursing from the Philippines. Racyln is a Wound Care Specialist, certified in infection control and has experience in restorative nursing. Most of the time, Raclyn can be found right on the nursing floor giving our residents direct care.
“I’m very fortunate to be part of The Selfhelp Home. I’m very proud of the excellent care that we give the residents, plus the compassionate and hardworking staff, which sets us apart from other facilities. My goal is to help improve The Selfhelp Home so that we can continue to provide the highest quality of care to our residents.”
Efrat joined The Selfhelp Home after spending 13 years in government managing marketing and media affairs for the City of Chicago. She is passionate about telling the story of Selfhelp to the outside world and creating platforms for Selfhelp to be an anchor in the community. She oversees marketing, communications, community outreach and works on special projects such as the recent renovations in the Independent Living and Assisted Living apartments. Since graduating from UIC with a BA in communications, Efrat has a collective 25 years of experience in marketing. She lives in West Rogers Park and has a 13-year-old daughter.
“I love the work I am doing at Selfhelp. It’s a place both residents and staff call home. The Selfhelp Home is a little hidden gem in Chicago that provides a true sense of belonging and community for its residents and the Jewish community.”
Sofia’s warmth and hospitality are part of the fabric of The Selfhelp Home. Pass her by in the hallways, and she may hand you a taste of a new pastry or invite you to stay for lunch. Sofia began at Selfhelp 30 years ago as an entry-level dietary aid. Her strong work ethic and dedication to Selfhelp drove her to the top. Today, she oversees our dining program, including 40 employees and 700 meals per day. Sofie and her team take great pride in preparing flavorful and traditional homemade kosher meals and providing excellent customer service.
“This is a home away from home for me. I feel that I am a part of something where I can make a difference!”
Kim Romain joins The Selfhelp Home as our new Director of Development with over twenty years of fundraising and nonprofit experience, including extensive work with major gifts, event planning, board development, volunteer management, strategic planning, and planned giving.
Most recently, she spent nine years at Rogers Park Montessori School as the Director of Advancement, overseeing day-to-day fundraising, marketing, and volunteer programs. She lives in Evanston with her husband and 10-year-old daughter. Kim is also an artist and loves cooking and baking!
“I am honored to be able to serve such an amazing community in this special way. The caring, kindness, and compassion shared by both the residents and staff is truly palpable.”
For Sharon, working at Selfhelp has always felt like family from the residents to the staff. Sharon has worked at Selfhelp since 1993. She started out at the front desk as a receptionist and was promoted to Assistant Accounting Manager in 2010. Now, Sharon manages human resources and works on recruiting our dedicated staff. Sharon has 4 daughters and 1 grandson. The Mikel family has a long legacy of dedicated service to the Selfhelp, all of her 4 daughters have worked at SHH at some point in time, and her mother also worked at Selfhelp for 8 years before she started.
“Everyone at Selfhelp is always genuinely caring and that’s what makes SHH different from other homes.”
Joni was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago. She joins us after a long career at a successful Plaintiff’s Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury law firm. Joni has a Son Peter and daughter MacKenzie. She loves her dogs Shayna and Virgil, college football, The Hallmark Channel and spending time with family and friends.
The Medical Directors
Fernanda Heitor is a Geriatrician in the Division of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Born and raised in Brazil, she immigrated to the United of States in the year 2000, after graduating from Medical School in her native country. In the US, she had a firsthand experience appreciating the cultural richness sprawling from coast to coast in her new home. Initially living in Los Angeles and later in Boston, she worked as a student advisor at a test prep center and as a researcher while completing her medical boards and medical diploma certification. Dr Heitor then proceeded to complete her residency training in Internal Medicine in St Louis, MO, and then, upon moving back to California, she worked providing primary care to mostly Hispanic/Latino older adults in the San Fernando Valley area. This experience resulted in an ever-growing interest in Geriatrics leading to a Fellowship in Geriatric Medicine at the University of Michigan, concluded in 2014. Captivated by Chicago, Dr Heitor joined Northwestern Medicine shortly after her fellowship graduation. She provides Geriatrics’ care in various settings including clinical, inpatient, and sub-acute and long-term care. Dr. Heitor also serves as a Medical Director at The Selfhelp Home, a not-for-profit Continuing Care Retirement Community rated a 5-start facility according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Dr Heitor’s overarching goal is to bring Geriatrics to its rightful spotlight. To further establish this discipline as a salient specialty of upmost importance in guaranteeing older adults proper health access and care and improving society at large with cultural sensibility and competency.
“As defined by The American Geriatrics Society (AGS), “Geriatrics is the specialty focused on the high-quality, person-centered care we all need as we age. ‘High-quality care’ aims to improve health, independence, and quality of life for older people. ‘Person-centered care’ puts our personal values and preferences at the heart of our care decisions”. Hence, Geriatric Care encompasses the much relevant need to promote not only physical and psychological well-being but ultimately a culture of respect and inclusion.”
Dr. Grendon is currently the Chief of Geriatric Medicine & Chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine at St. Joseph Hospital. He has a private practice called the Commonwealth Medical Physician Group in Chicago.
The Health & Rehabilitation Center & Skilled Care Team
Liza is a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator (LNHA) and Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) with a broad spectrum of work experience, ranging from medical social worker positions at Chicago hospitals to work she completed in Cambodia, Ecuador and the UK. Liza is passionate about assisting at-risk populations, particularly older adults and refugees. She is a graduate of Cornell University (Bachelor of Science in Hotel Administration) and New York University (Master of Social Work). Liza is a curious, lifelong learner, recently having earned the designations of QAPI Certified Professional (QCP) and Dementia Care Specialist. She also has a bit of an adventurous streak – recent trips include Guatemala and Gabon (Central Africa). Liza first joined Selfhelp in 2017 as the Director of Healthcare Admissions and became the Healthcare Administrator in February 2019.
“I feel an emotional connection with The Selfhelp Home. My goal is to work towards making Selfhelp the best facility possible for all its residents.”
Logan grew up in Leawood, Kansas. She attended the University of Kansas (Rock Chalk!) and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Exercise Science. She then obtained a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Kansas Medical Center. Logan has experience in a variety of different settings including acute care, skilled nursing, acute rehab and home health, but she has always had a passion for the geriatric population. She enjoys fitness, traveling, Kansas City sports and spending time with her husband and their Bernese Mountain Dog Samson!
“What I enjoy most about Selfhelp is the shared commitment to always provide the highest quality of care to our patients, and the ongoing collaboration with the interdisciplinary teams.”
Elizabeth joins our team as an experienced Director of Admissions in healthcare. She has a Bachelors in social work from Northeastern Illinois University and has six years of experience working in a skilled nursing facility. She is passionate about helping patients and their family transition to a comfortable homelike setting such as The Selfhelp Home. Elizabeth lives in Portage Park with her partner, Cynthia, and enjoys reading current events, listening to music and spending time with family.
“Everything happens for a reason. To feel truly accomplished, you must love what you do. The opportunity to work at The Selfhelp Home has been the best decision I’ve made professionally. I immediately felt a connection to The Selfhelp Home and the team’s compassion and dedication to ensuring the high quality of care. Our team always goes the extra mile for guests and residents.”
Renee joined our team with 15 years of social work experience. She grew up in Cleveland, OH, and got her masters in Social Work at Loyola University in Chicago. Renee spent the past 11 years working in hospitals, most recently at Presence, Amita Health, in the skilled nursing unit. Renee lived in London for 3 years working with Children and Families Services. She lives in the neighborhood and has a dog named Daisy.
“What I love most about my job is that everybody treats everybody like family, I got the feeling of home, right from the very beginning.”
The best part about Carmen’s job is experiencing life through the residents. Carmen’s positive energy meets residents on whatever level they are on. She’s passionate about discovering new programs that enhance the life of the residents. Her winning attitude and dedication creates an inviting and warm atmosphere wherever she goes. Carmen is a certified Dementia Care Unit Manager and a Certified Activity Director.
“Over the years, the residents have helped me grow as a person, and I have learned so much about life through them.”
Adwoa was introduced to Selfhelp by her sister and her mom, who both still work at Selfhelp. She started in the dietary department as an aide and worked her way up to Supervisor. On Saturday’s you will find her as the weekend manager of the Home. Adwoa went to Northern Illinois University, was born in Ghana and came to Chicago’s north side when she was 8 years old. She graduated from Senn High School. Most of all, Adwoa enjoys working with the staff and residents.
“The love and care that I get- once I step in this building makes it very easy to say this is my second home. They are my grandparents; I am their grandchild and we are family!”
Pio joined the team as the first male nurse at The Selfhelp Home. He started out part-time on the 11pm-7am shift and today he assists the Director of Nursing with hiring and training staff. Pio supervises all of the nurses and CNA’s, ensuring the highest quality of care is being delivered to the patients and residents in both the Health and Rehabilitation Center and on our long-term healthcare floors. Pio lives in the neighbored, has an impressive shoe collection, and has a passion for fixing hearing aids and eyeglasses.
“My favorite part of the job is compassion. I love taking care of our residents because my parents live far away, so the residents are my substitute parents.”
Joy is responsible for coordinating the plan of care for our short-term patients, overseeing assessments, and ensuring compliance with Medicare. Joy is a certified Resident Assessment Coordinator and works with the interdisciplinary team at Selfhelp (that includes nursing, rehab, activities, dietary and social services) to create a patient-centered plan, and ensures every patient’s care plan is followed through. Joy has become an important part of the healthcare department and has previously held other roles at Selfhelp, such as acting Director of Nursing.
“I love it here, it is like my second family. I truly enjoy taking care of the residents. It makes me happy to see the residents being taken care of and making sure their needs are met.”
The Assisted Living Team
Ivory Rodriguez leads our assisted living care team, she joined The Selfhelp family 12 years ago – as an overnight aid on the assisted living floor and has been promoted to several different roles since then, including Assisted Living coordinator and a nurse in our skilled nursing unit. Ivory has managed care plans and is also a certified Restorative Nurse as well as a certified Wound Nurse. She has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Kaplan University and a Licensed Practical Nurse from Northwestern Institute of Health and Technology. Ivory is currently attending Chamberlain College of Nursing for her bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) and lives in Chicago with her husband and two children, David and Mia.
“The Selfhelp Home has always been a second home to me. The Residents and staff are like my family. This is probably why I have continued to pursue my career at Selfhelp, I’ve grown so much both personally and professionally and look forward to continuing to grow here.”
Arielle Lewis joined the Selfhelp family with 5 years’ experience in aging services. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Public Health with focus of gerontology and a minor in Jewish Studies. Arielle directs the community outreach program, works with our volunteers and helps our residents solve problems. Arielle lives in Lakeview with her husband and daughter where she enjoys hosting big Shabbat dinners!
“It is a privilege to work with the residents at Selfhelp. I am passionate about our strong traditions, meaningful mission and warm community life.”
A native of North Carolina, Benna moved here to attend the University of Chicago as an undergraduate, and has lived in Chicago for the past 10 years. She received her MSW at the University of Michigan School of Social Work where she focused on aging and participated in a geriatric scholarship program. She has worked as a program aide at a day center for adults with dementia, and in several skilled nursing and long-term care facilities as a social worker. She is fluent in Yiddish, loves to travel, and has spent time living in France as a volunteer farmer. She is thrilled to work with The Selfhelp Home team.
“The Selfhelp Home feels more like a family than any other place I’ve worked. The longevity of some of the staff is really impressive and inspiring, and this longevity contributes to making Selfhelp special!”
Laura Zellhofer joined The Selfhelp Home in May of 2017. She had been a Retirement Counselor at Montgomery Place in Hyde Park for 12 years prior to joining our team. Laura attended the University of Chicago and earned her Master’s Degree in Psychology. She also attended Northwestern University and the University of Pennsylvania. Laura was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pa., but has made Chicago her permanent home for the past 35 years. She is married to a retired physician and they have two dogs, Samantha and Shelly. Her strength is in fostering long lasting partnerships with her clients to enable them to make a smooth transition from their home to our community.
Jonathan’s role is to enrich and grow Jewish learning and engagement at the Home. Jonathan has a background in Jewish communal service, having served as the Assistant Director of the Chicago Chapter of the American Jewish Committee (AJC). Previously, he practiced law in Chicago and earned his J.D. at DePaul College of Law. Jonathan and his wife Dafna live in Skokie with their 13 year old daughter who attends Chicago Jewish Day School.
“I love learning with and from our residents. Each resident brings a unique Jewish history and identity with them, and together, with kindness, open minds and mutual respect, we have created a nurturing, pluralistic Jewish community devoted to study, prayer and Jewish culture.” – Jonathan
“Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” – Albert Einstein
Fern organizes activities for residents at The Selfhelp Home. She is responsible for bringing in over 100 live classical music concerts a year, making Selfhelp a venue for some of the most renowned local musicians. Book clubs, lectures and Tai Chi are other ways she makes sure residents have interesting programs. Fern is also an internationally recognized artist and has been with The Seltfhelp Home for 30 years.