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Social services director has her ‘dream job’

Before she joined the staff of Salina Presbyterian Manor, Social Services Director Kelley Bieberle already knew the community inside — and out.

As a Bethany College undergraduate, she did her practicum, the field training part of a bachelor’s degree in social work, at Presbyterian Manor.

“I never thought I would work with seniors — never. Then I came here and loved it,” said Kelley, who originally planned to work with children. “Working here changed my whole outlook, and I fell in love with the aging population. To be back here is kind of my dream job.”

Years later, her mother moved in.

“Because I did my practicum here, I knew how great it was,” Kelley said. “There was no other place I wanted her to go.”

After she graduated from Bethany, Kelley went on to earn a master of social work degree from Wichita State. She has worked in a number of different areas in her field, including child welfare, hospice, private practice and geriatric behavioral health. Most recently, Kelley was a military and family life counselor embedded in an elementary school with more than 600 students.

She enjoyed the job in part because Mike, Kelley’s husband of 31 years, is a full-time member of the Kansas Air National Guard. The couple are active in their church and spend “every second they can” with their five grandchildren.

Kelley has been getting acquainted with residents by helping with breakfast when she arrives to work in the morning. She has a standing meeting with the leadership team at 9 a.m., and then she spends a large part of her day doing assessments, which she enjoys because they are essentially long, structured conversations with residents.

Another part of Kelley’s job is helping to facilitate the health care resident council meetings, which are opportunities for residents to bring up concerns. She has also attended assisted living resident council meetings with Chaplain Mary Bridges, with whom Kelley works closely.

Kelley tries to “hang out” with residents as much as possible, such as when she helped decorate the Christmas trees in November.

“I just really like working with older people,” she said. “They know so much, and I love their stories. The residents have my heart.”

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