Monthly Archives: March 2012

When you leave someone out, what are you missing?

At the invitation of the University of St. Thomas, Lifeworks and Midwest Special Services (MSS) joined forces to create an art exhibit for America’s largest diversity and inclusion conference, the Multicultural Forum on Workplace Diversity at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Diversity is Enrichment is an art installation of works presented by Lifeworks and MSS.

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The exhibit celebrates diversity and innovation in the workplace highlighted by a collection of human form sculptures created from reclaimed and found materials by artists with disabilities. Using re-purposed and recycled supplies demonstrates diversity and invites the viewer to consider innovative solutions.

The installation places over 35 sculptures in a circle – representing community, interdependence, and reliance on one another. Within the circle, each unique work of art represents the distinctive role of the individual in life and in our community.

Each figure plays an important role in the arrangement – which leads the audience to ask, “When you leave someone out, what are you missing?”

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Our Band Is Cool

Submitted by Jennie Delisi, music therapist/therapeutic services coordinator

With excitement and some nervousness, the band members of the AT Real-Time Band waited in the lobby of Augsburg College’s Foss Chapel for their turn to present.  They had prepared for weeks:  getting their powerpoint presentation together, practicing their songs, and planning out the event.  Like pros they got to the stage and set up.  This presentation was for the Spring Conference of the Music Therapy Association of Minnesota, and though they have played at conferences before, this was their first time doing a presentation and playing.  They did a fantastic job as they told the history of their band, how much fun they have had, and the surprises they have had along the way.

Clinicians afterward approached the band leader to tell her how inspired they were by seeing the band play and hearing their story directly from them.  They hoped to try having a similar band at their facilities, such as with individuals on ventilators.  They were excited to go back to their facilities and try different ways to use assistive technology to increase people’s independence to create and play music.

Below are the band members’ slides from their presentation.  The band performed Tequila and If I Had A Million Dollars.  A special thank-you on behalf of the band to the group home staff and family members who supported them to get to this event, as well as to Lifeworks staff:  Leah, Kelly, Annie and Jenna.  Stay tuned for an announcement about our next gig, coming soon!

lifeworks A.T. band slideshow

lifeworks A.T. band slideshow

lifeworks A.T. band slideshow

lifeworks A.T. band slideshow

lifeworks A.T. band slideshow

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Where Should We Go for Lunch?

Submitted by: Kath Pengelly, volunteer and advocate coordinator at Lifeworks

Famous Civil Rights Activist, Cesar Chavez, once said, “If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him.” Well every other Wednesday, Theresa and John Dahlberg have definitely extended their friendship to Scott Strohman(Lifeworks client) as they meet for lunch on the second floor of the Securian Building in downtown St. Paul for lunch.  

It isn’t exactly anyone’s house but instead a bustling gathering space on the second floor of a large corporation. A meal is shared, interesting conversation exchanged  and absolutely friendship has occurred. Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting with Theresa, John, Scott and his job coach, Beth Coppock. Theresa and John have now been volunteering during their lunch time for one and a half years. I asked them, “Why do you do this?” Theresa was quick to respond,

“Scott is so friendly, fun and he amazes John and I with his knowledge of sports and music. This is an easy way for us to volunteer and give back to our community.”  

Scott shares the same enthusiasm about the lunch time meetings. He said, “ It is so nice to have someone to talk to, and meet someone new. John likes sports too. I like having the company of others and finding out what they are like.” 

Theresa added, “Recently I ran into Scott outside of work. We both went to the Winter Carnival on the weekend. What a nice surprise to see him there too.” 

Theresa, Scott and John pictured together

Theresa, Scott & John

I asked if they would recommend this volunteer opportunity to anyone else. “Both John and Theresa answered at the same time, “Yes, this is an easy way to volunteer while you are at work- meet someone twice a month for an hour at a time.”  

Scott’s job coach, Beth Coppock, said that Scott’s job as a Securian Mail Center Messenger requires him to be completely focused on his work. Having a scheduled day and time to meet with Theresa and John is an intentional time to make a friend. Beth went on to say that there are other people served by Lifeworks at Securian who also have Securian volunteers meeting them for lunch but she can certainly use more. 

Having a friend is something we all want. Friendship expands our individual worlds. To have a friend and be a friend brings more meaning to our lives. If you currently work at one of our employers, contact me if you would like to schedule a lunchtime volunteer opportunity. If you would like to come to one of our centers for lunch, conversation and friendship, there are people waiting there too for a lunch time friend. Call me at 651-365-3720 or email me at kpengelly@lifeworks.org

Who knows where things will go over lunch? When I left Scott, Theresa and John they were heading toward the food court at the Norwest Center.

 

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