Meet the Team
CEO and Founder
Ruby Kate Chitsey
Ruby Kate, age 14, is the founder and CEO of ‘Three Wishes for Ruby’s Residents”. 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 but she fulfills wishes for ALL nursing home seniors. Ruby has raised over $400,000 for her cause since 2019 and fulfilled over 24,000 wishes for nursing home seniors.
Ruby Kate was named of of "People Magazine's" "Ten Girls Changing the World in 2020". She is the 2021 national winner of the Prudential Spirit of Service Award and the first youth from the state of Arkansas to receive this prestigious title. She is also a 2021 Diana Award winner. This is the highest accolade youth can receive for their humanitarian efforts. She is also the first Arkansas to ever receive this 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.
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.
Our "Kid Board" is comprised of remarkable youth activists who want to make a difference in the lives of nursing home seniors across the nation.
Art Advisor for the Kid Board of Three Wishes for Ruby's Residents
Age: 12 years old
Arsh loves nature, animals, travelling, and playing. He also loves to read. Arsh started his journey when he was 8 years old. He loves making artwork using acrylic paint, resin, mix media, and pencil sketch. He also likes to recycle old paintings by refurbishing them. Arsh decided to sell his artwork and support kids who are suffering from cancer. He began by displaying art at his school, library, and other places in his community. Thanks to the love and support of friends, family, and community, Arsh was able to raise funds to support various service projects. He made his first donation of $1000 to St. Jude Children's Hospital. Arsh also teaches painting to kids and adults. He volunteers at nursing homes by hosting art activities for the residents. Arsh has donated $15000 to St. Jude Research Hospital, Easterseals Central Illinois, Make-a-Wish and Compass to Care. Arsh has been nominated as one of the top ten "Movers, Shakers and Newsmakers" from the Dubuque, IA area Chamber of Commerce. His art has been displayed at many galleries, libraries, and schools. He has also been a featured artist of the month in various art galleries.
Checkout more details of paintings on his Facebook page, youtube & Instagram at "ArtbyArsh"
Oliver age 12
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 12
Leo lives in Greenville, SC with his Mom April, Dad Scott, and four cats. 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 Three Wishes for Ruby's Residents
Delany is 11 years old and a 5th grader at Jasper Elementary. She has been volunteering since she was 7, both at her church and through 4-H. She and her brother raised chickens through 4-H and provided over 100 DOZEN eggs to a local Christian food bank. She is also an Arkansas Diamond State Princess!
Delaney’s hobbies include basketball, soccer, singing, playing the piano, hunting, traveling with family, participating in pageants, and of course, READING!
Delaney has lived in Arkansas her whole life, and lives on the outskirts of Jasper just 5 minutes from the Buffalo National River. Jasper is known for its friendly people and the annual Elk Fest.
She would love to be an elementary teacher when she grows up so she can inspire young minds!
Delaney describes herself as sociable and compassionate. She loves people, and the residents are going to love her! She says her role model is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. because he was courageous, God-fearing, and unrelenting.
Delaney believes that “Volunteering is a gift that has no boundaries.” She loves the wisdom and life experience of older folks. She says that her motto is Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Kid Board Three Wishes for Ruby's Residents
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 Three Wishes for Ruby's Residents
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.
Kid Board Three Wishes for Ruby's Residents
Kayin is a 16 year-old Arkansas native and is a sophomore at Harrison High School.
Her motto in life is “There’s a lot of beauty in ordinary things. Isn’t that kind of the point?” – Pam Beesly(The Office)
When asked about the most inspirational role models in her life she says without a doubt it’s her grandparents. They taught her perseverance, determination, and how to truly care about other people. ❤️
Kayin LOVES to volunteer because she learned at an early age that even the smallest acts of kindness make her feel her very best.
Kayin wants to be a chemical engineer when she grows up. She loves that chemical engineers are tackling big world issues like starvation, disease and poverty and she can’t wait to be a part of the solution.
Kayin will fulfill wishes and lead innovative service projects for our nonprofit so that we can have a BIGGER impact on the lives of our seniors living in assisted living facilities, retirement centers and group homes.
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.
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.
Gayle is a RN with 31 years of experience in long-term care. She started out in a support position in long-term care but quickly discovered that the older population needed more personal, hands-on involvement. With this is mind, Gayle decided to further her education and she returned to college for a nursing degree. The rest is history and she has spent well over a quarter of a century caring for our country’s most frail senior citizens.
The majority of her career was spent as a director of nursing for long-term care. This allowed Gayle to provide research and education to the geriatric population she served. It also provided a platform for her to share this knowledge with peers, staff, families and the public at large about the true specialty of long-term care.
Gayle was instrumental in the development of one of the first Alzheimer’s Units in Arkansas, leading staff and families to a better understanding of the unique needs of this portion of the geriatric population. Gayle was a pioneer in her field by using a person-centered approach to care in the Alzheimer’s Unit and by providing this in a home-like environment. The result was an overall increase in comfort and satisfaction not only for the residents but for the families as well.
Gayle was instrumental in developing training programs for the certified nursing assistants (CNA) that are so crucial to the field of long-term care as a whole. She helped hundreds of students take courses and pass their CNA exams.
Her current interests and goals are to provide assistance with the development of community support for the aged population with a focus on those that require 24/7 care and reside in long-term care.
Marsha (Hicks) Carter was born and raised right here in Harrison, Arkansas. She was the last daughter of three to Arlis and Fayetta Hicks. She and her sisters were known as the “singing Hicks girls”.
Marsha graduated from Harrison High School and North Arkansas College. Marsha worked in marketing and public relations all of her life. Her career began at the Hits 96 radio station (formally 97 Country) in sales, followed by marketing, public relations, foundation, physician recruitment and volunteer management at North Arkansas Regional Medical Center for more than 30 years. She is currently employed by the office of Dr. Chris Taylor.
Marsha is married to Byron Carter and they have one son Colby Carter, Colby’s wife, Kali Carter, and one grandson Easton Carter.
Marsha and her family attend Batavia Assembly of God and enjoy the lakes and rivers, boating, riding side-by-side‘s, dirt roading and doing anything in outside!
Volunteer Outreach Chair
Margaret is a native of Oklahoma. She is a former teacher and she spent 37 years of her life serving in that role. She taught junior high school and junior college and she had a real passion for teaching high schoolers. Margaret graduated from the University of Tulsa with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.
Margaret has extensive volunteer experience. She began volunteering at North Arkansas Regional Medical Center in 2004 and logged more than 8000 volunteer hours. Margaret served as the President of the Arkansas Hospital Auxiliary Association and she also served 9 years on the Boone County Equalization Board. She is an active member of the Boone County Library Foundation. Her hobbies include singing in the Harrison Community Choir, gardening, raising longhorn cattle and sharing music of all kinds with her husband.
Margaret is married to Colonel David C Underwood USAF (RET) and she moved to Arkansas in 2003. Margaret is very proud of her blended family of five children. She and David also have 10 grandchildren from ages 1-19!!! She says their family reunions are quite interesting! They have a sweet love story and actually met way back in 1957 when they played in the Miami, OK Junior High School Band. One played the oboe and the other played the tuba. Can you guess which one she played?
Margaret brings extensive volunteer experience to the Board of Three Wishes for Ruby’s Residents. She states, “I’m very proud to serve on the board. It’s a wonderful tribute to Ruby, her family and her town for helping those who reside in nursing home facilities”.
Melissa A. Chu, M.D.
Melissa is a 1992 graduate of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and completed her residency in Internal Medicine at UAMS in 1995. After moving to Harrison in 1995, Melissa served on the staff at North Arkansas Regional Medical Center until 2006, when she “retired “to be an active stay-at-home mom. Melissa served as Medical Director at Legacy Hospice of North Arkansas from 2006 through 2020, and is currently Medical Director at Maple Esplanade Assisted Living since its opening in 2012, and has served as the regional clinician for the Arkansas Department of Health Chest Clinic in north Arkansas since 2008.
Melissa has been involved in all levels of PTA during her childrens’ school years and was also a proud band and choir mom until they all graduated high school. She has volunteered with organizations in the community including The CALL of Boone and Newton Counties and MomsConnect. Melissa currently volunteers with the HMS yearbook staff and the HMS EAST program. She is active in Eagle Heights Baptist Church and enjoys spending her free time with her husband, Victor. Victor and Melissa have four children: Kennon, Hannah, Victoria, and Conner. Melissa is excited at the opportunity to serve area nursing home and assisted living residents alongside the Three Wishes for Ruby’s Residents team.
Eva is our Wish 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!