There’s something about Doreatha Wertz that compels residents at New Community Commons Senior to pull up a chair and turn her office into a therapy session.
Sharon Pleasant-Jones, director of Health and Social Services, noted that Wertz, as a care coordinator, “is a team player with the vision of NCC deeply embedded in her heart.”
“Her quiet, self-assured demeanor is misleading at times, because she possesses a heart of gold. Doreatha goes out of her way to assist the staff, residents and myself with whatever needs to be done,” said Pleasant-Jones.
Residents of Commons Senior, located at 140 South Orange Ave. in Newark, appreciate the time that Wertz takes to assist them, whether with food stamps and public assistance or medical paperwork.
“She takes time with you. She listens,” Henrietta Myrick, 59, said. “There are no words for her, really.”
“She’s real patient with people,” 74-year-old resident Madelyn Derrick said.
“I’ll tell them I’m not a therapist but I’ll help and I’ll listen,” Wertz said.
Wertz has been at Commons Senior for five years but her time working at New Community stretches for more than 15 years. A Newark native, Wertz said she moved in to the family units on Bruce Street (green doors) at New Community when she was 10 years old.
Before joining NCC in 2000, Wertz was an autopsy technician, certified phlebotomist and a lab technician. She wanted to become a mortician at one point. Instead, Wertz was hired at New Community as part of the Ryan White Meals on Wheels Program. After a few years, she worked in a capacity similar to that of a care coordinator under the outreach care management with the Essex County Division of Senior Services. Instead of being based at a building, as she is now, Wertz visited seniors and helped them locate services, handle prescription medications, open mail and more.
Now that she is based at one location, Wertz has gotten to know many in her building as residents and friends.
“First I get greeted at the car,” Wertz said with a laugh, describing a typical day that starts before she even has a chance to set foot inside the office.
“You get to know what’s going on just by listening,” she said of her residents.
Wertz has one adult daughter, Dametria, who works at the Family Service Bureau of Newark.