Employee Highlight: Jackie Kott, Director of Recreation

Each day at Stein Assisted Living, you can find residents taking part in an array of programs. Whether it be a class, a day trip, or even a relaxing spa day — there is always something for them to choose from. This is all thanks to Jackie Kott, Director of Recreation. For the month of October, we’d like to highlight Jackie for her passion and creativity.

Jackie is an award-winning certified activity director with a specialization in assisted living ADC/ALF through the National Certification Council for Activity Professionals. She has over 25 years of experience in senior recreation. During her time here at Stein, Jackie has arranged countless events for our residents. It is easy to see the enthusiasm that she has for keeping our resident’s lives active, educational and fun!

“My favorite programs to run are the ones that make our residents laugh, feel good and feel like they have contributed to something important,” Jackie shared. Programs like the “drumming circle” where residents come together to play music as a group, promote unity in the Stein Assisted Living community. One of Jackie’s newest programs, the Yiddish Conversation/Words/Songs/Idioms group, has been a great tool in helping residents recall or relearn a language that they once knew many years ago. “We laugh, we sing and we all come together using this language as one. I try to encourage them to speak Yiddish when I’m not around so they don’t lose it.”

Many of Jackie’s programs impact not only our residents, but our surrounding community. For example, some residents participate in a Teacher’s Program where they visit a local preschool and read to the students in a classroom setting. This year the Teacher’s Program was recognized by LeadingAge NJ, an organization dedicated to advancing quality aging services in New Jersey through advocacy, education and fellowship.

Jackie and Rabbi Kinzbrunner in Israel (2012)

One of Jackie’s fondest memories of her time here was the 2012 “Fulfilling the Promise” trip to Israel. Four residents from Stein Assisted Living and seven from the Wilentz Senior Residence participated in this expedition. “Such a wonderful experience to be with our seniors — traveling to Northern Israel, staying in a kibbutz, spending time in Jerusalem.  This was an opportunity of a lifetime.  We had an amazing journey,” Jackie recalled.

We can go on endlessly about Jackie’s impact on resident life here at Stein Assisted Living. However, outside of her work here, she has lots of fun hobbies. She enjoys traveling with her husband and son — especially to Colorado and the Adirondacks. She also has a passion for live music, attending two to three shows a month where she can dance, sing and let her personality continue to shine! Jackie’s love for recreation and her bright personality are easy to see upon meeting her. The Wilf Campus and its residents appreciate her immensely.

Jackie can be reached at jkott@wilfcampus.org.