Meet Carlton Senior Living‘s spotlight resident, Donna Love – With her smile and friendly demeanor, Donna is a wonderful asset to our community at Carlton Pleasant Hill. Her willingness to share her life experiences with honest reflection provides comfort to others to share as well, creating a recipe for meaningful friendships.
Donna was born on December 10, 1929 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Warner and Elizabeth Love and three older brothers. Donna’s father, Warren, was an engineer and had steady work throughout the depression because he was able to travel all over the country working with the WPA, (Works Project Administration), which was a program of the New Deal, created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Elizabeth, Donna’s mother, was a medical doctor and had her own office within the family home where she saw patients. The family owned the empty lot next to their house which served as a playground for the siblings as well as the neighbor children who spent many hours playing there.
Donna and her brothers all attended boarding school during their high school years. Donna was able to go to George School, a Quaker boarding school that was founded in 1895 and is still an award-winning school today. Their mission is not only to educate to the highest degree but to teach that “fairness and justice are inherently tied to each other. Students learn to express themselves without trampling others, asking for what they need rather than demanding what they want.” Donna felt very fortunate to have that opportunity. She was also grateful to be away from home as her father was usually working and her mother was a cold, unemotional person who did not pay much attention to Donna.
Donna went on to Mills College in Oakland in the late 1940’s. Although very intelligent, she struggled there as she had in school previously. She did not know it at the time, but Donna has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). ADHD is a chronic condition marked by persistent inattention, hyperactivity, and sometimes impulsivity. “It begins in childhood and often lasts into adulthood. Many children with ADHD continue to have symptoms as adults.” Donna is one of those people, as she was not diagnosed until age 60 when with treatment, she learned strategies to help her deal with its symptoms.
After her time at Mills College, Donna met and married her husband Murray Mc Neil who was a meteorologist for the Air Force. Murray continued his education at U.C. Berkley where he got his master’s in architecture and they settled in Berkeley, California where they had three children, two girls and one boy. Unfortunately, the marriage ended in divorce and that is when Donna decided to go back to school.
Donna returned to Mills College after her diagnosis of ADHD and graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 1982. She went on to become a counselor and coach to other adults with ADHD providing the tools needed to more easily navigate their lives. Donna also volunteered to teach parenting classes to help parents learn the skills to help their children with ADHD and facilitated a support group for adults with ADHD, generously giving her time to promote healing and happiness in this community.
Donna is a happy person and truly enjoys living at Carlton Pleasant Hill. She loves plants and gardening and also reading, as is reflected in her position as volunteer librarian, once again serving her community. Donna is also interested in art and has studied art off and on over the years. She looks forward to renewing that interest by taking a painting class in the near future.
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Written by Mary Ann Ashby