Company: Chautauqua Learn and Serve Charter School
Location: Panama City, FL
Mary ‘Joan’ Payelle is a former nurse and educator with the Chautauqua Learn and Serve Charter School. Ms. Payelle has served as a supervisor in obstetrics and also worked in home health care and hospices. After retiring from nursing, she started working with special needs students and served as an Americorps Vista. In any nursing capacity, she had been put in many crises and God was always with her and helped her to make the right decisions; she always gives her thanks to God. A significant event that stands out in Ms. Payelle’s mind is an occurrence that took place in the delivery room when she was delivering twins. The first twin arrived without a problem, and the second twin was breech. A doctor was standing at the door, but she was still a little nervous. Everything went fine, and afterward a nurse anesthetist said to her, “Boy! You were sure saying your prayers.” Ms. Payelle said, “No, I was repeating the book’s procedure. I knew God was with me.” Although she has enjoyed all of her working experiences, the most rewarding work started after 2000. She didn’t have a reason to get out of bed and was suffering from a depression that was progressively getting worse. Her daughter had just returned from Canada and asked her to do crafts at school with high school special needs children. She started with only a few days a week and progressed into becoming a substitute as well as a volunteer. A wonderful teacher also helped Ms. Payelle to become an AmeriCorps Vista volunteer for a Learn and Serve project at the University of Florida. She felt very proud to be one and the three years she served flew by quickly. She took her test and passed and is still active and volunteering. She feels that the main reason that anyone should choose what they do is to have a deep passion for their profession.
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