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NERSC: A conference that was well worth attending!

Posted: May 8, 2013

If my colleagues Gaye Freed and Laura Isenberg hadn’t gone ahead and volunteered me as a presenter at the 15th annual New England Resident Services, Inc. Conference (NERSC) I would never have given this organization a second thought.  In my mind it was a conference that our RSC’s attended every year with consistently glowing reports.

NERSC’s mission is “to expand and enhance the profession of Resident Service Coordinators throughout New England”.  Each year the conference is held in a different New England state.  The setting for this conference was a resort called Ocean’s Edge in Brewster. MA.  Lucky me!  A gorgeous setting, plenty of amenities and literally on the ocean’s edge!  But I quickly saw beyond this initial impression.  The locations for the conferences are carefully chosen because the conference is also a retreat for the people who are the day-in, day-out caregivers in affordable housing.  Meditation is offered as part of the conference, yoga and head and shoulder massages.  Also, the NERSC conference approaches the content of their seminars from a housing/management perspective: “Practical Techniques for Deterring, Diffusing and Deescalating Aggressive Interaction”; “Fun and Interactive Ways to Achieve Peace of Mind”; and the all important  “Mental Health and Older Adults in Housing”, the panel on which Laura and I were presenters. The seminars are practical and helpful.

Our presentation lasted for two hours, and was attended by over 100 people. Marsha Frankel, MSW, Jewish Family and Children’s Service and Catherine Downing, Esq, Managing Partner, Downing & Flynn were also on the panel.  Marsha promoted the Mental Health brochure she wrote along with Laura and Caren Silverlieb from JCHE, and told everyone they could access it by going to jche.org.  I saw over 100 pens writing down our website!

This was an amazing experience for me, enhanced by the fact that our own Gaye Freed was the co-chair. She worked the crowds (400 people over 3 days!), took care of her staff’s needs and gave speeches from various podiums.  Gaye has been an integral part of NERSC, and her dedication and effort was evidenced here.  How lucky are we for the visibility this conference affords us, and to Gaye in particular for the interactive framework that helps us, along with our colleagues, improve and learn.

Maxine Bookless is Executive Director of Golda Meir House, a JCHE community. 

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