Meet the Team
CEO and Founder
Ruby Kate Chitsey
Ruby Kate, age 13, is the founder and CEO of ‘Three Wishes for Ruby’s Residents”. Ruby Kate began the project when she was just 10 years old and formed a nonprofit organization in 2019. Ruby Kate and her "Kid Board" work with essential staff across America to fulfill small wishes for nursing home seniors. Ruby Kate loves to serve residents who are impoverished and who are trying to make ends meet on a small government stipend but she fulfills wishes for ALL nursing home seniors. Ruby has raised over $300,000 for her cause since 2019 and fulfilled over 8000 wishes to seniors.
Ruby Kate has won multiple local, regional and national awards for her activism for the elderly. Most recently Ruby Kate was named of of "People Magazine's" "Ten Girls Changing the World in 2020". She is the Arkansas 2021 winner for the Prudential Spirit of Service Award. She has been named a CNN Hero and a Fox News Midnight Hero. Ruby is an avid activist for seniors and is a national public speaker as well as an author. Ruby was also selected by Barbie and Mattel Corporation to be one of their Barbie Role Models for the 2019-2020 year for being a female leader who has shattered glass ceilings.
Ruby Kate leads this organization with her giant heart and with her motto "Kindness is my hobby". Her impact on nursing home seniors can be seen around the globe. Google her name and feel the true impact she has made in the lives of nursing home seniors since 2019. It's enormous, inspiring and above all, heartfelt.
Amanda Chitsey APN RN MSN CWCN
Amanda Chitsey is the president of Three Wishes for Ruby's Residents, a unique nonprofit that is taking America inside nursing homes and into the hearts of the residents who live in them. Amanda is a a graduate of the Medical University of South Carolina with a double major in Geriatrics and Adult Health. She completed her training at the Medical University Hospital in Charleston, SC with a specialty in Geriatrics before moving to a private practice in Arkansas in 1999. Amanda is a nurse practitioner and a small business owner. Amanda has been a champion for elder rights for over a quarter of a century. She is an author and national speaker. Amanda works hard to combat childhood bullying and to promote mental health and suicide awareness for youth. Amanda is an expert in her field and continues to be a primary care provider for nursing home residents in rural Arkansas.
Amanda is married to Dr. Blake Chitsey and they have three children.
Our Board of Directors
Our Board is unique and critical to our mission and growth.
Our Board of Directors is comprised of community and national leaders with expertise in a wide range of areas, including training, advocacy, education, nursing, medicine and business development. The Board meets in person regularly and is responsible for taking care of the strategic and financial health of the organization on an ongoing basis.
Our "Kid Board" is comprised of youth activists who want to make a difference in the lives of nursing home seniors. They are a non-voting group who lend their vision to our Board of Directors. You see, our entire nonprofit grew from the unique but simple relationship between a child and an elder. We believe it is critical to the vision, mission and trajectory of this organization to have a "Kid Board" to continually remind the adults of their perspective, to offer ideas and creativity, and to help us think outside the box. Our Kid Board is comprised of incredible youth activists who share a common goal to give back to our elders. Our youth board has notable achievements such as a widely successful national book drive for seniors, a senior pet adoption program for residents in nursing homes and a national campaign to exchange postcards with lonely seniors.
April Gaeta is the mom of Kid Vice President Leo Gaeta. The Gaeta family saw first-hand the inadequacies of the financial safety net for residents of long-term care facilities; both April’s father and mother-in-law spent their final years in Alzheimer’s units. These experiences inspired April to get involved, help where she could, and raise awareness. She learns from watching Leo, who displays the simple, childlike insistence that justice be service, that hurt is never ignored, and that the only way is to love BIG. April is a small business owner who brings a broad range of knowledge and a unique perspective to our organization. Her favorite things are road trips, hiking, learning, and quality time and good food shared with loved ones.
Joy Prater is currently the Executive Director at “Ozark Share & Care” and has held that position for 31 years! Ozark Share & Care is a nonprofit emergency service program that is an essential part of our local community. They provide emergency food to anyone in need. Joy is the Mother of 3 children. Joy studied nursing at the University of Arkansas and spent many years working in urology and the Area Agency on Aging. She is an ordained deacon in the Episcopal Church and attends St. John’s Episcopal Church.
She is the former President of The Boone County Resource Council and Arkansas Hunger Alliance. She is also a former member of the North Arkansas Regional Medical Center’s Board of Directors.
We are so proud that Joy is one of the senior citizens on our board. We value her insight and unique perspective.
She brings immense experience and heart to our board and is a true asset.
Ms. Cope has been a nurse for over 20 years and the majority of this time has been serving the older population. Ms. Cope worked 16 years overseeing the Harrison Veteran's Outpatient clinic and spent an additional 3 years in the long-term care setting. Ms. Cope received Boone County's "Nurse of the Year" award 6 times! Ms. Cope also received the prestigious merit award from the Boone County Chamber of Commerce for her dedication and service to Veterans. Ms. Cope manages a busy medical clinic and over 60% of their patient population is greater than 60 years old. Ms. Cope is constantly challenging healthcare to find ways to improve access to care for the older population. She has set up a telecommunication system for this population recently with great success. Ms. Cope also arranged for senior blood draws to be done from their car to minimize their exposure and struggles to get in and out of a car. We love Mrs. Cope's innovation, energy and ability to improve the lives of our frail elders and we welcome what she brings to our team.
Educational Programs Chair
Erin Lieblong is a teacher and the Gifted and Talented Coordinator for the Harrison School District in Arkansas. She has her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education, and a Master’s Degree in Gifted, Talented, and Creative. She lives in Harrison, AR with her husband, Paul, and their three boys. She loves to spend time with family and friends, and enjoys the outdoors. Her goal with Three Wishes is to connect generations.
Lynda Barnard MEd
Lynda has a Master's in Elementary Education and has over 26 years experience as a kindergarten teacher in the Georgia Public School System. Lynda is a tireless leader in the field of education and brings an enormous amount of knowledge to our team. We value our relationship with fellow educators and Lynda helps us cultivate these relationships in our community and beyond.
Lynda is also one of our amazing senior citizen board members. Her insight on aging, ageism and geriatrics is paramount to what we do and how we view the world around us.
Lynda works closely with our CPA, Barbara Heyliger, to provide oversight, transparency and to ensure fiscal responsibility.
Poverty Resource Coordinator
Eva is our Poverty Resource Coordinator. She operates and coordinates the wish items we send out of our Three Wishes Community Center in Harrison, AR. She also helps us identify impoverished nursing home residents to ensure we are capturing their specials needs. Eva helps lead our "Three Wishes for Whiskers" program that identifies and places senior shelter cats with seniors in the nursing home! Eva collaborates with Ozark Humane Society, Ozark Homeward Bound pet program and local animal activists to help make our cat program a big success for seniors and cats. Eva also helps us with our many youth programs at the center that pairs senior citizens with local children. Stop by the center and see Eva!
Oliver age 11
Specialty: Books, literature, technology in the elderly, disabilities, blindness, Veterans
Oliver has collected over 1000 books nationally to build better libraries for elders residing in institutions. Oliver is an avid reader and he noticed the books available to elders in nursing homes were poor quality and thrift store cast aways. Elders love to read and Oliver is providing quality books for them. Send Oliver your used books- he will put them to excellent use. PO Box 1546 Harrison AR 72602
Kid Vice President
Leo Gaeta, age 11, lives in Harrison, Arkansas with his Mom April, Dad Scott, and four cats. The Gaeta family moved to Harrison in 2015 to care for Leo’s late grandfather, who had Alzheimer’s disease and spent his last years in one of the very nursing homes that Ruby Kate serves. Leo is committed to the values of kindness, compassion, and empathy. He was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where he learned at a very young age to care for the homeless community by filling bags with socks, snacks, toiletries and other comfort items and handing them out during their daily travels. Leo loves to entertain and make people laugh, and wants to make a positive difference in the lives of others. In his free time, Leo enjoys reading, video games, snuggling his kitties, and training in Brazilian jiu jitsu. He loves to watch YouTube videos about astronomy, advanced mathematics, physics, mythology, and riddles. He is honored to serve alongside Ruby Kate in this organization, helping her spread joy and connect with our precious elders.
Specialty: Books, literature, activities for nursing home seniors
Sawyer is the workhorse behind many of the awesome activities we come up with for nursing home seniors. Sawyer arranges for live bands to play, fireworks and barbeques, child plays and skits and tons of homemade goodies for the residents. Sawyer also helps secure donated goods from local businesses and works hard to include local youth in all of our activities and programs.
Kid Board Member and Youth Leader for Carroll County
Julianna is 15 years old and lives in Berryville, Arkansas with her parents, little sister and two amazing dogs. She has been volunteering for over half of her life! She has spent the last eight years volunteering with Veterans and people with disabilities. She wants to be a paramedic when she grows up “because I love to help those in need”. Her biggest role model is her Dad. When asked for three words to describe her Dad, she says “he is courageous, humble, and adventurous”. Julianna says she volunteers because she loves making a difference in someone’s life. Her motto in life is, “don’t dis someone for what they can’t do, focus on the things they can.” She loves to help senior citizens and two of her most favorite things about them are their love for others and the life experiences and history they can share.
Kid Board Member and Youth Leader for Newton County
Wapiti Mefford is a 15 year-old Arkansas native and he is a 9th Grader at Jasper High School. “Wapiti” is an Indian name for elk. Wapiti has been volunteering “ever since I can remember” and we LOVE his servant’s heart.
His role model is Jesus and he is the biggest influence in is his life. He says “Jesus teaches us to have compassion, kindness and love for everyone.
Youth Director/Leader for Arts Newton County for Three Wishes for Ruby’s Residents Kid Board.
Carly is 14 years-old and she is an 8th grader at Jasper High School. Carly was born and raised in the tiny town of Parthenon, Arkansas (population 159!!) Her hobbies include painting, singing, playing instruments, and reading.
She wants to be a teacher when she grows up.
Her role model is her older sister and when asked for 3 words to describe her she says “smart, funny and incredible”.
Carly wants to volunteer because she has always wanted to help those in need.
Her favorite motto is "Stay curious, stay weird, stay kind and don't let anyone tell you that you aren't smart, brave or worthy enough." by Alex Hirsch
Her favorite thing about nursing home seniors is the stories they can share about the past.
Our nonprofit understands that all people, regardless of age, deserve the ability to express themselves through art and music. Too often, nursing home seniors do not have access to quality art projects or musical instruments. We have brought Carly on board to provide nursing home seniors with meaningful, rewarding art projects that can be used in nursing homes right here in Arkansas and across the country to bridge the gap between the arts and nursing home seniors.
If you have an interest in helping Carly bridge the gap and help her with this amazing project please email us!