Monthly Archives: May 2012

E-volunteer Network Equals Excellent Volunteers

Submitted by Kath Pengelly, Lifeworks volunteer and advocate coordinator 

Did you know that in Hastings there is a web site where you can see amazing volunteer opportunities throughout the city all in one place?

The Hastings E-volunteer Network is celebrating its first year of posting and placing volunteers. The web site is sponsored by the United Way of Hastings and can be found at www.unitedwayofhastings.org. There are opportunities for everyone: individuals, groups, and families, with the option to participate during the day, evening or on weekends. Take a peek, you will be surprised. You could be an everyday hero right in your own community. Lend your muscle, open your heart, and make a difference.  

Patti Kieffer, volunteer at Lifeworks Hastings

Patti Kieffer, a retired nurse, found her volunteer opportunity through the E-volunteer Network. Once a week she volunteers at Lifeworks Hastings. Patti helps in the art room, offering encouragement and support while Lifeworks clients create, explore and discover their passion for art. When asked why she volunteers, Patti said, “Going to Lifeworks enriches my life; I always leave feeling like I get more than I give.” “The staff are so creative and caring; I am honored to be there.” Patti also went on to say, “Hastings has many wonderful charities, it is a tribute to our community that so many people volunteer.”

I asked Patti if she had an, ‘Ah Ha,’ moment after spending time with us and she said, “All of the people served by Lifeworks are so proud of each other and their work. I feel very humbled and blessed to be a small part of their life. Life does work.”

How about you? Someone once said, “To the world you may be one person, but to one person, you may be the world.” Live United, volunteer today. Please call me at 651-365-3720 or email me at kpengelly@lifeworks.org. There is an opportunity waiting for you.

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At the Lifeworks Annual Celebration presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, 925 guests joined in celebrating the evening’s theme of Empower, Inspire,  Achieve. The Annual Celebration was held on April 19, 2012 at The Depot in Minneapolis honoring people who have triumphed over adversity and those who have championed their cause – the people we serve, our business partners, employers, donors, volunteers, and other members of the Lifeworks community.

Lifeworks Annual Celebration

View more photos from the Annual Celebration on the Lifeworks Flickr page.

Due to the generosity of guests and sponsors, Lifeworks was able to raise over $26,000 through the live and silent art auction, and over $83,000 during the special ask for transportation funding – helping purchase a new bus for Lifeworks clients! Additionally, event sponsors whose generosity totaled $137,000, made the Annual Celebration possible.

The evening began with an open cocktail hour for all guests in the Depot’s Great Hall including a silent art auction, viewing of the Lifeworks Traveling Art Show, a special presentation of sculptures from the Diversity is Enrichment exhibit, and a networking reception room sponsored be SCICOM Data Services. Guests later moved to The Depot’s Pavilion for dinner and the evening’s program. In addition to The Depot’s delicious menu and skill in accommodating nearly 1,000 hot dinners, Peace Coffee donated the evening’s coffee and created charming center pieces that were later gifted to guests whose birthdays corresponded to the event’s date.

In her opening remarks, Judy Lysne, president and CEO of Lifeworks Services, drove home the theme of the evening with her inspiring words,

“Lifeworks believes that we all carry the power to achieve- regardless of ability, and we aim to light the spark of inspiration for each and every person we serve. The simple belief in one’s ability to achieve is the foundation for self esteem, the building blocks for inspiration, and most importantly, achievement provides a vessel to inclusion and participation in the community.”

These words were exemplified throughout the evening as guests watched inspiring videos highlighting the achievements of Lifeworks Annual Award Winners, including:

Unitron Hearing, Employer of the Year

Gary Grundy, Advocate of the Year

Larry Olding, Personal Achievement

David Spragg, Personal Achievement

Click on the names above to watch any of the Lifeworks Annual Award winner’s videos on the Lifeworks YouTube page.

Following the award presentation, auctioneer Glen Fladeboe took the floor for a live auction. As always, Fladeboe expressed charm and pizzazz as he hosted the auction of several titillating items leading to intense bidding wars, including a locked battle for the famous Dinner with Judy item.

Lifeworks Annual Celebration

To end the evening, a special ask was conducted to help shoulder the burden of transportation costs with the goal of purchasing a new Lifeworks bus. To add meat to the ask, the bus in question was actually in the parking lot presented to the guests through a live video feed. The response was overwhelming, with guest contributing amounts from $25 all the way up to $5,000, ensuring the goal of $80,000 was met and exceeded!

In the end, Judy Lysne offered her heartfelt thanks and appreciation to all the guests of the Lifeworks Annual Celebration for empowering individuals to believe in themselves, inspiring each person to explore their deepest ambitions, and providing support so that every individual can experience the satisfaction of achievement.

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Lifeworks Social Skills at Anoka Technical College

Lifeworks client Tavarrus Robinson smiling on graduation day

Submitted by Kath Pengelly, Lifeworks volunteer and advocate coordinator 

Do you remember your first days at college, finding your way from classroom to classroom, deciding what the best thing to eat in the cafeteria was or remembering to turn in your assignments on time? In September 2011, Lifeworks began a partnership with Anoka Technical College to offer a similar college experience for clients wanting to work on their social skills. A series of classes were developed to cover a broad variety of topics including: reading and understanding nonverbal cues, addressing a problem, how to politely interrupt and finally, “the business lunch.”

Fast forward to April 2012 – This week I had the pleasure of attending a graduation ceremony for the second group of Lifeworks clients who have completed the eight week long Business Social Skills class. Thirteen Lifeworks clients along with their staff attended this series. 

The Lifeworks classroom sign at Anoka Tech

I watched with curiosity and interest as the instructors led our group through the last session which included a mock interview. “Watch for eye contact, good posture, tone of voice and smiles,” said both Craig Asche and Jean Juelich, the college instructors. At first I was not sure if everyone was listening to the instructions, but it was clear that they were at full attention as I listened to the critiques, “Good eye contact Tavarras.” “Good job on your smile, Judy.” “You look very nice today, Steven.” 

Good reminders to all of us. Practical information that will contribute to success for everyone- make eye contact, be an active listener, and most importantly, smile. I can say without a doubt that everyone’s face wore a smile as each student accepted their certificate of completion from Jean and Craig.  

In the next few weeks, Lifeworks program supervisor, Angi Reisdorf, will be meeting with the Anoka Technical College instructors to plan future classes. We want to foster a culture of lifelong learning for all people. Everyone benefits from continually building their skills and knowledge whether it is through experiences or classes. There is a Chinese Proverb that says,

“Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.”

Thank you Anoka Technical College for partnering with Lifeworks, who knows what treasure lies behind those doors.

Left to right: Lifeworks staff Jamie Kauppi and Andrew Felicilda, Lifeworks client Judy Carnahan, and Anoka Tech instructors Craig Asche and Jean Juelich

 

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