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  • This summer, Mandy Arnold stepped into the role of CEO for Partners in Care, a time-exchange organization that helps senior citizens remain active and independent.
    This summer, Mandy Arnold stepped into the role of CEO for Partners in Care, a time-exchange organization that helps senior citizens remain active and independent.

Mandy Arnold Carries On Legacy Of Partners In Care

Dylan Roche
View Bio
September 7, 2017

From a young age, Mandy Arnold knew she wanted to help seniors – it was only a matter of in what capacity she was going to do it. Although she spent several years in the medical field, she found that some of her colleagues didn’t show the same unwavering respect that she did for those in her care. “I would always say that I don’t know how you care for your mother, but can you care for the patients like I care for my mother,” Arnold said.

She found her true calling one recent afternoon when she was having coffee with a member who served on the board of Partners in Care. As it turned out, Barbara Huston, the CEO and a founder of the nonprofit organization — a recognized leader in Maryland for programs and services that support the independence of older adults by using the time and talents of its members, leadership and staff — was retiring and seeking a successor.

“I called and met Barbara, and she and I talked for probably two hours,” said Arnold, who recalled that both she was in tears by the end of the meeting, so overwhelmed was she by enthusiasm for Partners in Care’s mission. “I volunteered for a couple of months before accepting the position as deputy director and to shadow Barbara for a year,” Arnold said. “It was phenomenal to be able to learn through her eyes what Partners in Care was about.” Arnold later interviewed along with others for the CEO position.

Although she has worked for hospitals and colleges — which, she pointed out, are nonprofits — during her career, Arnold has never before understood what she described as “the true reality of a nonprofit.” Partners in Care is located in five counties throughout Maryland and is staffed by 21 paid employees and hundreds of volunteers who undertake its operations, all of which are funded through donations, grants and, primarily, the Boutique, the upscale resale shop adjacent to Partners in Care’s offices in Pasadena.

Despite the challenges of budget and cash flow, Arnold loves her new position leading Partners in Care. “It’s the most amazing organization I’ve ever been around,” she said. “I’ve never heard anybody say no. Everybody is here to help everybody. The people who are a part of this are so dedicated.”

Some of Arnold’s major goals are to find new ways to bring in funding that will help further Partners in Care’s reach in the community. For example, she hopes to sell advertisements for the planners that members use to track their time-exchange hours. She also wants to open a coffee shop that will serve a purpose similar to that of the Boutique. “Members will be in there making baked goods, making coffee, and volunteers will be in there working,” she described. “It’ll be a social environment and it supports the organization. … It’s statistically proven that older adults who are part of a community-based organization are healthier.” This is something she has witnessed firsthand in the Boutique, where members volunteer to do everything from working the cash registers to sorting and tagging the donated merchandise. “They’re needed. They make a difference,” Arnold observed. “When they wake up in the morning, Partners in Care — their family — is here.”

With Partners in Care recently moving the Boutique and its central offices to a new location in Pasadena, Arnold is proud the organization will have a greater presence, but she hopes people understand that the nonprofit isn’t suddenly rolling in discretionary funds. All the beautiful new cubicles, office furniture, store fixtures and displays were donated.

Above all, Arnold wants to help more members of the community hear about Partners in Care and what it does. “When people hear what we do, they want to be a part of it. Who doesn’t want to be?” she said. She encourages people to read up on the background of the organization by visiting www.partnersincare.org or finding and liking “Partners in Care Maryland” on Facebook. Those engaging on social media should use #GenerationPIC to identify themselves as part of a movement where all generations support older adults in their community.

“This is what we were created to be: neighbors helping neigbhors,” she said. “With more awareness and more understanding of what we do, we’ll reach more volunteers and more possibly funding opportunities.”

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