Danalee Robb and Avareitta Bailey are not only graduates of Washington Adventist University in 2020 — They also happen to be Aunt and Niece!
Danalee has been a nurse for many years and was approached by Avareitta with the possibility of getting a further degree in nursing, and doing it together. Danalee says, “It’s for self-gratification. I’ve been a nurse for almost 30 years, and have small children. I think getting a Master’s in Nursing will show them the importance of education. And for me, it helps me to be a better leader and a better manager for what I’m doing now.
Both Danalee and Avareitta work in a family run business, caring for the elderly and homebound. The Nursing program seemed like a great fit for Avareitta, and she inspired her aunt to further her education. She says, “One of the reasons why I chose WAU is because I’m a traditional learner. I like to be in the classroom. I like the interaction, and one thing that WAU provides is the interaction with the teachers and support from the staff. Not only are you able to email, but you can make appointments and sit down with the instructors, and they guide you, they guide you along the way. That was one of the selling points also to my aunt when I told her that this is the school for us. We live in Bowie, so the commute is not that bad. We were scheduled with two or four-hour classes, so you get to interact with your classmates. So even with the group work that we do, it’s not just telephone calls. We make arrangements, and we can meet up in the building and go over our assignments.”
In this challenging world of COVID-19, Avareitta comes home to a family after working with patients and is continually challenged on how to keep her family safe. She says, “Our family recognizes the importance of staying safe and being clean and free from COVID-19. Our small children have an understanding when mom exits the door and mom comes back in, Mama’s considered dirty, so mom has to get rid of all the clothing that she was wearing outdoors.”
Danalee and Avareitta are very intentional in making sure that during this pandemic, their patients’ needs are taken care of and they are present. Avareitta says, “As far as our residents and their families are concerned, they have an understanding that when the time came and we had to lockdown. We did talk to everybody. We called them, we spoke to them, and they understood, and they appreciated it. So even though we are not able to be there daily, we keep the doors of communication open. So the FaceTime, the WhatsApp, the Google duo… we use every form of communication possible, and we call them and give them updates on their family, to help with anxiety. Another thing that has started recently is family members are coming to the doors and communicating from the outside. So birthdays are being celebrated on the two sides of the glass, or they will come and set up the candles, the cakes, the balloons, and everything. They can stand outside, but still be with their family members, with proper social distancing. They sing Happy Birthday, and you know there are tears of joy. Even though we’re under this crisis, we have to live, and we have to find ways to make their existence joyous, and that’s what we’ve been doing.”
When asked about how they are keeping in contact with their loved ones during the pandemic, Avareitta says, “One of the things that I’ve done with my aunt is, I drive up to her house, and they open the garage door while we’re sitting in our car, they sit in the garage. We all just tell each other how much we miss each other. We also have a church family, not just a blood family, and our children spend a lot of time together.” She continues, “COVID has really taken a lot out of us, but it also has taught us to love and appreciate each other even more. I have learned so much from her, and I love and appreciate her so much, and I tell her that every day.
WAU is proud to call such hardworking professionals a part of our 2020 Graduating class! Congratulations, and may your future journey be amazing!