In a 10th grade geometry class, Alison’s thinking went off on a tangent to the idea of developing an “Adopt a Grand Parent Program.” She had been regularly visiting a long time grand-parently family friend who lived in a nursing home – and had noticed that there were some residents who were lonely and received few visitors. So she passed a note along to a friend and an idea took hold. Later that year the Roanoke Rapids High School Key Club developed this program, matching its 30 club members with a nursing home resident whom they visited on a weekly basis. Remarkably and thankfully, the program continues to this day.
Alison eventually went off to college to Wake Forest University with plans to be a lawyer, and hopes to follow in the footsteps of her father and grandfather. She admired the work they had done often providing services for people who were poor, uneducated or unable to stand up for themselves, and those in need – even remembering the bartering of legal services for fruits and vegetables from family farms.
It was a surprising twist that refocused Alison on her concern for the elderly and her eventual career in social work. While participating in a study abroad program in England in her senior year in college she completed a research project on “Health Care for the Elderly in Great Britain,” rekindling her interest.
Alison received her Master’s in Social Work at UNC Chapel Hill. She has been practicing since 1984 with special interests in the elderly, adult children with aging parents, people dealing with life transition issues, and GLBT individuals and couples. She joined Psychological Health Roanoke about 1 year ago.
Alison offers this quote from Winston Churchill: “You make a living by what you get, you make a life by what you give.”