Watch the 59-year-old Bronx native a bit more and you’ll discover she’s also a person full of character.
Not surprisingly, Caraballo has a lot of friends. Many of which are residents on campus.
‘We love what we do’
“I would say the first thing is genuine. She really, genuinely cares. You don’t feel like she’s paying attention to you just because it’s her job to do so,” resident Claire Marotte says.
“How would I describe Vanessa? Vanessa is very outgoing,” colleague and Society fitness supervisor Chris Kazen says.
“She is a phenomenal personality that makes everybody feel welcome and I don’t know how she does it,” resident Jeanette Ferdig says.
An activities assistant at the Society, Caraballo keeps herself and everyone else busy at the “heart of the village,” the community center.
“We’re here because we love what we do and we’re here for the people,” Caraballo says. “We just have a lot to offer, and the grounds are beautiful. If you don’t have anything else, sit on the bench and listen to nature and the love of God he has given to us every day.”
Marotte moved into an apartment here during the pandemic. “Here, you know, you laugh. During COVID, you really needed that,” Marotte says when talking about interacting with Caraballo and staff.
Ferdig says when she arrived, Caraballo was the first person to make her feel at home. “I absolutely adore what she brings to this community,” Ferdig says. “She knows how to make you feel important and at this stage in your life, you’re probably not as important as you think you are. In Vanessa’s eyes, everybody has a purpose.”
Guardian Angel program To show appreciation for Caraballo’s efforts, Ferdig and Marotte are donating to the Good Samaritan Foundation’s Guardian Angel program in her honor.
“It’s amazing to hear the words specifically that come from the residents,” Chris says about the nominations. He’s received a few himself. 100 of e%very gift supports the Society’s work at that specific location — important work that means a lot to the community.
Caraballo has received 11 Guardian Angel nominations, the most of any employee at the Society. The nomination comes with a special pin, a certificate and a note from the resident or family. “Residents trust her. Residents just have this special bond with her which is amazing,” Chris says.