At Living Well Disability Services, we’re proud to be recognized as a Minnesota Business Magazine Leaders in Health Care – Employee Wellness Program Award winner in 2016! According to Minnesota Business Magazine, this award recognizes Minnesota based “individuals and companies that have supported or accelerated the regional health care industry through innovations in the medical field, corporate philanthropy, and workplace innovations.” Living Well Disability Services is recognized as an innovator and leader in employee and workplace wellness. View the other winners and finalists, and read more here.
Our wellness philosophy is front and center in our work at Living Well Disability Services. We cover eight dimensions of wellness throughout our organization; Physical, Emotional, Social, Occupational, Environmental, Financial, Cultural/Spiritual and Intellectual. Employees participate in wellness programs, annual biometric testing, premium health discount incentives and a variety of physical activity and healthy lifestyle challenges. From healthy food choices to “Hope in the Workplace” activities, we’re finding ways to meet our goals for 2016 which address overall health, stress management and physical activity.
Our staff work to support individuals with disabilities and each person supported creates an individualized wellness plan with personal goals aimed at physical fitness and community connections. Plans include health coaching, horticulture, art and music therapies, volunteerism, and mind body wellness. Improved nutrition and increased physical activity has resulted in a better quality of life for both employees and people with disabilities. Read more about our wellness philosophy, here: http://livingwell.org/wellness
On October 19, 2016 Living Well Disability Services finalized the purchase of a property located at 1168 Northland Drive in Mendota Heights. The facility will serve as the new headquarters for Living Well Disability Services. The 13,000+ square foot building will be the home base for our residential and customized services programs and provide more space and opportunities for training and staff development. The seller is leasing the Northland Blvd. office building at least through December 31, 2016.
Since 1998 Living Well Disability Services’ headquarters has operated out of our Eagan, MN property at 680 O’Neill Drive. In July 2016, we sold our Eagan property to the Minnesota Vikings to make way for their new headquarters and practice facility. Living Well Disability Services is renting back our current headquarters from the Vikings as we finalize our move in date to the new space.
“Living Well Disability Services provides exceptional services that transform the lives of people impacted by intellectual, developmental and physical disabilities,” said Living Well Disabilities Services Board Chair Stephen Baker. “By purchasing an expanded new headquarters, Living Well can now combine its two administrative offices in the same building, with room to grow. I am proud to serve on Living Well Disability Services’ Board of Directors and be a part of this fine organization as they evolve and develop.”
Experienced Direct Support Professional employees help each person we support achieve the highest level of independence and quality of life possible. Direct Support Professionals work to support individuals with wellness plans incorporating personally developed goals aimed at physical fitness and community connections. Plans include health coaching, horticulture, art and music therapies, volunteerism, and mind body wellness. Improved nutrition and increased physical activity results in a better quality of life.
Julie Manworren, President & CEO of Living Well Disability Services, added, “We are excited to move to our new property in Mendota Heights, MN in 2017. The larger office building and additional customizable space will provide many benefits including dedicated space for program development, community partnership, and employee trainings and staff development. We are grateful for the support of our Board of Directors, and especially our Board Chair, Stephen Baker. They provided tremendous support and led us through purchasing our new headquarters.”
Volunteers were recognized at our 2016 Home is Where the Heart is Gala on September 16th and Dreammaker award recipient Dennis Klose presented certificates of appreciation to volunteers in attendance. Dennis has been volunteering at Living Well – East Emerson for more than 16 years and enlisted his friends and colleagues from Farmington, MN, to help put in new planter boxes and a revamped landscaping design complete with a border fence. Dennis also provides support by donating food, patio furniture, and a new grill, among other items to the Living Well home where his daughter lives. Dennis has truly made a remarkable difference for his daughter Kristine and her neighbors served by Living Well Disability Services.
Thank you to all the donors, volunteers and sponsors who made our 2016 gala a success!
Read the full story from the Farmington Independent News.
We’re proud to be named among the finalists for the Minnesota Business Magazine’s Leaders in Health Care Awards! See the full list of finalists, here.
At Living Well Disability Services, our wellness philosophy is impressed upon every person who comes through our doors. We cover eight dimensions of wellness throughout our organization; Physical, Emotional, Social, Occupational, Environmental, Financial, Cultural/Spiritual and Intellectual.
Employees participate in wellness programs, annual biometric testing, premium health discount incentives and a variety of physical activity and healthy lifestyle challenges. From healthy food choices to “Hope in the Workplace” activities, we’re finding ways to meet our goals for 2016 which address overall health, stress management and physical activity.
Our staff work to support individuals with disabilities and each person supported creates an individualized wellness plan with personal goals aimed at physical fitness and community connections. Plans include health coaching, horticulture, art and music therapies, volunteerism, and mind body wellness. Improved nutrition and increased physical activity has resulted in a better quality of life for both employees and people with disabilities.
Read more about our wellness philosophy, here: http://livingwell.org/wellness
Following our ranking as a Top 150 Workplace in 2015, Living Well Disability Services has again been named one of the Top 150 Workplaces in Minnesota by the Star Tribune for 2016. The Top Workplaces special edition was published in the Star Tribune on Sunday, June 26th. The report is also available on the Star Tribune website. “We are honored to be named among the Top 150 Workplaces in Minnesota for the second year in a row,” said Julie Manworren, President and CEO. “Comments on the 2016 survey note that Living Well Disability Services employees care deeply about the people we serve and enjoy a work environment that recognizes, encourages, and appreciates the employees. We’ve created a culture where constant feedback is sought after and utilized toward meeting our mission of transforming lives.”
Living Well Disability Services supports people impacted by intellectual and developmental disabilities wherever they live: in their own home, their family’s home or in one of the 33 group homes owned and operated by the organization. Innovation in service, wellness, and technology help people pursue their goals and live as independently as they desire. Over the last year we’ve upgraded our health and program software, promoted 45 employees and provided more than 623,000 hours of direct support.
Living Well Disability Services is proud to announce that Akoele Danklou, Personal Advocate at our Mary Adele Home, has been named a 2016 ‘ARRM Cares Direct Support Professional Award’ winner!
Akoele began her career with our organization six years ago. What began as an asleep overnight position out of necessity for an extra job grew into the role of Personal Advocate out of her desire to bring change into people’s lives.
Richard H. lived in the home where Akoele began her work with Living Well Disability Services. Richard did not warm up to people easily; the wall he built around himself often kept others at a distance. Akoele’s calm presence penetrated that wall, and eventually broke through it. In 2015, Akoele realized she had developed a strong bond with Richard. As a result, she asked to become his Personal Advocate. Over the past year, the connection between Akoele and Richard has brought changes into Richard’s life that no one thought possible.
It was difficult for Richard to find comfort outside of his home, and this created feelings of isolation; isolation that limited his participation in the vast and enriching experiences available in his community and surrounding areas. Akoele’s amazing patience and calmness allowed her to approach Richard and help him begin to expand his opportunities. Capitalizing on his interests in his own home and understanding what would allow him to be willing to participate in other experiences, Richard and Akoele began to venture outside of home. Akoele introduced Richard to the aquarium, the zoo, and shopping during non-busy times. Each success increased Richard’s desire to experience more. Within nine months, he was participating in a self-advocacy group and taking trips around the Mall of America.
Akoele’s overwhelmingly positive effect on lives does not stop with Richard. Her greatest strength, understanding the importance of environment in the lives of the people in her home, had a profound effect on Richard and increased his quality of life; it also provided his five housemates with a home that is warm, welcoming, and safe – a place they are proud to call home. Akoele pays attention to the smallest details; she maintains the dignity and respect of home and personal belongings that every person deserves. She continues to work some overnight shifts, assuring people wake up to welcome each new day with a clean home and, at times, the smell of breakfast; she also works daylight hours where she is able to facilitate the inclusion of people into their own lives and communities.
Akoele’s outstanding work as a Direct Support Professional has only just begun, yet, she has already taken the Living Well Disability Services mission of delivering exceptional services that transform the lives of people impacted by disabilities to heart and has made a difference that has changed peoples’ lives forever. We are eager to see what the future holds for our esteemed Living Well Disability Services colleague.
Inspired by Akoele’s exceptional story? You or someone you know can become a Personal Advocate at Living Well Disability Services. Personal Advocates are Direct Support Professionals responsible for providing active treatment and personal care to people with disabilities, supporting people in pursuing their preferences and dreams, and maintaining a safe, clean and comfortable living environment. Employment opportunities are available – click here to learn more and apply today.
Living Well Disability Services has announced officers of the 2016 Board of Directors and has added three new members to the volunteer leadership team.
Stephen L. Baker, Ramsey County Assessor, will serve as Chair. Jonelle Burnham, Entellus Medical, Sr. Director, Corporate Compliance Counsel-Compliance Officer, will serve as Vice-Chair. Mary Komornicka, Attorney, Larkin Hoffman, will serve as Treasurer. Tony DeRose, Global Business Unit Manager, 3M, will serve as Board Secretary. Elgin Manhard, retired, Campbell Mithun Advertising, will serve as the Immediate Past Chair.
New board members include Melissa Bayne, Attorney, Larkin Hoffman, Laurie Eggers, Special Events Manager, American Lung Association, and Geordie Griffiths, Attorney, George Byron Griffiths Law, PLLC.
The complete roster can be seen at Board of Directors.
We are delighted to congratulate Josh Lewis, Senior Advocate at Poppler, who was recognized as a 2014 ARRM Cares Award winner at the annual conference on May 14, 2014. Josh was one of six award winners selected from more than 150 outstanding direct support professionals nominated. His work truly reflects the exceptional service embodied in our mission.
When asked how he felt about being named an ARRM Cares Award winner, Josh said, “what I try to do is help people enjoy the best quality of life possible, to live their lives to the fullest. My job helps me have a good spirit and I believe it’s my path. I try to care for people the way I’d want someone to care for me.”
The ARRM Cares Award program was started in 1996 to recognize professional caregivers who provide exemplary services to people with disabilities. Josh is the ninth ARRM Cares Award recipient from Living Well Disability Services. ARRM is the statewide association of private disability providers that support people with developmental and physical disabilities, autism, brain injuries and mental illness.
Rosie Moriarity was named 2013 Direct Support Professional of the Year by ANCOR (American Network of Community Options and Resources) on Tuesday, April 30, 2013, at a ceremony in Washington DC. This annual and exclusive recognition is given to one professional working at one of the 600 ANCOR member organizations across the United States who succeeds in helping people with disabilities build social networks and engage in substantive community participation and who advocate for people with disabilities.
Rosie has served people with disabilities for 25 years. Since 2008 she has provided full-time support to Melanie Kett, a friend who has Multiple Sclerosis and with whom she lives. “Rosie has been a strong ally and advocate for people with disabilities,” Mel explained when she nominated Rosie. Together they are actively involved in advocacy, meeting with their state representatives and participating in public forums. Most important, however, is the deep friendship that has developed between them. “You have to be good friends to make space for my elephants amid Mel’s Betty Boop collection,” Rosie laughed.
“Rosie exemplifies our person-centered care philosophy and the exceptional care and respect we provide those we serve at Dakota Communities,” said President and CEO Julie Manworren.
“Rosie is the kind of person who if you bottled up her energy and sold it, you’d be a millionaire,” said Toni Gillen, Dakota Communities’ Director of Community Life. “I have never met anyone anywhere who is so positive and full of sunshine. Rosie keeps the spark of life going for Mel through trips and friends and activities and she can maintain that level of energy for 24 hours every day. She is simply amazing.”
Dakota Communities is proud to announce that Molly Halls, Advocate at our Victoria Road home, has beennamed an ‘ARRM Cares Direct Support Professional Award’ winner for 2013.
ARRM is the state association of 150 disability providers, including Dakota Communities, which supports thousands of people. The award was selected from many nominations and honors Direct Support Professionals who demonstrate a commitment to quality services.
An employee of seven years, Molly is known for her fierce determination. She consistently goes above and beyond in her care of people served at Dakota Communities. She has a unique ability to discover each person’s dreams and make those dreams come true.
When Molly joined Steve (pictured right) on his first dog sledding trip in the Boundary Waters, she knew he was destined for greatness and adventures beyond what life had handed him.
“It began years ago when Molly saw a light shining in Steve’s eyes,” says Program Coordinator Derek Rust who nominated her for the award. “His smile could be seen for miles and giggles of joy could be heard all across the Boundary Waters that first day.”
Molly represented Dakota Communities at the 2013 ARRM Annual Conference in Duluth this May. We thank Molly for her commitment to Steve (pictured right), and everyone she has served over the years.