Last week we shared an email with our newsletter about a fun project, and today, we want to share it with the world. We are happy to announce that Living Well Disability Services was selected by producers from Viewpoint with Dennis Quaid and chosen to be industry experts on a piece showcasing disability services providers. Last Wednesday the Viewpoint team spent time at our Star Lane and Upper 55th homes, as well as our main office. Their goal is always to provide innovative and unique content featuring the world’s most influential organizations and individuals. And our goal is to show the world that disability is diversity and that people and families impacted by disabilities are worthy of coverage and global advocacy.

Volunteers making meals at Northland.

This is an incredible opportunity to show the world that not only do people living with disabilities deserve to be seen and supported, but so do their incredible staff. With over five decades of experience and a commitment to advocacy for the people we support and those who so beautifully care for them, we cannot wait to share the film when it is ready.

The crew at Star Lane.

If you haven’t seen a segment yet, Viewpoint with Dennis Quaid features a creative team with over 100 years of cumulative experience producing award winning content. Their team, along with their host Dennis Quaid, care about the integrity of each story, and strive to educate audiences. Viewpoint cultivates segments with an approach that adds value to partners and ultimately to people’s lives. The Viewpoint Project was created to deliver diverse informational and educational documentaries while covering a variety of issues and topics for Public Television. The Viewpoint Project is dedicated to the mission of developing and distributing social and educational programming about their global neighbors and communities. And each story has one thing in common – changing lives for the better. Over the past 18 years they have received over 100 Telly awards for their work. To watch a few episodes, click here.

Adolphus ready for his closeup.

While in town they captured interviews with some of the amazing staff that make Living Well special, including Program Managers Adolphus Kesseh and Mary White, Assistant Program Manager, Brace Gotschalk, and CEO Tom Gillespie. They were joined by Mike Polski, who was the second person to move into Living Well back in 1972 (then known as Dakota’s Children). Mike’s brother, Steve Polski, brought his daughter Sydney Polski, and together they told their story of how Living Well created a safe and loving place for Mike to thrive starting from childhood up until today. We also got video of Peggy from 3801 helping put donor packets together, as well as Hailie from Inndale, and Rodney from Poppler, helping volunteers from Visitation School package meals for the homes.

Peggy with the field crew.

Together all participants helped weave the story of how Living Well meets our mission of providing exceptional services for people impacted by disabilities. They all had a blast sharing stories, speaking about the important work we do, and highlighting the importance of volunteers. Here is what a few of them had to say about the experience:

Adolphus and Mike at Upper 55th.

Upper 55th Program Manager, Adolphus Kesseh, had this to say about his time with the film crew, “I hold Living Well Disability Services very dear to my heart. Instead of having Northland staff speak on behalf of the organization, they are bringing out the actual field workers to do the talking. Awareness is a catalyst for change and by bringing a visual component makes the message even more compelling and effective. It is highly important to feature the engine that drives the truck. DSP’s are the backbones for the survival of this industry. The story of the impact this work has on the people we serve both collectively and individually is reflected in the work we do daily.”

Sydney and Steve.

Steve Polski, said, “It was a privilege sharing what Living Well has meant to our family. The improved quality of life we’ve had resulting from Living Well’s people delivers more than trust and confidence, that our family is taken care of. Being a part of the filming was a privilege and an honor.”

Mary, Steve and Mike.

And Mary White, Program Manager at Star Lane, says, “I love advocating for what we do on a daily basis—the caring, the love, the compassion that goes into what we do. This is not a job, it is life, it is caring for those around us. That is why I do this.” While at Star Lane, Mike pulled out and played his banjo and guitar. Mary emailed after we left, “Mike wants to know when he can be a star again, that was fun!!”

Thank you to Viewpoint with Dennis Quaid for the opportunity to share our story with the world. They are in the editing process now, so stay tuned for details on how to watch!


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