Janae Fair Is on Board at the Wellness Center

It is a real pleasure for me to introduce Janae, a new-to-me Wellness Instructor in the Wellness Center here at Sunnyside.

Janae’s parents were from North Carolina and moved around a lot as her dad was a youth pastor based in Kentucky. She was born in Morehead, Kentucky. When her father became a middle school teacher, they moved to the Valley. Her mom is a CPA, with her own successful practice. She considers the Valley to be her true home.

Janae has two older brothers, close in age and relationally. Her older brother, Tyler, is a registered nurse with a heart for outreach. Friends from their church had built a hospital in Chad, Africa. Tyler volunteered to go and will be practicing nursing for six months altogether.

Brandon, the younger brother, is an artist and writer. He also does spoken word and writes Christian rap music. For his day job, he works for VA Tech in fisheries science. His crew goes on projects all over U.S. to test stream health for fish. Brandon is a free spirit and enjoys being outside. He lives at home when he is not on the road.

This is actually Janae’s second employment with SS. She came across an email advertising a 16-hour a week position at Sunnyside. She was originally here for a year and a half.

In the interim, she moved around a lot. When she was 20, she developed an anxiety disorder and could barely function. She described herself as a “people person,” but struggled with people. But she made the decision to get up and stop feeling sorry for herself. She started raising money for a Campus Crusade for Christ trip in South America. She went on the two-week trip, but found some stressful obstacles. It caused lots of anxiety. On this trip, she had to practice her bravery when she was feeling overwhelmed. She trusted God to see her through.

Each participant on the trip shared their story, but she found it very hard to share her own story. When she tried, she was overcome by fear of the opinions of others. She remembers that when she started speaking, she felt peace flood over her like a warm blanket, as God is strong and more powerful than any doubt. It was a growth experience for her; she is more understanding of her trials and disagreements; she knows God is going before her, providing comfort and joy.

When she returned, she moved to Asheville working part-time as a nanny from January through April 2019. She looked all over for a job working in a wellness center, retirement community, but no luck, lots of anxiety. She needed a job with benefits. Finally, she prayed for God’s guidance and looked up job opportunities on a wellness job center site. Lo and behold, Sunnyside popped up. That is when she found she was willing to go anywhere but home! But no other job came up. and it was full-time with benefits. She knew it would be tough to go back home, and it was hard having to come back to her old life.

A lot was the same; same church, same home, same friends; but a big change in perspective. Although she was frustrated she had to come back, now it is clear to her that this is where she needs to be. It has been one of her best decisions.

Janae stays busy! Not only does she work fulltime at SS, she also works as a barista, and a caretaker for a teenager with Down Syndrome. She finds herself more content, a lot happier. She has been treated with immense kindness and acceptance, especially when she is having an off day. Then, someone acknowledges that she matters and has value.

Two employees stand out as positive guides: one in health care and one in the clinic. She has positive relations with both. They uplift her; she enjoys good conversation with them and finds them to be supportive. She is grateful for the opportunity to know them.

She works with two Terrace residents who have dementia; they have brought her a lot of joy and shown her their incredible freedom to be and do as they choose. They have a fun spirit and share that with her.

Janae feels like the residents “get” her; she comes to work for the interaction with them. The residents show her how brief life can be, how it can end at any time. She doesn’t take things for granted. She realizes that each time she sees them may be the last.

She says that being at SS has created a space for her to be herself. This is facilitated by the people she has met. They have offered love and grace; she feels like she can be who she is and be accepted for that.

Janae is looking forward to the new Wellness Center. She says the center needs more space, room for residents to not feel crammed together.

Janae shared a dream with me. She wants to buy a van, fix it up to live in, and travel the western states. Listening to her talk about it makes me want to go, too!