Photo courtesy Aegis Living: Aegis Living of Queen Anne on Galer employee Lorcelli Osmillo stands outside the assisted living facility where she has worked for almost five years. Osmillo received a new laptop computer from the company through a technology program that she sent to her grandson in the Philippines to assist in his studies.
Photo courtesy Aegis Living: Aegis Living of Queen Anne on Galer employee Lorcelli Osmillo stands outside the assisted living facility where she has worked for almost five years. Osmillo received a new laptop computer from the company through a technology program that she sent to her grandson in the Philippines to assist in his studies.

At Aegis Living of Queen Anne on Galer, residents, staff and administrators consider each other family, so when employee Lorcelli Osmillo wanted to help her grandson in the Philippines continue his on-line learning, she turned to her Aegis Living family.

Osmillo moved to Seattle from the Philippines almost five years ago, and has worked at Aegis of Queen Anne as part of the housekeeping staff, in charge of laundry, for almost as long.

“This is my first job here in America, and I am really happy to be  here at Aegis,” Osmillo said. “This is a great place to work at because of the caring people here who are wonderful.”

Osmillo works hard to help support her family back in the Philippines: her 9-year-old grandson, Paul Jacob Apeta, his parents, his sisters Paula, 19, and Janine, 16, and Osmillo’s husband.

Like students in many U.S. schools, Osmillo’s grandchildren take online classes while schools in the Philippines are closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Paul Jacob is in third grade, while Osmillo’s eldest granddaughter is graduating from K-12 school this year.

“And they are all scholars,” Osmillo said of her grandchildren. “That’s why I try to work my hardest here to help them, and they are really studying hard, and that makes me proud of them.”

While she sends home money to help with her grandchildren’s books and tuition, she wanted to do something extra when the hand-me-down computer that Paul Jacob was using started to fail. Not only was the computer 7 years old, it did not have a camera built in for him to engage with classmates and teacher during class.

Osmillo said she wasn’t sure how to help Paul Jacob at first because, at the beginning of the pandemic, there was a shortage of laptops in the Philippines, but she wanted her grandson to have a better computer so he can continue his studies.

Then she heard of a number of things Aegis was doing to help support employees during the pandemic, including offering free meals for staff and their families; flexible works schedules along with childcare support; expanding telehealth benefits to all employees as well as additional mental health resources; “hero bonuses” for employees; and over 100 grants made available.

Aegis Living also purchased 300 laptops to be given to employees with school-aged children who were participating in at-home schooling due to COVID-19.

“Our employees are the heart of our company, and we must continue to show empathy and support them and their families during challenging times,” Aegis Living Founder and CEO Dwayne Clark said in a statement. “We are there to lift them up, just as they love and care for our residents each day. The laptop program is just one of many ways we did this over the past year and continue to do so today.”

Osmillo said, when she first saw the laptop application form, she decided she had to apply because there was no harm in trying.

Still, Osmillo said she was surprised when Aegis of Queen Anne on Galer General Manager Kaylan Moore told her Aegis was giving her a laptop to give to her grandson.

Osmillo said she coordinated with family members to have the computer delivered by Fed-Ex to the Philippines. The family kept the computer and its arrival a secret, but arranged for Paul Jacob to answer the door when it arrived.

Paul Jacob later told his grandmother that he was excited that he got to share his ID with the FedEx delivery person to receive the package.

“When he opened it, he was really, really surprised,” Osmillo said, adding Paul Jacob ripped the box open and began to celebrate, showing off his new computer to his family members.

When it was time for school, Paul Jacob proudly showed off his new computer to his classmates and teacher, who were all appropriately impressed, Osmillo said. Paul Jacob told his class that he never “in his wildest dreams” imagined he would receive a brand new computer, all his own.

Osmillo said her grandson is very proud of his new computer, and when he talked to his grandmother for the first time after receiving it, he told her that nobody else is allowed to touch it.

Osmillo said Paul Jacob uses the computer only for on-line school, reserving his iPad mini for playing games.

“He put his name on it,” Osmillo said, adding Paul Jacob’s sisters were a little jealous that only he got a new laptop.

While Osmillo has only been able to visit her family twice since moving to the United States, she rarely feels homesick because she wakes up at 3:30 each morning to talk to her family in the Philippines, when it is around 7:30 their time, talking to them either by phone or through online video chat. After their daily chats, Osmillo goes to work for the day, which she said she enjoys because the staff at Aegis is so caring and they all love taking care of the residents.

“I really like working here at Aegis,” Osmillo said, adding she plans to work at Aegis until she retires some day. “The staff are good. They all support me, and whatever I needed here, they are here for me.”

Osmillo said she feels grateful that she works for a company like Aegis, which allows her to take care of her grandchildren.

“I want them to have good studies and hopefully have a good job after graduation,” Osmillo said.

Moore said Aegis of Queen Anne staff and administrators love having Osmillo there, as well, and she is happy Aegis could help her grandson.

“It was an absolute pleasure to spoil your grandson because he is a scholar,” Moore said to Osmillo. “We are a family, and we take care of our families. It was awesome that you reached out.”