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Annemarie and Bri

Annemarie and Briana formed an instant connection. “In all my years as a teacher and entrepreneur, I’ve become a good judge of character,” Annemarie recalls. “And I trusted Briana from the start. She knew what she was talking about. I could trust her.”

Prior to joining Renewal Care, Briana worked in the nonprofit sector, specializing in disaster relief. After Hurricane Katrina, she moved to New Orleans, where she lived for five years supporting people in need and helping rebuild the city. “New Orleans became like a second home,” Briana says. “I’ve stayed connected to the city. Even after moving to New York and joining Renewal Care, I’ve used paid time off to go back to New Orleans as a volunteer.”

“During my time in New Orleans, I helped rebuild the homes of many seniors,” Briana says. “From that experience, I saw how vulnerable the aging population can be, and also how strong and resilient they often are.”

In particular, Briana recalls her experience with Miss Miriam, one of her neighbors. “I’d help her when she needed a hand with stuff like changing light bulbs or setting her clocks,” Briana says.

Miss Miriam was eighty-two years old when Hurricane Katrina hit. “She ended up having to climb into her son’s attic and wait on his roof for two days to be rescued once the flooding started,” Briana says.

“When I asked her why she moved back, she said it was because this was her home and she never wanted to live anywhere else,” Briana says. “I think a lot of elderly people feel the same way about wanting to stay in their home as long as possible, even if there is a natural disaster or they develop a physical or memory impairment that makes this more difficult. ”

While Briana mostly supports Annemarie with the bookkeeping and bill paying, they still exchange news and stories of their lives. Annemarie proudly shared the news about her newest grandson in December; Briana’s previous volunteer experience at a furniture bank helped Annemarie figure out where to donate her unused furniture.

“I think Annemarie was trying to keep up with all of the responsibilities she used to do when she was younger, and it was really difficult,” Briana says. “After finding people like me she can rely on, she’s been able to let go of some of the stress she was feeling and make more room for the many good things in her life.”