A Tale of Resilience – From being told “school is a waste of time for you” to establishing scholarships for CiminoCare team members.
As Wilma Cimino became an octogenarian this year (meaning she’s 80 years young), the anxiety and pressure of ‘What to get Mom for Christmas?’ reached new heights. As people get older and wiser, the need for material things starts to wane, and the focus on what they want turns to being with loved ones, creating memories, and leaving legacies.
Wilma grew up during World War II in occupied Florence, Italy, where the city was torn apart by guns and bombs. Shortly after the war, Wilma, with what we now understand to be undiagnosed dyslexia, struggled in school. In fact, her teacher informed her parents one day that, “school was a waste of time for Wilma!” Imagine a sixth-grader in today’s society being told to go home and get a job. Deeply discouraged, that is what Wilma humbly accepted. At age 12, Wilma joined her mother as a seamstress, attending trade-school part-time. When she immigrated to the USA, after marrying John Cimino, she continued to support the family by sewing in various cleaners and clothing stores until she was inspired to start caring for the elderly people in her neighborhood and through her church.
Because of her lack of access to an education, Wilma has always made tremendous financial sacrifices to make sure her children had an education. When Wilma and John had NO money, they still made the commitments and had faith that somehow, some way, it would all work out. Wilma always told her children of how she wished she could have received a formal education and dreamed of what she ‘might have’ accomplished.
Flash-forward many years later to now and Wilma, as we know, has joined the ranks of octogenarians. Wilma has still not received a formal education, but she is the matriarch of a growing family business of senior living communities, and to this day continues to be an active part of the company. All five of her children have attended college and several have advanced degrees. Wilma knows first-hand that a little help and encouragement can change lives. That is why she has continued to give toward the education of others. All of her children have been inspired by her strong work ethic in serving seniors and giving back toward education.
So, understanding all of that history, the question of ‘What to get Mom for Christmas?’ remains. These past few years have been a major challenge, industry-wide, because of the lack of an adequate caregiver work-force. So, a few days before Christmas, worries over this senior care staffing crisis collided with the puzzle of ‘What to get Mom for Christmas!?’ Much like the famous Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup commercial depicting a collision and ‘you got your peanut butter in my chocolate!’ (a must-see for younger kids) the answer became clear to her children: A scholarship in their mom’s name for Certified Nursing Assistants!
We are pleased to announce that in 2020, Wilma and the team will select, for the first time, four worthy candidates to improve their education and skills by becoming Certified Nursing Assistants through the Wilma M. Cimino Scholarship, and thus continue the legacy of providing loving care for seniors. We are partnering with the Careway Health Institute of Sacramento, a company closely aligned with our goals. Rico Foz, the Executive Director of Careway has worked with us for years and shares our appreciation and value for caregiving and senior living. Administrators in the Sacramento region have already begun to receive scholarship applications. Mark, Wilma’s son and CEO of CiminoCare, adds, “There is a lot of enthusiasm from the team members, they feel recognized for the amazing care and are excited to further their formal training”. We look forward to sharing more information about each recipient in the coming months.