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Dreams Fulfilled Through Education Assistance Program

Dreams Fulfilled Through Education Assistance Program

Two Mason Pointe Nurse Managers, Lisa Graham and Maribel Pagadora-Kiefer, have fulfilled their dreams of earning their Registered Nurse (RN) degrees thanks to the support of the Lutheran Senior Services (LSS) Education Assistance program.

“I’ve always cared for people,” said Lisa. “I always wanted to be in the nursing field.”

As a child, Lisa helped take care of her grandmother who suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease. She felt drawn to helping others and later began a nursing program. However, she paused her studies before completing the program to care for her three young children. Still hearing the call of nursing, in 2009 she decided to resume her studies and obtained her Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) degree. She joined LSS in 2015 as an LPN providing care at Mason Pointe, a Lutheran Senior Services (LSS) Life Plan Community in Town & Country, Missouri.

Hospitals are a second home to Maribel Pagadora-Kiefer, Nurse Manager, Mason Pointe, who grew up accompanying her father as he did his rounds. “I was exposed to nurses all my life, so I have wanted to be a nurse since I was little,” said Maribel. “That’s where my passion came from.”

Despite her early interest, Maribel tried out accounting and bookkeeping for a few years until she decided to give medicine a try by obtaining her Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) certification. She then went on her earn her LPN. Thanks to the LSS Education Assistance program, she just earned her Registered Nurse (RN) degree. “I never stop learning!” said Maribel.

Maribel has delivered care to residents of LSS for nearly 13 years, first at Meramec Bluffs and now at Mason Pointe. Serving older adults is particularly important to her. “I come from the Philippines. There, we value older people and take care of them,” said Maribel. After spending time in the United States, she decided she wanted to focus on geriatric care. “I think our older people need some love and care. This is where I belong and where I want to focus my career.”

Lisa also loves working with older adults at Mason Pointe.

“Coming to work fulfills me. My favorite thing is caring for the people,” Lisa said of her role at Mason Pointe.

Lisa’s educational journey resumed once again last year when Diana Butler, Director of Nursing at Mason Pointe, encouraged Lisa to pursue her RN through the LSS Education Assistance program.

“Diana and my coworkers really helped me through this by providing the flexibility to work full time and go to school,” said Lisa. “I have a really good group of coworkers!”

While it was a busy time, Lisa is glad she made the decision to pursue her degree. Lisa passed her boards and is looking forward to celebrating her graduation on February 17 with her three now-adult children.

She encourages other team members to explore how they could develop a skill or earn a degree through the LSS Education Assistance program.

“Try it. Always try it. I’m a prime example of ‘keep on pushing, keep on trying, and you’re gonna get it’,” said Lisa. “No matter what age someone is, you’re never too young or too old to try something new.”

Maribel also is grateful for the help she received to pursue her degree from LSS. She advises others to explore the program. “There’s tuition reimbursement, there’s a scholarship program – they are really helpful,” said Maribel, noting that the program is available for team members in all service lines. “Whatever passion you have, LSS is big so you can do whatever you want. It’s there for you if you want to grow.”

Making educational achievement attainable supports LSS’ focus on creating a culture that brings out the best in each other. In addition to the discounted tuition provided through partnerships with universities, team members have access other LSS Educational Assistance Benefit programs. Learn more about LSS education benefits here.

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