US Navy at Lyndale doing yardwork with Stacy and Dennis.

The end of the year is traditionally a time for collective gratitude and reflection. A time to relax and celebrate with family and friends while also honoring the quiet of the short days and long winter nights. At Living Well, we know the reason we made it through these past few difficult years was because we have the support of hundreds of friends, families, businesses, work teams and individuals. As well as the dedication of an incredible staff of almost 500 that miraculously showed up when the world went quiet. And of course, the donors who bestow us with financial gifts that enable us to forever work towards our mission of providing services that transform the lives of people impacted by disabilities through the delivery of exceptional services, with less stress and more optimism.

So, with great enthusiasm we want to share our gratitude for the people who support us in ALL the ways.

A volunteer puppy visits Cope.

To our volunteers, we could not prepare over 3500 meals a year, let alone deliver them, without you. We would have to pay for yard clean up and miscellaneous projects throughout the year. Special treat deliveries like the Halloween snacks, holiday baking kits, and themed care packages and craft sets would not find their way to the houses. And events would not run as smoothly, as we rely heavily on volunteers to help with tasks that would otherwise require us to find and pay extra staff.

A big Living Well welcome to Tashiyah Dempsey, one of our newest employees.

To our employees. Oh, how we adore you. From our newest employees, Direct Support Professionals Tashiyah Dempsey, Jaterra Mix, and Samantha Beto, who all started last week on December 20, to LuAnn Neumann, who started back on September 19, 1977—we thank you for your commitment and dedication to helping the people we serve live rich and full lives. Our direct care staff show up to work with smiles on their faces and help people get dressed, bathed and ready to start and end their days. They get them to classes, to doctors’ appointments, and help administer medication and therapy plans. And they also get to do the fun stuff too, like dinners out, concerts, coffee dates and family visits. Our administrative staff helps balance budgets, pay bills. manage schedules, attend hiring events, get into community to network, and work with businesses and individuals to spread the word about what Living Well does, and why our organization matters.

From our oldest to our newest donors, a huge thank you and so much gratitude for sharing your treasure and keeping our mission alive.

And to our donors. You give generously to help us keep our mission shining bright. For years donations were specifically earmarked for the extras like enrichment activities, wellness classes, improvements not covered by waivers and things that are more fun than essential. This past year donations have helped us continue our mission as we face expenses rising and staffing at an all-time low. Your support was needed these past 50 years, and in this past year the funding was critical. The staffing crisis that has plagued this country has decimated disability services. Without the continued support of both long-term donors and the new gifts received by people just hearing about Living Well, we could not continue. We are grateful for your advocacy and generosity in the holiday season and every day of the year.

Living Well’s Legacy Circle donors wall was updated earlier this year. A big shout out to all our donors.

Everyone is invited to come to our headquarters to check out the new donor wall honoring Living Well’s Legacy Circle donors. It might just be a wall, but, it is so much more—it is a visual representation of giving.

In the coming year all of us at Living Well will be calling on ourselves and our supporters to help us advocate for disability awareness in general, and more importantly, disability funding from the government. We have seen so much positive change in the 50 years since we first opened our doors that it could warm the hearts of even the most pragmatic among us. But there is much work left to be done.

For those of us dedicated to providing disability services it is not time for resolutions, but a time for a revolution of sorts. Let’s show the world why people with disabilities deserve proper and adequate funding, why the jobs we are looking to fill are worthy of a livable wage and the respect of others, and why people living with disabilities are more than their disability.

Living Well is grateful to have made it through a challenging year, and we find ourselves energized as we enter 2023. Thank you to all who see and support us, you bring magic to the work and the mission.