by Cindy Adams


Making a bed, cleaning the house, doing some laundry are all acts of love from Rhonda Craig as she faithfully cares for her ladies at enCircle’s Chapman House in Salem. This kind, gentle and necessary support embodies enCircle’s mission to make the world a more loving place.

"Everyone says I spoil them,” Rhonda said, “but it’s a good kind of spoiled."

Rhonda works tirelessly to ensure safety, consistency, and well-being for her ladies in the Chapman Group Home. She cooks homemade dinners every night and packs enviable lunches when they go to the Day Support program. On this evening, barbeque orange chicken, fresh carrots and Brussel sprouts awaited them when they returned home. When they walk into the house and see Rhonda, they are so excited. Their whole demeanor changes.

"They are my heart," she said. "They teach me lessons, like not taking things for granted. They would love to do some of the things the rest of us do, but they cannot without support and assistance."

It is the smiles on the ladies’ faces and their unconditional love that fuels her. She connects deeply and understands each lady on a personal level.

Even their communication is unique. With Lori, it is a whisper; with Allison, it is music; with Shirley, it is directness; with Angela, it is gestures. Their relationships are born out of trust, consistency, and love. They are family.

"Relationships develop through shared experiences," Rhonda said.

She has been working with Lori for two years and, over time, noticed that going out of the house every day was a bit overwhelming to her. They started keeping her at home a couple of days a week so she could relax in her own environment.

"Lori and I communicate in whispers, so she motioned me close to whisper something. When I bent down, she said, 'I love you' and then she gave me a peck on the cheek."

A simple moment. A profound journey.