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      UPSIDER: Mary Doyen of Escanaba

      Everyone knows it can be a scary and difficult transition to a nursing home or an assisted living center. But one employee at North Woods Assisted Living in Escanaba takes the time to make sure the residents enjoy every minute of their time there.

      And those residents can vouch for that, which makes Mary Doyen this week's Upsider.

      Doyen has been working as the life enrichment coordinator at North Woods Assisted Living for over three years. She organizes daily activities for the residents, from bean bag toss to picnics to just spending a little one-on-one time with them; Doyen makes sure the residents always have something to look forward to.

      "Quality of life is so important," explained Doyen. "I'd rather see them come out and do something and enjoy their life, have a good quality of life, rather than just sitting in their apartments. So we might as well have fun doing what we're doing."

      Doyen plans about four to five activities each day and usually has between 10 to 30 residents participate. And those residents feel the activities do much more than just pass the time.

      "She looks out for us," said resident Ardith Devanney. "When I left Indiana, I was living alone in an apartment, and I like the community here with other people being around; makes life much better."

      "There's enough to keep me busy," explained resident Helen Sprague. "That's a big issue is the time, otherwise it gets boring, but she keeps it alive."

      And that's just what Doyen's job is all about...being there and devoting time to make others feel good.

      "Seeing them smile, hearing them laugh everyday, it just gets your heart every single day," Doyen said. "And you know, knowing when I walk out the door that I made a difference today, I can come back tomorrow."

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