I always like to be busy. I have typically worked multiple jobs and right now is no exception. People think I must be exhausted because I am currently a nurse in addition to being a server at the Olive Garden restaurant in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
I enjoy helping and getting to know people through whatever job I have. I went to school and got my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and then my Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology, which led to me working in emergency rooms. After a little while, I decided I wanted to expand my career beyond just mental health and went back to school for my Associate’s Degree in Nursing. Now, I work at a psychiatric crisis center in Philadelphia and will soon be transitioning to a private crisis center in New Jersey, where I’ll be the first nurse to help launch a pilot program that adds a nursing component to its Admissions department. I am also planning to go back to school next year to pursue my Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing, a new program at the college.
Through my multiple jobs in the medical field, I have also been working at my local Olive Garden for the past two and a half years. I wanted some extra income and something to break up the chaos and emotional toll that can come from working in a hospital. Olive Garden ended up being a perfect fit and a place where I could continue to help others.
The atmosphere at Olive Garden is very refreshing. Everyone is incredibly positive, and I appreciate the time I have at the less stressful and upbeat atmosphere of my restaurant. I’m so energized by my fellow team members. They are all enthusiastic and up-and-coming in their own careers or educational pursuits.
My General Manager, Adrianne Griffith, has also been incredibly flexible and supportive of my crazy schedule. When I first started, I was working overnight shifts at the hospital, and she always provided shifts that allowed me to dedicate the time I wanted to the hospital, resting and my personal life so I never felt overwhelmed. The rest of my restaurant team is also always willing to jump in and cover a shift if things get too hectic at my other job, which I appreciate. I feel so fortunate that I was able to find such a perfect fit with my passion for nursing.
Last year, I wanted to engage in philanthropy. In the midst of school and jobs, I wasn’t dedicating the time I wanted to giving back. Luckily, Olive Garden gave me the opportunity to pursue this as well. One of my classmates from college has a four-year-old daughter with Type 1 diabetes, also known as Juvenile Diabetes, which is a random disease where her body does not produce insulin. It has no cure. Every year, the whole family fundraises for and participates in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Walk to Cure, and I knew that our restaurant would be happy to get involved as well. With Adrianne, we co-captained our own team for the walk, which our fellow team members joined. We raised money and donated food to the event. Later, we ended up hosting the whole family at our restaurant. It was only their second time going out to eat since their daughter’s diagnosis, and we were excited to give them a great meal as well as gifts for all the children in the family. For more information about this year’s team, visit our JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes fundraising page.
I’m so proud to have found multiple ways to engage with others, whether they are my patients, my guests or others in my community. I plan on continuing to stay busy and hopefully making a difference.
By: Mike Raybold, Server, Olive Garden
Pictured: Deborah Kilcourse and Mike Raybold from Olive Garden in Cherry Hill, New Jersey