East Ridge at Cutler Bay, the area’s only life plan community, recently recognized eight employees as the community’s 2019 Associate Scholarship recipients.

The East Ridge at Cutler Bay Foundation’s scholarship program has been in existence for only four years and to date, has distributed more than $36,000 in scholarships. All funds are donated by East Ridge residents, family members, friends and employees.

“Residents and associates have a symbiotic relationship,” said Troy Hart, President of SantaFe Senior Living and East Ridge. “We find time after time on our resident satisfaction surveys that nothing is rated higher than the relationships developed with staff. Residents see an opportunity for employees to grow through furthering their education and want to be part of their successes. It’s important that we celebrate these bonds.”

A committee of community residents including Mary Cross, Jeff Haller, Cynthia Kay, Thomasine Morris, and Sandra Reed along with East Ridge’s Executive Director Ken Cormier and Human Resource Business Partner Debbion McFarlane reviewed each applicant’s submission.

The criteria used to select recipients are based on the number of hours the employee works at East Ridge, length of his or her employment, supervisors’ recommendation, grade point average and personal essay. Scholarship amounts vary and are paid to the educational institution of the applicant.

The recipients of this year’s scholarships, which totaled $16,000, include:

  • Call Center Clerk Kristine Baiardi, who is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in architecture at Miami Dade College;
  • Three Palms Skilled Nursing Certified Nursing Assistant Nia McDuffey, who is pursuing her practical nurse license at Robert Morgan Educational Center;
  • Three Palms Skilled Nursing Assistant Antoria Carter who is pursuing her practical nurse license at Robert Morgan Educational Center;
  • Three Palms Skilled Nursing Certified Nursing Assistant Laura Charite who is pursuing an associate degree in nursing at Miami Dade College;
  • Call Center Coordinator Andrea Luebano who is pursuing a Master in Social Work at Miami Dade College;
  • Assisted Living Department Registered Nurse Udaipaul Persaud who is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in nursing at Miami Dade College;
  • Home Health Aide Triniquea Hall who is attending Life Line Med Training and pursuing a medical assistant certification;
  • Environmental Services Housekeeper Amparo Montejo who is pursuing a cosmetology certification at La Belle Beauty Academy.

Persaud, who started his tenure at East Ridge as a certified nursing assistant 14 years ago, thanked residents for their support and contributions.

“This scholarship will go a long way toward to my future and enable me to give back to society,” he said. “My ultimate goal is to become a mental health practitioner and the possibilities in that field are unlimited.”

To learn more about the East Ridge at Cutler Bay Foundation’s Scholarship program, please call David Kremer at 352-262-6510.

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