Worldmaking… Susan Berta Style
“The late 1990’s were an especially exciting time for people with a passion for changing aging. We remember two lights that burned especially brightly at that time. Joe and Susan Berta didn’t just teach Eden, they lived it. They used their wonderful skills, their passion for the work and a pretty darn romantic love of life to show people how, ‘It can be different.’ We miss them both. We will continue to hold them in our hearts. We will keep making gardens that grow people. They would expect no less of us all.”
~Bill and Jude Thomas. Co-Founders, The Eden Alternative
As change agents, we know that the power of any movement is only as strong as those who champion it. The early days of The Eden Alternative were blessed by the determination and commitment of a handful of passionate individuals. One was a smiling, incredibly bright-eyed woman named Susan Berta. As one of the first Regional Coordinators for The Eden Alternative, Susan taught many of us what it means to be an empowering leader. These are only a few of the many gifts she shared with us all….
Susan was unwavering in her commitment to Elder empowerment. As a beloved educator, she always had new and creative ways to open people’s hearts. Organizations implementing The Eden Alternative continually wanted her back. Her students were so inspired, that she was constantly in high demand as an educator within her region. Susan also made herself available as a mentor to her students long after they experienced training with her.
Deeply dedicated to building caring communities, Susan remained closely connected to the organizations she supported, advocating enthusiastically for the role of empowered teams. Many of the organizations she introduced to the Eden Registry are still Registry Members to this day. As a nurse, Susan also had a deep understanding of what it meant to embrace genuine human caring over treatment alone, building an important bridge for those clinicians that struggle with making the leap to person-directed practices. She also helped The Eden Alternative develop on a fundamental level by helping to lay the groundwork for many foundational learning materials that continue to enlighten and educate others today.
On December 24, 2017, Susan passed away after a long journey with cancer; yet, her legacy and contribution to the advancement of person-directed care lives on. Thank you, Susan, for your bright, indelible spirit.
If you have a memory of Susan, please share it with us.