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Get to know Alyssa Colter, life enrichment director

Alyssa Colter began her career at Topeka Presbyterian Manor more than 10 years ago.

She earned her certified nursing assistant designation during her senior year at Washburn Rural High School. In her first job at Presbyterian Manor, she worked as a CNA on the evening shift.

That was the beginning of a path through different roles in the community. First, Alyssa switched to the day shift, then she shifted to medical records.

While she has enjoyed learning how to do different jobs in the community, her favorite position so far is the one she has held for the past two years: life enrichment director.

“I was interested in working in this area because I wanted to bond with the residents in a different way,” Alyssa said.

That was a challenge at first, because the community was still in “complete lockdown” when she assumed her new position.

“I really just focused on trying to connect with everyone, even though we couldn’t all be together,” she said.

She and her staff facilitated outside connections, too. The life enrichment department was also tasked with scheduling video calls and outdoor visits for residents and their family and friends.

“Keeping residents connected with family is a big part of what we do,” she said.

Now that more regular activities have resumed, Alyssa is enjoying her favorite perk of the job: spending time with residents.

“I get to see them being a little more silly and a little more goofy,” she said. “And one of my favorite things is learning their stories.”

In her new role, Alyssa has introduced some different activities and gatherings, and she has also focused on using technology during activity time. For example, residents might go on a virtual tour of a museum located thousands of miles away from Topeka.

Alyssa spends most of her free time raising her “absolutely wonderful” 10-year-old son Kaden, who will be a fifth grader in the fall. Her other charge is a lab and beagle mix.

Her family is “outdoorsy,” and Alyssa takes Kaden on a big camping trip every year. This summer, they visited Melvern Lake.

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