For Renee Dochenetz, helping people has always driven her life. “I like helping people and I find it rewarding to do something that makes a difference in people’s lives,” said Dochenetz. “My goal is to help families focus on being a family, rather than deal with the stress of care giving. Time is precious and Right at Home helps by giving families back that time to spend with each other.”
Renee, who grew up in Michigan, and lived on both coasts (“if you consider Hawaii a coast”), settled in South Carolina to be closer to family and also because South Carolina is a great reflection of Michigan and Hawaii, the two places she loves most. Growing up in Detroit, Renee spent three years teaching inner city children at the Boys and Girls Club and two years teaching under privileged children.
As a lead teacher at a performing arts school, in charge of 11 teachers, Renee initiated a character education program to help kids focus on positive character traits. She also worked with the College for Creative Studies in the city of Detroit, partnering with their kids to create artwork for public display. This brought high visibility to the school and the kids that go there, as this was the first effort to revitalize a defunct section of the city that became green space. In addition, she helped revitalize a mentoring program which focused on health and well-being and making good choices, which followed kids from elementary to high school graduation, to prevent high school dropout.
Having always been close with her grandparents and while she wasn’t focused on their health care, Renee discovered most of what they needed was something she could do. When it comes to caring for an aging parent or grandparent, most people learn as they go. Renee has a degree in educational leadership and has held teaching and administrative positions, experience she is now applying to Right at Home.
How did you hear about the Right at Home concept? I was looking for something that specifically filled this need that people who are caregivers have. Growing up, my mom was the caregiver for both of her parents who chose to live at home as they got older, despite the fact that they needed help with simple, everyday activities. Her time was spent buying groceries, doing laundry and cleaning for them when she could have spent time really talking and listening to what was going on with her mom and dad and what they really needed from her.
What was it specifically about Right at Home that made you want to be part of it? The culture of Right at Home is really positive. It takes a very special leader to create a positive culture that impacts the entire system. Every person at every level is kind and good-hearted. Those values carry down through every franchise employee. Everyone is willing to help and wants to see this business succeed because what we do is so important.
What personal experience do you have in your own family with caring for a senior? I helped my grandma quite a bit once I was old enough to drive. I’d always go to her house and help with the lawn, do cleaning chores, and take her out so she could do the things that she has always done. I wanted to help her as much as I could. She passed away a few years ago.
Are there any non-profit organizations, community groups, volunteer activities, etc. you are/have been involved with? I’ve reached out to the Alzheimer’s Association. Right at Home is a state-wide sponsor of the Alzheimer’s Association’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s in South Carolina. They have a walk in each area of the state, and Greenville and Anderson is in the fall.
When choosing a franchise, what were the criteria you used to make your decision? There are three: making a difference in the community, providing jobs, providing a service that I find personally rewarding. Right at Home allows me to hire people that need jobs and to be part of something that has a positive culture associated with it. I looked at several different industries, and the Right at Home’s owners’ satisfaction score was very high.
What personal obstacles have you overcome to get where you are today that you’re comfortable talking about to reporters? Everyone sees the benefit of being an entrepreneur as the reward that is reaped in the end, but not the sacrifices that are needed to start, manage and maintain a business. My work day doesn’t end, I’m on call 24/7 and having weekends free is non-existent. But I know in the end that having the opportunity to have helped so many people by improving their quality of life will be my reward.
What are your hobbies? What do you like to do for fun? What activities do you enjoy on weekends? I try to work out as much as I can. I also like to camp, snow board, wake board, hike, travel and cook.
ABOUT RIGHT AT HOME
Founded in 1995, Right at Home offers in-home companionship and personal care and assistance to seniors and disabled adults who want to continue to live independently. Local Right at Home offices are independently owned and operated and directly employ and supervise all caregiving staff, each of whom is thoroughly screened, trained, bonded and insured prior to entering a client’s home. Right at Home’s global office is based in Omaha, Nebraska, with more than 300 franchise offices located in 43 states nationwide and throughout the world. For more information on Right at Home, visit About Right at Home at http://www.rightathome.net/about-us or read the Right at Home franchising blog at http://www.rightathomefranchise.com/blog/. To learn more about franchising opportunities, please visit http://www.rightathomefranchise.com/.