They came to The Surrey Academy with different backgrounds, but Zaina and Nikki had the same goal. Both wanted to become caregivers and receive the training and instruction needed to be well prepared and successful. “The three part training process was exactly what I needed to become a professional caregiver,” said Nikki.

This week, Surrey held a graduation ceremony for Zaina and Nikki after they successfully completed a comprehensive curriculum that included classroom studies, hands-on skills training, and internships with professional caregivers. Both candidates then successfully passed the Pennsylvania Direct Care Worker exam, both scoring in the 90% percentile.

Following the ceremony, Nikki went directly to work with a new home care client. Zaina is scheduled to begin work in early August.

This story is not solely about the accomplishments of these two women. It is also a story of a successful partnership among three organizations that share a vision to improve caregiving in their community. Surrey has been a leader among senior services organizations in offering ground-breaking programs that help support aging in place. Surrey’s center for innovation, The Beilenson Institute for Innovation in Aging, identified the need for a training and mentoring program to help family caregivers and those who aspire to a career in caregiving.

While Surrey and The Beilenson Institute had the expertise to provide a sustainable training program, they needed support from other organizations to launch The Surrey Academy. Haverford Township and the Bennett Family Foundation saw the potential to aid both those who are seeking employment and those who are caring for their loved ones at home.

Together these three organizations have graduated the first of what will be a growing number of individuals who will be able to fill the tremendous need for in home care in our region.