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Gift in Memory of Sylvia Schumaker to Fund Nursing Education


“She was a registered nurse for her whole life,” Rebecca Rosen said of her mother, Village Shalom resident Sylvia Schumaker. After Sylvia’s death in March 2013 at the age of 92, Rebecca wanted “to do something to honor her that combined nursing and Village Shalom.”

Sylvia Schumaker

So she decided to help those who, like her mother, have dedicated their lives and careers to helping others. Rebecca Rosen made a generous gift that, over the next five years, will help to train Village Shalom’s nursing staff in the specialized area of end-of-life care.

“When Mom was given a terminal diagnosis, she was asked where she wanted to die. There was not a tear shed from anyone sitting around the table when she said, ‘I want to die here’ at Village Shalom. She had lived here for eight years, and she got terrific care from the staff and from hospice,” Rebecca explained. “What better legacy for Sylvia than to fund nursing education for that final journey? It honors both her passion for nursing and her great appreciation for Village Shalom – the place she chose to live and the place she chose to die.”

With the first portion of that generous contribution, two members of the Nursing Department will begin a course in “Palliative Care Nursing: Caring for Suffering Patients.” Kelly Powell, Clinical Services Manager, and Duke Ondieki, House Supervisor, plan to begin the 19-CEU course early this summer. In turn, they will share their new knowledge with the rest of Village Shalom’s nursing staff.

“Sylvia died on March 10,” said Kelly, “and every year on that date, we will begin some foundation-laying training in her memory. Then, on Sylvia’s birthday – November 15 – we will do staff training for all the CNAs on every shift.” Those staff training sessions will begin with a brief presentation about Sylvia, the importance of nursing in her own life, and how the gift of continuing education to Village Shalom’s nurses was inspired by her.

The training “is going to help us do what we do so much better,” Kelly added. “Because it is in Sylvia's honor makes it even more special for those of us who knew her and loved her. The fact that we knew her and that she knew nursing – that’s huge to us.”

The impact also promises to be “huge” for Village Shalom residents and families for many years to come.