The first time Alisia Rodriguez, R.N., visited the local long-term-care facility she was a Girl Scout participating in the adopt-a-grandparent program.

Today, Rodriguez is the new assistant director of nursing at the same facility, which is now called SunPorch of Dodge City at 501 W. Beeson Rd.

She also is newly certified as a resident assessment coordinator.

The Dodge City native started her job at SunPorch in 2014 as a certified nurse’s aide and then became a certified medication aide too. She became a registered nurse three years ago.

"After I earned my aide certification, there was only one place I wanted to go. And that place was right here," Rodriguez said. "When we learned about SunPorch becoming the new owner last October, I knew a great thing was about to happen and I was going to be a part of it."

In her role as assistant director of nursing, Rodriguez has many responsibilities including: caring for residents; scheduling the nursing staff; supporting the nursing director; and serving as acting supervisor when necessary.

"I have also been known as the tech gal," Rodriguez laughed. "I want to do everything I can to keep SunPorch and our residents moving forward.

"I enjoy the homey atmosphere here," she added. "The stories and experiences our residents share are so interesting. It was like gaining a whole new family when I came to work here. These residents are like family and family is everything to me."

As a certified resident assessment coordinator, Rodriguez is using her new education to support SunPorch residents in a number of ways.

"I help assess each resident to determine particular needs," she said. "We care for them physically, medically and emotionally. When we know them individually, we are better prepared to offer all the services they need."

Rodriguez graduated from Dodge City High School and Dodge City Community College.

SunPorch Administrator Ryan Salinas said he has been impressed with Rodriguez from day one.

"I am very proud of Alisia; she is the epitome of perseverance and tenacity," Salinas said. "She went from an aide to a registered nurse to her new titles. She is vital to our operation and I look forward to watching her develop even further in her work."

SunPorch is the non-profit arm of Kansas Senior Living Inc., which is based in Topeka. It will bring the Green House Project to Dodge City in the near future.

Green House refers to a complex of smaller facilities, each of which will be home to about 10 people, resulting in even more one-on-one care.