‘A wonderful person’: Woman rewarded for her work at adult day care center

Julianne Hicks received NBC12's Acts of Kindness award for her work at an adult day care center in Amelia County.
Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 2:47 PM EDT
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AMELIA, Va. (WWBT) - There’s an adult day care center in Amelia County welcoming senior citizens with “Open Arms.”

Julianne Hicks is the woman caring for the seniors in her community.

“I do everything myself, from the transportation, the marketing, the arts and crafts. I am a very hands-on person,” she said. “It’s my calling. I love the elderly community. Whatever I can do to help them I’m there.”

Five days a week, seniors get a chance to engage with each other through group activities, puzzles and arts and crafts.

“We’re building friendships here,” said Hicks. “It’s just a place for them to be comfortable.”

Her desire to give back is rooted in her love for someone close to her heart.

“My grandmother,” said Hicks. “I lost her. It’ll be two years in January, and she was my heart and soul. And every day that I get up, I do this for her.”

The cost to provide this service isn’t cheap.

“Since I’ve been here in 2019, my husband and I drained our savings. I don’t see this business as just making money. I do it from my heart,” said Hicks.

Money is tight for a lot of families and most of these seniors are on a fixed income.

For that reason, Hicks says she works with each family individually to pay what they can, when they can.

“I always tell the families, I’m not going to turn anyone away because we’re in this together,” she said.

In need of help, Hicks turned to other local organizations for donations. Joan Burch is a member of Terrapin Neck Grange, a group devoted to giving back.

“I was just so impressed by her spirit,” said Burch. “She is one of those people that just gives, gives, gives. She expects nothing back. And she is just a wonderful person. So you can just tell right away. It’s amazing what she’s done there, and it’s all out of pocket.”

The group donated supplies to help Hicks, but also wanted to do a little more, thanks to the NBC12′s Acts of Kindness. Hicks was overjoyed and Burch is confident she knows exactly what to do with this gift - $300 in cash and a $50 gift card to Mexico Restaurant.

“I think she can probably stretch it. You know, she’s one of those people that can. Oh, she’ll make it go as far as it absolutely can,” said Burch.

Hicks has aspirations of expanding and welcoming even more seniors with Open Arms.

She says it’s a population that deserves to be taken care of.

“The seniors are often forgotten, you know, and we need to make them feel special,” said Hicks. “Especially with Alzheimer’s. It’s a sickness that I’m hoping that they’ll soon find a cure for.”