Highlights

Back in the Gardens

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We hope that this summer brings another bumper crop of vegetables, herbs, and flowers to Lifeworks residential homes.  Each year, the Forsberg Beautification Program (FBP) provides funding for vegetable gardens, flower planters, garden decoration, and more.  This year, in addition to the lovely gardens, some residential homes added swings for outdoor enjoyment. Sharon House sent along a few photos, including resident Craig testing it out their new swing with teacher/counselor Titlayo (see slide show.)

The FBP was created in partnership with the Forsberg family and Lifeworks in memory of Jane Forsberg, who served as an early president of our chapter of the Arc. Jane was a huge proponent of advocacy, community interaction, and particularly cared about beatification of the homes and creating a welcoming environment. The fund has been instrumental over the past couple of years in increasing the outdoor activities in the gardens at the residences, as well as at the Lifeworks main office gardens in Westwood, where participants from our locations in Boston and Norwood come over a few times a week to water and tend to all the plantings.

At the Westwood house they’ve been keeping a watchful eye on their garden. Watering and checking on progress daily. So far, they’ve worked on growing tomatoes, potatoes, radishes, carrots, and some herbs. Resident Dwayne was even able to pick some of the radishes already.  The new swings are a big hit as residences.  Some of the residents’ families joined the Westwood guys for a backyard birthday party for Tim.  Everyone enjoyed a barbeque, cake, ice cream, and fun! They even used some of the fresh radishes to garnish the salad.  Westwood house too provided some pictures as well (see slide show). There’s a great photo of Tim and Michael, lifelong friends, enjoying a hug during Tim’s birthday BBQ! 

Chefs in the Making

Social and Recreation Department has a new flavorful addition to its growing list of programs and activities.  Jr. Culinary Club activities began holding their first classes in the newly renovated kitchen adjacent to the Jane Smith Community Room in Westwood.  “The classes were a great success.  We made open “faced” sandwiches and rainbow fruit pizza, worked on hand washing and knife skills/safety.” said Tracey O’Farrell, recreation specialist.  “They are learning how to read the recipes, go shopping for the ingredients, and are learning measuring skills. It’s a very rewarding experience for all.”  This season’s Culinary Club classes ended on a high note, with the making edible cars.  Jr. chef’s got to take home a customized apron and a cookbook with all of the recipes made during the course. Open to individuals aged 8-14 who are served by the Autism Support Center and Family Support, the classes are an opportunity for our younger individuals to learn new skills, have sensory exposure, try new tastes and textures, and socialize with their peers. All while having lots of fun!

Volunteers in Red

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On May 11th, 2023, Keller Williams staff along with Lifeworks staff and individuals came out to volunteer their time to clean up garden beds and plant flowers and vegetables around the property at Lifework’s main office. Individuals from all over Lifeworks, many from the day hab, from LES Norwood, LES Boston, Connections, and individual volunteers who are served by Lifeworks participated in making the day a success.  Refreshments served in the newly renovated kitchen was wonderful way for all volunteers to chat before the outdoor work began. Many Keller Williams staff were returning volunteers who shared stories with first time volunteers of past Red Days.

“Red Day is a great community experience and opportunity for the volunteers to learn more about Lifeworks, meet our staff and program participants. We express our thanks to the Red Day volunteers for lending a hand each spring to spruce up our property,” said Lifeworks President/CEO Dan Burke.

With everyone’s teamwork, eight vegetable and flower beds were given new life and various potted plants on the patios were replanted with beautiful plants from Lovells made possible by the Forsberg Beautification Program. In the Jane Smith Community Room, day hab participants painted plant pots to add some joy and color around the building. “Everyone who participated had a smile on their face and welcomed the opportunity to give back to their community,” said Kate Kalinoski, Associate Director of Social & Recreation Programs. “This project also created an opportunity for the groups from Boston and Norwood to come back each week and help water the plants and pick the veggies when they are ready. We are already looking forward to next year’s Red Day!”

Summer Fun 2022

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We’ve got a slideshow view into just a few of the wonderful activities residents and day habilitation participants enjoyed over the hot summer of 2022.  First, we are shining a spotlight on long time Lifeworks participant Julie Kachele who took time this summer to enjoy a few days in Newport, RI where she stayed at the Newport Harbor Hotel. Her fun-filled mini vacation included a visit to the Green Animals Topiary Garden in Portsmouth, RI touring the animal sculptures and where she enjoyed a picnic lunch.  “I really enjoyed it,” said Julie. “I had breakfast at a little café near the water and dinner at an Italian restaurant. We went to two Mansions (Rosecliff Mansion and The Breakers), and I bought a pair of colorful shorts, which I like very much.”  Julie was joined on her two-day adventure by Program Manager Morgan Riley who noted that she and Julie filled every minute of her Newport adventure with sightseeing, shopping on Thames Street, dining, and swimming.    

Julie takes on various Lifeworks projects when not vacationing. She delivers Meals on Wheels two days per week and participates in Leadership from Home online classes. She belongs to a book club and enjoys reading Judy Moody and Harry Potter novels, as well as doing word search games. A day trip to Plymouth included a Captain John Boats Whale Watch excursion which was a big hit with a group of residents from Norwood.  To the delight of the watchers, the whales did breach the surface!  Participants visited the sights of historical Plymouth such as the Mayflower and Plymouth Rock, and enjoyed lunch on the wharf at Wood’s Seafood.  Therapeutic Horseback Riding at the Winsome Riding Academy was one of the numerous social and recreational offerings provided by the Autism Support Center and Family Support. Throughout the summer activities included a summer barbecue event, rock painting, tie dying, a magic show, mini golf, a trip to Canobie Lake Park, Drums Alive, and an Explorers program outing of blueberry picking followed by a luncheon.