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New leader chosen for caregiver group

May 18, 1997

By RICHARD F. BELISLE

Staff Writer

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Randi Nordeen is leaving the world of art to devote her energies to the art of helping others.

Nordeen, who worked at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., has become the new executive director of the Good Shepherd Interfaith Caregivers, a non-profit group in Shepherdstown that serves more than 200 elderly, disabled and homebound Jefferson County citizens.

Nordeen, 31, of Washington, D.C., was officially introduced Sunday morning at an ecumenical celebration of Pentecost by all nine Shepherdstown churches. The event was held on North King Street.

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Nordeen was selected from a field of more than 70 applicants, said the Rev. Stan Jones of Trinity Episcopal Church in Shepherdstown. She succeeds the husband and wife team of Donna Acquaviva and Robert Naylor who headed the program since 1990.

She was chosen for her work with the homeless in Washington and for her organizational abilities, he said. "She has a clear sense of mission and ministry and brings solid experience to this position," Jones said.

Her duties will include coordinating the more than 300 Caregiver volunteers, recruiting new volunteers and fund raising, Jones said

Nordeen worked for the National Gallery of Art for seven years, most recently as a development specialist. She will move to Shepherdstown.

"I feel very strongly about this work. I feel I was called to it," Nordeen said. "It's a great way to bring the community together. I have the interest and the passion to do it. I feel it's a ministry," she said.

She will focus on fund raising and expanding services throughout Jefferson County.

Nordeen assumes her new duties today. Her office is in Trinity Episcopal Church.

The organization was launched in 1990 with $20,000 in start-up grants from the Public Welfare Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It grew into a coalition of area churches and a network of volunteers trained by Naylor and Acquaviva.

Naylor said about 200 clients are served a year. In the last seven years 2,500 clients have been matched up with Caregiver volunteers. Many of those relationships have ended in lasting friendships, he said.

The agency primarily helps clients with transportation to medical services, Naylor said. It has a collection of used medical equipment for use by clients. Other Caregiver services include home visits, companionship and reassuring telephone calls.

The Shepherdstown group was the first of its kind in West Virginia. Now there are nine across the state and nearly 1,000 across the country.

The Johnson Foundation offers communities $25,000 start-up grants to form their own caregiver organizations, Jones said. He is chairman of the Foundation's national advisory board for the caregiver project.

Nordeen's $24,000-a-year salary includes benefits, Jones said.

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