Serving others has been an integral part of Stacey Merritt’s life since childhood. Now at Telespond Senior Services, Stacey is dedicated to cultivating personal relationships with clients and caregivers, and she looks forward to helping the organization expand to reach even more older adults in Lackawanna County. Read more of her story below!
What inspired your passion for social work? Serving and showing compassion towards others has always been important to me. I grew up in a family that attended church regularly, and my parents always encouraged me and my brother to help those in need. That always stuck with me. In attending Cairn University (formerly Philadelphia Biblical University), I was further inspired by their motto, “Walk a Different Path.”
What led you to Telespond Senior Services? I started working at Allied Services in 2016 as a Medical Social Worker in their Skilled Nursing Center in Scranton. I have also worked at Lackawanna Health and Rehab Center in Peckville per diem as a Social Worker. Right before joining Telespond I had worked down at Allied Services Meade Street Skilled Nursing Center in Wilkes Barre. In taking the position with Telespond, I wanted to continue to work with older adults, but I wanted to branch out of the long-term care sector and this was the perfect opportunity to do so. Working in Long Term Care has assisted me with learning about community resources in both Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties.
What qualities make you a good social worker? Anyone who wants to be a social worker needs to have a heart for helping people and meeting them where they are. Empathy is another important quality; I try to put myself in the shoes of my clients as well as their families because caring for an older adult can be a full-time job. Communication is also necessary, both in the profession and even just in everyday life. Without it, nothing can really be accomplished, and at Telespond it is extremely important to make sure we share our services with our families and the greater community.
What has been most rewarding in your job at Telespond thus far? Getting to know the clients and their families, especially through speaking with them one-on-one. I always enjoy watching the clients’ faces light up when sharing stories or participating in the activities at our on-site adult day program. I am so excited to see Telespond Senior Services grow to allow more clients to come to our on-site program and participate in the other programs we offer.
Since you didn’t grow up in the northeast PA area, what led you here? I am originally from Blairstown, a small town in northwestern New Jersey. Growing up, my family attended and worked with a summer church camp called Camp Orchard Hill in Dallas, PA. When I was in college, I was able to complete my social work internship at the Meadows Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Dallas as well. I then moved up to the Harveys Lake area and later moved to Scott Township, where I now reside with my family.
When you're not at work, what do you enjoy doing? I enjoy spending time with my husband Brad, my 4-month-old son Caleb, and our black lab Athena. I also enjoy photography, being outside, and going to our family cabin in Sullivan County.