Jackie Harvey and Israel Anderson bring creativity, innovation to Tioga

August 15, 2018


Jackie Harvey (far left) and Israel Anderson (back center) with the Tioga team and Tioga resident Jeanne Renna (bottom center)

Jackie and Israel team up to bring new, exciting enrichment opportunities each day to Tioga’s residents.

The elevator beeps as it reaches the ground floor at Tioga Apartments and the steel doors push open.

When the short ride downstairs reaches its final destination, there’s already a commotion and hearty laughs coming from Tioga’s nearby Activity Room.

That’s where Jackie Harvey and Israel Anderson ply their craft on a daily basis. On this scorching summer morning outside, they’re inside setting up tables and hooking equipment up to the television that hangs from the corner part of the ceiling, preparing for the morning’s activity: a workout class.

“The residents, they love this workout class,” Jackie said as Israel toyed with the wires on the television. “They really look forward to this.”

Jackie is Tioga’s Social Services Coordinator, a role she has officially held at Presby for the last two years. She served in this same position at Tioga previously under a contracted vendor.

Israel, a member of the Presby family for the last six years, is the Computer Facilitator at Tioga, a role in which he assists residents with the ever-changing technology of today’s world.

But together, Jackie and Israel form an innovative, fun-loving tandem that bring all kinds of life enrichment to Tioga each week and smiles and laughs from residents. Whether it’s a movie day or a theme day or anything else, Jackie and Israel make it all come to life.

“It’s important to have these activities because it stimulates the mind,” Israel said.

“A few months ago, we did an Old School Jam Celebration,” he continued. “It was supposed to be a little party for the residents, but they turned it into something bigger. They started cooking meals and bringing them down for everybody. Jackie and the staff, we all came together. Everyone was dancing and having a great time. Some even came to me and said how much they enjoyed that sense of being together.”

“It was like a disco with an old-school theme,” Jackie explained. “That’s the thing they enjoyed. They said they felt like they were back in the club or something along those lines. We transformed the place for them. We even had a photo booth. They raved about it. It’s that kind of thing we try and bring. We have so much to bring and give here.”

But that’s just a small example of what Jackie and Israel are capable of.

They make sure they come to work positive and upbeat attitudes. They bring that spirit to work every day and want it to be infectious to the residents and throughout the entire building.

“The residents, when they see the staff working together and laughing and being happy around one another, that spills over to them,” Jackie said. “It’s a great experience each day. We really are like one big family.”

Israel shared the same sentiments wholeheartedly.

“It’s a great feeling to wake up in the morning and come to a place where you feel like you can be yourself,” Israel said. “You can also learn and work hard with other people who share the same mindsets with you. Of course there are different opinions here and there, but we are all focused on the same goal: working together for the residents. And I really feel the residents see that and enjoy that. The positivity does spill over.”

When the dust settles at the end of each hectic yet lively day, Jackie and Israel can finally sit down and take a deep breath.

They are happy with what they’ve accomplished and the memorable moments they’ve provided the residents. But in just a few hours, it’s right back to the drawing board to figure out what’s next.

And they each feel they are in a perfect spot to accomplish whatever is next, whether at Tioga itself or for themselves professionally.

“I love what I do here at Tioga,” Jackie said. “I love being here. These people and this building are a part of me. I want to continue to grow here with them and with the building.”

“I feel like Presby is a company that allows you to grow and experience different things,” said Israel, who originally started with Presby as a Housekeeper before becoming a Computer Facilitator.

“I want to learn more of the administrative side and how the building functions. I like learning the ropes of that aspect of affordable housing. I get to do the things I love to do. The people at Presby are just so good and so welcoming. You really just feel like family here. There’s a deep connection. And Presby wants to see you succeed.”