We couldn’t be more grateful! This Give to the Max Day we had a goal of $7,500 and thought we were aiming really high. Much higher than we’d reached in previous years. Then we were bowled over by the generosity of our friends at Think Mutual Bank who contributed $2,500 in match funds to help prime the pump! We not only met our match, but we exceeded our goal of $7,500. This year our generous donors helped us raise more than we have in any of the past three years. THANK YOU! With your help, we’re able to ensure that people impacted by disabilities live with opportunity, choice and dignity. YOU are transforming lives!
Photographer Shawn Nielsen has a passion to discover why and how people work in positions of service to others. As the 31st installment of his series, he came to visit our offices to meet two of our many outstanding direct support professionals and one of the individuals whom we support. Kit and Teewon shared insights about their choice to give back in what they do — that they get so much more in return. Teewon, especially, expressed a commitment in “being a voice for the voiceless.” In Nielsen’s words, “Kit said that she believes she does this out of a firm belief that there really is no greater gift than to serve one another. As they shared their hearts and a few stories they smiled as they spoke of the people that they get to help walk through life. Teewon and Kit help give dignity and steadfast support to those that they care for.” Take a look at the fantastic photos and read more of the interview here.
We were honored to be awarded the Silver level Workplace Achievement Award on November 8th, 2017. The American Heart Association has defined best practices for employers to use to build a culture of health for their employees in the workplace. The American Heart Association’s Workplace Health Achievement Index measures the extent to which the company has implemented those workplace health best practices. Companies recognized at the Silver level have achieved an Index score of 130 – 174 out of a maximum 217 points. Living Well Disability Services continually practices wellness in all areas of the workplace. To have this honor is validation that we are actualizing our goals of healthier lives for staff and for those we support. You can read more about the award here.
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! 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 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: https://livingwell.org/wellness
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.