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Arab American Family Services
Blog | Arab American Family Services
Several weeks ago, Arab American Family Services elderly department caseworker Wafa Zegar, received a frantic phone call from a case manager at Managed Care Organizations (health and home service).
She was having a hard time getting in touch wit with an elderly couple who she needed to meet and complete their annual assessment for services.
The couple spoke limited English.
The case manager had even gone to their house and they would not open the door for her.
Persistence: Never Give Up On Your Client | Arab American Family Services
Wafa Zegar, our elderly department caseworker spent hours and days on the phone, reaching out to various federal and state organizations, demanding answers and a solution to this issue.
Realizing that this issue could not be solved during normal business hours, Zegar
decided to make a home visit with the client, going to her
residence and spending her
time and countless hours on the phone, until a solution was made.
"I try to put myself in the place of all my clients," said Zegar
"I try to think, if my parents were in their shoes, how would I handle it and how would I want to see them treated," she
adds that her
clients inspire her
and effect her
in so many ways.
"Listening to them, I find peace, wisdom and see my future and how I want to live it," Zegar
"Many of their stories touch my heart and soul and to listen to them and hear the journey of their lives makes me feel ever so fortunate for what I have," she
says what sets AAFS aside from all other organizations is their persistence.
"We are honest, straight to the point and do not lead our clientele in the wrong direction.
We educate them on their rights, responsibilities and what is right from wrong," she
adds that she
always makes sure to relay her
motto to her
clients: we are here to help you, not hurt you.
"Making progress and reaching a solution that helps our seniors is what makes my job worth while and rewarding," Zegar
Wafa Zegar has been working ...
Wafa Zegar has been working with seniors since she began with AAFS in 2005.
Zegar says that often times she is sitting with a client who is so upset, so hurt and afraid of what the future may bring.
"Just listening to their story and what they have endured makes me understand their anger and frustration," Zegar
"They have gone through struggles in their lives that had brought them to us," she
says that many of her
clients have told her
that they visited different organizations seeking help and were faced with caseworkers who had rushed them out, making them feel as if they were second class citizens.
"I have learned to give my clients the time to tell their story and watch that curtain of anger fall off them slowly," she
"And through their talking to me a smile will appear on their face, followed by a tear," Zegar
"And with tears in my eyes, I begin to think to myself, wow, this can happen to anyone, even me," she
, we have a strong belief to treat everyone we meet as if they are our own families.
Many of our elderly caseworkers are humbled because they often think of their own parents when they are working with clients.
"We should never judge anyone in life," said Zegar
"Just listening to our clients and understanding what happened to them makes a difference in their demeanor and self-esteem," she
says the greatest reward is when her
clients thank her
help and begin to see the benefits that they were awarded.
Whether it is CEDA assistance, heating and cooling benefits or Medicare and Medicaid assistance, AAFS helps get them what they need.
"Sometimes, we have struggles come our way and that may change the way we behave," Zegar
"I will continue to try to make a difference in someone's life and help them find themselves again, even if it is just listening and just simply being human," she
"Sometimes, all it takes is someone saying they will listen to their side of the story to make them have a glimmer of home," Zegar
"My elderly clients always leave a lasting effect on me, as well as inspire me with their stories," she
"I have come to admire them more and more and have the utmost respect for them and learned that it is through them, I can plan my future, as they always enrich me with what I can do to make my life and my family's life better," Zegar
"Do not judge anyone because you never know the inner struggles that someone faces, or has faced," she
The needs of elderly Arab-Americans were ...
The needs of elderly Arab-Americans were highlighted by Dr. Elizabeth Essex, Associate Professor in Social Work at Governors State University, and Ms. Wafa Zegar, the Senior Elderly Case Manager at AAFS.