A Caregiver for the Ages
It’s not often when one’s childhood desires, life experiences, passion and education all converge into one end goal.
As the owner of No Senior Left Behind, a nonprofit organization that offers caregiving and resources to senior citizens in Granite City, Illinois, Tawanda Story struck out those four balls with one swing of a bat.
“I truly believe that I was created to be a caregiver,” Story said. “As a little girl, I knew I wanted to be a nurse and to care for people.”
That drive led Story to become a licensed practical nurse, especially after taking care of her mother and aunt, who both died of cancer by the time she turned 15.
“When she passed, the baton was handed to me at such a young age to care for my father,” she said. Becoming a nurse was a no-brainer, and her father is now a 14-year prostate cancer survivor. However, Story found that being a nurse lacked the weight to make calls on a larger scale.
“It didn’t take me long to understand that nurses work hard to advocate for our patients, but it’s actually the people in the offices that make decisions,” she said. “I knew that if I really wanted to advocate, I needed a bit more power to do so.”
Story shifted educational gears and received a Bachelor’s in Business Management and a Master’s in Healthcare Administration, leading to the foundation of No Senior Left Behind.
The goal of No Senior Left Behind is simple: “To make sure that the seniors of our communities have what they need and are connected to the resources available to them.”
As a nonprofit, No Senior Left Behind is left to take care of seniors through the donations and grants they receive, with most of Story’s time spent lobbying for senior care and fundraising to provide the services that many of them need.
“The biggest challenge for me is to see so many seniors living in subpar housing, trying to stretch their limited income, and doing without important things such as medication,” she said.
And with many seniors now living longer and the baby boomer population entering retirement, Story says that demand for senior care is growing.
“Seniors are wanting to remain in their homes as long as possible and with programs and services like NSLB in place, we can make sure that happens.”
Story is more than happy to do it. “My favorite part of owning this type of business is that I can advocate and provide care outside the box,” she said, noting how much more creative and compassionate she can be with the autonomy she has.
With Story behind the wheel, No Senior Left Behind is really gearing up to meet their namesake.
“Our next steps are to create a presence within the metropolitan area,” she said. “We want this campaign of caring for seniors to become viral and international.”
These steps include everything from creating jobs for individuals that are passionate about senior care to developing a summer program for young men to show them how to treat seniors.
“Caring for seniors is not something that we should take lightly. Our seniors deserve to be cared for with dignity and respect. We owe them that much.”
Small Business Majority held a photo contest to find the most creative small businesses around for National Small Business Week. Each day, we’ll be highlighting one of the winners in a profile on our blog. Today’s winner is No Senior Left Behind.