Fall 2023

A Soaker to Remember

Sept. 2023

It all started on a warm, sunny day—a perfect setup for Lifeworks’ much-anticipated Cornhole Tournament Fundraiser. However, Mother Nature had other plans, and the skies unleashed a torrent of heavy rain, thunder, and lightning, abruptly bringing the event to a halt.  

Despite the unexpected turn of events, attendees maintained a positive spirit. The agenda for the day transformed into an impromptu indoor social gathering at Mick Morgan’s Pub in Sharon. While the Cornhole Tournament couldn’t proceed as planned, the enthusiasm of the participants remained. Many chose to extend their time at the pub, enjoying good company and turning the event into a memorable afternoon. Laughter filled the air as friends and family gathered to make the most of the situation.  

As one participant put it, “Though the rain may have dampened the outdoor fun, it certainly didn’t dampen the atmosphere. We turned an obstacle into an opportunity to make connections and we are certainly looking forward to seeing everyone again next year.”

The Warren Bistro: A Hub of Community and Connections

Aug. 2023

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On August 22nd, Lifeworks’ main office in Westwood hosted a full-day Open House with special events and activities. The highlight of the day was the dedication ceremony of the recently renovated bistro, now officially named “The Warren Bistro” in honor of Mercedes Warren and in recognition of a gift made by her family following her passing. Mercedes was a long-time volunteer and supporter of Lifeworks, and mother of Stephen, Chris, Sue, and Tom, whom we support. It was wonderful to celebrate with Mercedes’ children, son and daughters-in-law, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. 

The Warren family shared their inspiration about the donation saying, “Making a gift to Lifeworks to honor our mom was an easy decision. Lifeworks was a resource for her and our family from the very beginning and the relationship now spans over four decades. Currently, Tom attends the day program, lives in a loving Lifeworks residence, and participates in many social and recreational activities. We are honored to give back in gratitude for the support Lifeworks has provided and to recognize our mom’s devotion to Tom and her volunteerism at Lifeworks. The Bistro was a perfect choice as she welcomed so many into our home with her delicious meals and baked goods. We hope that staff, clients, and visitors enjoy this bright and inviting space for years to come.”  

The grand opening featured a ribbon-cutting and plaque unveiling, marking the transformation of the bistro into a favorite space for both Lifeworks staff and program participants. Throughout the Open House day, the Warren Bistro buzzed with activities. Individuals from the day habilitation program took turns hosting events for visitors, staff, and participants.  

The Warren Bistro has become a versatile venue for tea parties, baking classes, meetings, lunch-hour dining, and much more. The deluxe bistro-style coffee machine has proven to be a major hit, offering an array of on-tap specialty beverages like vanilla lattes, chocolate cappuccinos, and espressos. The Warren Bistro has truly become a hub of community and connection, representing the spirit of Lifeworks.

Empowering Dreams: Lifeworks Presents 2023 Scholarships

Aug. 2023

The bustling day of August 22nd at Lifeworks’ main office in Westwood reached its pinnacle with the presentation of the 2023 Lifeworks Scholarships. This year, seven $500 scholarships were awarded to deserving students, with a remarkable feat—five of the recipients are Lifeworks staff members. 

Here are the exceptional scholarship recipients:  

Alexander Brennan was honored with the 2023 Mary Barry Scholarship. Alexander is currently a student at Curry College, majoring in Psychology with a minor in Education. In addition to his academic pursuits, he has shown dedication as a volunteer for the Charles River Center and the Dedham Food Pantry. 

Shannon Cole received the 2023 Carole Keegan Scholarship. Recently graduating from Bridgewater State University with a Master of Education, Shannon focused on Special Education/Severe Disabilities. Her educational journey also includes a Master of Science degree in Behavioral Analysis from Simmons University and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of New Hampshire. 

Danthia Delices is the recipient of the 2023 Ruth Doorly Scholarship. As a Lifeworks Program Manager for the residence in Canton, Danthia is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration with a minor in Healthcare Management at Southern New Hampshire University, expecting to graduate in the summer of 2025. 

Leah Flanagan is honored with the 2023 Natalie Thomas Woodward Schmatzler Walsh Scholarship. Serving as a Program Manager for Lifeworks Chatham House in Norwood and as a case manager, Leah is a graduate student at Assumption University, set to graduate in the summer of 2025 with a Master of Clinical Counseling Psychology degree. 

Marie Lubin receives the 2023 Richard Bier Scholarship. Working as a Case Manager for Lifeworks Employment Services in Boston, Marie is on track to graduate from UMass-Lowell in 2024 with a graduate certificate in Applied Behavioral Analysis. 

Karoline Martins do Esperito Santo is the recipient of the 2023 Kathleen Joy Carroll Scholarship. As a Teacher Counselor for Lifeworks, Karoline is pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology with a minor in Sociology at Worcester State University, expecting to graduate in 2024. 

Maimouna Mathy is awarded the 2023 Mary Walsh Scholarship. Currently serving Lifeworks as an Awake Overnight Teacher/Counselor at the Whitewood residence, Maimouna is set to graduate in the spring of 2024 from Laboure College with an Associate of Science degree in Nursing. 

These scholarships not only recognize academic excellence but also reflect Lifeworks’ commitment to supporting the educational aspirations of its staff and those they serve.

Cultivating Beauty: Forsberg Beautification Program Fall 2023 Fundraiser in Full Bloom

The Forsberg Beautification Program (FBP) fall fundraising appeal is in full swing, inviting the Lifeworks community to support beauty and vibrancy across our facilities and residences. Established in 2019 through a collaboration with the Forsberg family, the FBP stands as a living tribute to Jane Forsberg’s impactful legacy. Jane, an early President of what was then the Arc of South Norfolk, devoted years to its Human Rights Committee and became a determined advocate for community interaction and excellence in our living spaces. 

The FBP channels its funds towards transformative beautification projects, seasonal decorations, and engaging activities at Lifeworks locations. It is a testament to Jane’s enduring passion for how spaces look, with a focus on enhancing the homes and buildings that constitute the Lifeworks community. 

Jane’s daughter, Kathy, embodies the program’s mission as an active participant in Lifeworks since 1962. Kathy resides in one of our community residences where, with the support of the FBP, garden beds have flourished. Kathy and her housemates plant and nurture their vegetable garden. The harvest of fresh vegetables, herbs, and flowers has become a source of joy, lifting spirit each year. 

For a deeper look into the FBP’s vision and impact, we invite you to explore the program’s brochure, available for download [here](link to the brochure). We welcome your support in sustaining the legacy of Jane Forsberg and uplifting the spaces that mean so much to the Lifeworks community. Your support ensures that the FBP continues to foster a sense of pride and community across all Lifeworks locations. 

You can contribute to the Forsberg Beautification Program and play a part in cultivating a more beautiful and vibrant environment for all.

Harmony Under the Fenway Lights: Lifeworks Joins STARS of the Spectrum 25th Anniversary Concert

Aug. 2023

In August, the Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism orchestrated a spectacular celebration under the Fenway Park lights—STARS of the Spectrum 25th Anniversary Concert. This inclusive event brought nearly 5,000 people together for a night filled with joy, music, and camaraderie. The on-field musical extravaganza not only showcased the talents of autism self-advocate performers but also featured a star-studded lineup, including special guests such as Doug Flutie and the Flutie Brothers Band, Shawn Stockman from Boys to Men, and Kodi Lee, the winner of the 14th Season of America’s Got Talent.

A lively group of nearly 50 from Lifeworks, comprising individuals, families, and dedicated staff, boarded a charter bus from the Westwood office for a lively journey to Fenway. The ride not only provided a convenient means of transportation but also offered everyone a chance to unwind, engage in meaningful conversations, and connect with others from the vibrant Lifeworks community. 

Fenway Park provided an iconic backdrop for a night of celebration. From the stands, there was cheers, applause, and dancing as attendees enjoyed the stellar musical performances and indulged in ballpark food favorites, creating lasting memories.

Lifeworks presence at this milestone celebration echoes its commitment to inclusivity, fostering connections, and creating moments of joy for everyone in the Lifeworks family.The event was a real testament to the shared values of all the organizations that came together to celebrate the Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation under the Fenway lights.

Annual Sports Banquet Celebrates Achievements and Community

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Summer wouldn’t be complete without the marquee event of the Social-Recreation Program—the Annual Sports Banquet. Held at the Tiffany Ballroom in Norwood’s Four-Points Sheraton Hotel, approximately 150 guests, including athletes, coaches, and volunteers, gathered for a night of celebration.  Director of Social and Recreation programs Kate Kalinoski and the Director of the Autism Support Center Brian Clark served as Masters of Ceremony, presiding over a fun-filled evening. A special acknowledgment goes out to Kate, who spearheaded the event’s planning for the first time.

Participants reveled in the opportunity to socialize with friends, teammates, and family members, creating a vibrant and joyous atmosphere. The evening, always a hit, featured great dining, a slide show highlighting the sports and players over the past season, and dancing to the tunes of our favorite Lifeworks DJ Steve Bishop- the Man of Many Hats.

The highlight of the night arrived with the trophy presentation for each of the six sports—cornhole, basketball, bowling, bocce, floor hockey, and softball. Trophies were awarded across various categories, recognizing achievements such as Bowler of the Year, Highest Single Score, Highest Average, Sportsmanship, Most Improved, Team Spirit, and Dedication. Each awardee received rousing cheers from their teammates as many lifted their trophies in the air in celebration of their achievement.

The prestigious 2023 Ben Keister Award was presented to Bowling coach Natalie Woodward in recognition and appreciation of her support and efforts in assisting the coaches and athletes.  The Recognition of Continuous Support Award for 2023 was presented to Softball Coach Artie Webber for his unwavering dedication to the Lifeworks sports program.

The evening’s excitement reached its peak with the raffle prize drawings. Raffle ticket sales generate additional revenue to help alleviate social and recreation program costs—such as equipment, field rental, travel expenses, and staffing. Gratitude is extended to the generous companies and individuals who donated prizes, ensuring the raffles’ success.

Lifeworks expresses deep appreciation for the invaluable support of community partners, including the Norwood Sports Center, Ryan Family Amusements in Millis, the Town of Norwood, Walpole Italian American Club, and Xaverian Brothers High School. As a token of appreciation to all the wonderful athletes, they each received a Lifeworks logo baseball cap to add to their collection of Lifeworks gear.

Employment Services Banquet

Sept. 2023

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After a four-year hiatus, Lifeworks joyfully resumed another cherished tradition—the Annual Lifeworks Employment Services & Life Enhancement Awards Banquet. Fondly called, the LES Banquet, this special celebration, held at the Four-Points by Sheraton in Norwood, brought together the LES team members and the individuals they support.

The evening began with a warm welcome from Mary Ellen Cameron, Director of LES Norwood. The air was filled with excitement, and as expected, the night unfolded with a Lifeworks event favorite—dancing! DJ Steve Bishop was back once again to provide the musical backdrop, setting the stage for a memorable night. Over 360 guests celebrated with great food and friends with many taking the opportunity to give back by purchasing raffle ticket for a chance to win great prizes. Among the awesome items was a wine basket, a two-night stay at Foxwoods Resort, and two $50 gifts cards to Bass pro Shops.

The highlight of the evening was the presentation of numerous remarkable awards. Among them were the Dependable Employee Award, Volunteer of the Year, and Employer of the Year. The Most Improved Award, spotlighting individuals who’ve made outstanding progress throughout the year.  Staff Lauren Blushi and Matt Rogers had the honor of presenting these well-deserved awards.

Wegmans received the prestigious Employer of the Year Award, a tribute to their unwavering dedication to the continued partnership in hiring people with disabilities. Employment Specialist David Smith presented this award, expressing heartfelt appreciation for Wegmans’ commitment.

The Awards Banquet was not just a celebration of achievements; it was a testament to the resilience and progress made by both the individuals and the community that supports them. Lifeworks extends gratitude to everyone who contributed to the success of the evening, from the dedicated LES team members to the generous donors who made the raffle a resounding success.

Explorers Group Ventures into Boston

The Lifeworks Explorers Group embarked on a delightful summer adventure with a day trip to Boston in July. Participants strolled and enjoyed the beauty of the Public Gardens, enjoyed a leisurely ride on the iconic Swan Boats, and culminated their day with a delicious lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. The Explorers Group, consisting of individuals aged 16 and above served by the Autism Support and Family Support Center, continues to discover new places and embrace exciting experiences. (Photo included) This summer escapade captures the essence of their exploration, where each outing is an opportunity to make friends and share discoveries.

Sharon House Summer Escape

The ladies of Sharon House embarked on a summer adventure, enjoying a week-long vacation in the picturesque Cape Cod. Resident Claire perfectly captured the sentiment of her housemates, saying, “We had fun! We went out to eat…a lot, she laughed. And did some fun shopping.” According to Claire, the week was not just enjoyable but also really relaxing.

Adding a delightful twist to the story, resident Kaylee Rollins found herself on vacation with her family during the same week as her Sharon housemates. Sharing moments of her own adventure, Kaylee treated us to photos showcasing her boating escapades and an exciting plane ride. While she expressed a touch of sadness for missing out on Sharon House’s vacation, she revealed she had the time of her life in North Carolina! (Photos included).

This summer escapade reflects the spirit of adventure and camaraderie that defines the residences of Lifeworks, where every journey, whether shared or individual, becomes a memorable chapter in the lives of those we serve.

Marion’s 95th Birthday Bash

Oct. 2023

Marion, Lifeworks’ most senior resident, recently marked a significant milestone—her 95th birthday! A warm gathering of well-wishers assembled to extend their congratulations, creating an atmosphere filled with joy and celebration. Marion, the life of the party, reveled in her moment, sharing laughter, indulging in delicious cake, and unwrapping heartfelt gifts in honor of her special day. 

Among the thoughtful gifts was a magazine filled with recipes, a delightful choice for Marion, who wasted no time planning her next dinner masterpiece—beef stroganoff. Her enthusiasm for life and love for good food continue to shine brightly. 

This celebration comes after months of Marion regaining her strength following a bout of illness. Her resilience and positive spirit are truly inspiring, and she has bounced back with remarkable vigor. In a snapshot from this past summer, Marion was captured savoring another culinary delight—lobster, one of her all-time favorites. 

“As we celebrate Marion’s incredible 95 years, we are reminded that the individuals we serve are a testament to the strength and resilience within our Lifeworks family. Marion is an inspiration, and her joyous moments reflect the vibrant spirit we aim to nurture in each person we support,” said Dan Burke, President/CEO.

Staff Appreciation: A Celebration of Dedication and Team Spirit

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Each year, Lifeworks dedicates two weeks to celebrate, honor, and express gratitude to its devoted staff — a remarkable team of caregivers and supporting professionals who tirelessly advocate, empower, and create opportunities for the individuals we serve. 

Throughout these two weeks, the Lifeworks team enjoyed a delightful array of treats, adorned with notes of appreciation. Office locations were ornamented with signs of appreciation, and reception desks beckoned individuals to pick from bowls filled with uplifting notes to brighten their day. 

Staff were treated to lunch on three occasions — one day at each of the three locations. Staff had the option to savor lunch at any site, or for the more ambitious, visit all three! The lunchtime festivities featured popular food trucks, with Tailgate Food Truck offering an enticing array of tailgate specials, including cheese steak subs, sausage peppers & onions, hot dogs, cheeseburgers, and French fries. To sweeten the deal, the Ellie’s Treats ice cream truck was on hand, allowing staff to indulge in a variety of ice cream treats, popcorn, and cotton candy.

Daily emails from Steve Cantine, Vice President of Human Resources, were something to look forward to. In addition to spreading good cheer and expressing immense gratitude to all staff, he orchestrated daily drawings for gift cards. Each day, two fortunate winners received $50 gift cards to either Walmart or Target. 

As the two weeks of celebrating the Lifeworks team came to a close and in anticipation of our upcoming 70th Anniversary year, a Lifeworks Trivia Contest was held. Questions revolved around trivia about Lifeworks people, places, and history spanning the past 70 years. The winners not only demonstrated their knowledge but also showcased the strong sense of community within Lifeworks. For those eager to delve into our rich history, the trivia questions and answers can be found [here]. 

This celebration is a testament to Lifeworks’ unwavering commitment to fostering a culture of appreciation, recognizing the dedication of its remarkable staff, and creating a positive and uplifting work environment for all. Cheers to the Lifeworks heroes who make a difference every day!