Kristen and Tom

Thanksgiving is here, and our gratitude is overflowing. In this fourth week of Gratitude Month, we are shining a light on the donors who contribute to our mission through donations of money or in-kind services. It takes time, talent, and treasure to keep nonprofits like Living Well thriving, and we cannot thank our donors enough for the incredible support they give us. We are grateful for gifts of all sizes and without the support of so many, the people we support would not be able to live their best lives with confidence.

It is important to note that government sources like Medicare do not cover care beyond the basics for people and families living with disabilities. With ever rising inflation and cost of living expenses, money received does not make for a rich and full life. The impact of donations is clear, and it is safe to say donations have a direct impact on the quality of life for the people we support, and our staff as well.

Kristen enjoying the sensory nook

This week we want to introduce you to Tom Buslee. He is the brother of Kristen, who lives at our Carmen home. Kristen came to Living Well in 2016. Since her arrival at Carmen, Tom has been engaged in a variety of ways. Over time he has given the home tickets to sporting events, contributed to entertainment center equipment, and occasionally helps fund a passion project for the home. Most recently Tom has given funds to create a sensory area for Kristen and others at the home. This gives the house access to a therapeutic space with a variety of equipment that provides opportunities to explore personalized sensory experiences. Areas like this help people soothe and focus themselves so they can be better prepared for learning and interacting with others.

Jenni Zeis, Program Manager, says, “By receiving this generous donation, we were able to create a space for people to easily access sensory items, arts, and crafts. Accessibility enhances overall quality of life by encouraging choice making and independence.” Jenni has worked for Living Well for 38 years and knows how essential these spaces are to people living with disabilities and is grateful that Tom recognizes the importance of this gift.

Kristen with her sister Anna

Giving back to the community is important to Tom and his business, Tradition Companies. And of course, Living Well is meaningful to him with the family connection. Tom says, “Living Well has been a source of stability and support for my sister Kristen and our entire family. She has made a life for herself in large part to the love and care she receives from the amazing staff and people in her home at Carmen Lane.” It gives Tom peace of mind to know that his sister is in good hands, and he feels comfortable that her best interests are being taken care of. Tom adds, “The people and leadership at Living Well are at the level to care best for my sister. They are looking at her needs on a daily basis and fill her days with meaning and opportunity. They give her things to do while also giving her a fuller life. Which I really appreciate.”

The Carmen crew

At Living Well Disability Services a large percentage of our donors have a family member who lives in a Living Well home, know someone who does, or have a friend or family member with a disability. Over time our supporters have grown to include community partners and businesses open to learning more about disability services, and who are starting to understand that disability is diversity and worthy of funding. We have also grown an audience of neighbors and support from within our volunteer network. And foundations are supporting our mission more than ever before. There is a flood of information and positive support out there and we are grateful beyond measure to all who donate to our mission of providing exceptional services for people living with disabilities.

Every gift has a direct impact on the people we support and our employees’ lives. We cannot do what we do without people like Tom, and advocates like YOU. Thank you for your continued support and generosity.




Ok, we talked about gratitude for donors. Now let’s quickly hear what Jenni and Tom are grateful for.

Jenni— I am grateful for the opportunity this past year to watch my daughter grow into a mother. My grandson just turned one on November first. I’ve grown in the process as well, and I feel like since the whole experience of becoming a grandmother started, I felt personal growth in so many areas of my life. I am just so open to what life has put in front of me. I look at things differently and approach life with joy and awe. Children in general, when you look back and look through their lenses, they don’t judge, they love you unconditionally. It is how we are supposed to feel. Everything is fresh.

Tom—I am grateful for the health of my family, loved ones, and myself personally as well. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve begun to see people lose loved ones and have health issues. You start to face your mortality as you age and become grateful for your health.


What are you grateful for today …


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