August 13, 2014
by LIFESPAN Inc.
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Fiscal Year End Message from President & CEO

LIFESPAN-Celebrating 40 Years of Mission Driven Services

Davan-Presidents Message (1)

Fiscal year 2013-2014 was an exciting milestone for LIFESPAN…our 40th Anniversary.  The celebration kicked off on our actual anniversary- October 10, 2013- when we launched our book entitled, “The Little Red Camera-capturing a magnificent 40 year journey”, with a joyous group of life-long supporters in Charlotte.  Many attended the gala held in February 2014 that showcased stories from our book as well as recognizing several advocates of distinction that have contributed to our long-term success.  Our programs also celebrated 40 years of mission driven services in various ways throughout the year which included parties, dinners, and community events.

Four hundred fifty-four LIFESPAN associates supported 1,274 children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout the year.  Over the past three years, our employment services have assisted 361 adults in finding a job of their choosing and our program participants have volunteered 57,017 hours in their communities.  Our three inclusive childcare centers in Burlington,, and Mt. Airy have received a 5 STAR rating from the state and our creative campuses are providing diverse learning opportunities on our campuses and in the community.

Our customers and their families are very satisfied with our services this year and we received a 98.7% satisfaction rating.  Some of the positive comments included, “The staff is excellent.  They smile all the time and make parents comfortable.  The best in the world!”; “Thank you for caring for and about my son”; and “LIFESPAN gives a great quality of services at all times”.

We received generous support from donors and the community.  LIFESPAN was the beneficiary of eight grants totaling $101,669 for special projects and general support and also received financial gifts of $450,652.  One hundred thirty-four in-kind donations provided necessary program supplies while community stakeholders provided 4,212 hours in volunteer time.  Volunteers from around the state extended helping hands to make facility improvements by painting interior walls in Greensboro and in Charlotte, adding mulch and landscaping at our Circle School locations and our residential homes.  In Troutman, the Blue Sky Nature Center was cleared and murals were added inside and outside of the facility.  The George Andreve Gardens and Greenhouse in Greensboro has taken shape as the greenhouse structure is in place, pathways have been built and the gardens are beginning to grow.

We have so much to be proud of and are so grateful for all the support received from so many committed funders, advocates, donors, and volunteers throughout 40 incredible years.  LIFESPAN will continue to thrive in decades to come,  please join us on our exciting journey.

November 13, 2013
by LifeSpan Services
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John Moran, Coordinator of Folders and Emails at Push America


John Moran, a participant in the CAET program, is working on improving his job skills in hopes of securing a job in the near future. He has been volunteering at Push America for over a year, which is a non-profit organization that sponsors events and bike races across the United States to raise money for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Through his motivation and determination to learn and volunteer, John has earned the respect of the Push America team. John is a very important part of the company and the duties assigned to him are critical in assisting others with their job duties. Even though John has not formally been offered a job, he is considered by the employees at Push America their co-worker. John has been assigned a cubicle at the office and has recently been given the title of Coordinator of Folders and Emails. His major job duty is to review hard copies of documents from past bike races, including invoices, organize the paperwork and determine who in the company should receive the information. He scans the documents into their system and then emails the scanned document to the appropriate employee. John loves volunteering at Push America and is always enthusiastic about going to work.

July 26, 2013
by LifeSpan Services
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Fiscal Year End Message from President & CEO

 

LIFESPAN-A Year of Achievements

Where has the fiscal year gone? It seems like yesterday when we were celebrating the holidays with our loved ones and now are in the heart of summer.  LIFESPAN has been extremely busy throughout the year and I am pleased to report that the organization ended fiscal year 2012-2013 with outstanding program accomplishments.

From July 2012 through June 2013, LIFESPAN’s dedicated and professional team of 446 associates provided services and supports to 1,527 children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities from Haywood to Alamance counties.  One hundred twenty-three adults obtained employment at a community business which increased their economic self-sufficiency and many program participants volunteered 19,599 hours at various sites in their communities.

Through our social media environments on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and through our blog, many followers continue to witness the positive and life changing achievements made in our Circle Schools, residential homes, and creative campus environments.  Our programs shared milestones such as high school and pre-school graduations and success in obtaining that first job.  Supporters also experienced the creation of beautiful artwork and delicious culinary dishes by our program participants and saw the volunteer spirit of area businesses when their employees spent a day making improvements in our programs.

Customer feedback and continual improvement is very important to LIFESPAN.  Throughout the year we sought input from stakeholders such as program participants, their families, and our governmental funders via satisfaction surveys.  Our program participants and families rated their high level of satisfaction at 98.4% with positive comments that included, “we are pleased with the quality of services provided”, “my son loves getting up every morning to go and be a part of a community”, and “LIFESPAN has a wonderful team of staff”.  Our governmental funders were also very pleased with services offered.  They rated their level of satisfaction at 100% with comments such as “LIFESPAN is doing such a great job”, “pleased with services offered”, and “staff is always professional”.  Both scores were an increase over last year’s results which demonstrates our ongoing commitment to excellence and increasing outcomes.

We certainly could not have had this level of success without the generous support of our donors and the community.  LIFESPAN was the beneficiary of 11 grants totaling $145,161 for special projects and general support and also received financial gifts of $394,365.88.  One hundred thirty-two in-kind donations provided critical program supplies.  Community volunteers certainly made an immediate impact with their time and talents by installing colorful art murals at our adult day program in Charlotte, beautifying the grounds of our residential homes and Circle Schools, and providing light maintenance and painting in our Guilford County program.  In fact all told, LIFESPAN received 9,161 hours of volunteer muscle, enthusiasm, and creativity during the fiscal year.

As you can see, it has been quite a busy year for us.  Next year promises to be stocked full of celebrations as we mark our 40th anniversary on October 10, 2013.  With support from the Board of Directors, our associates and community stakeholders, LIFESPAN is positioning itself for a future of growth, diversification, and prosperity…come join us!

June 6, 2013
by LifeSpan Services
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Updates for the coming year

Dear friends of LIFESPAN,

We hope this letter finds you well and enjoying the spring weather!  LIFESPAN will celebrate its 40th anniversary on October 10, 2013.  We are in the planning process for our anniversary celebrations and wanted to provide you with a few updates:

  • In lieu of hosting a 2013 philanthropy event in Charlotte, we elected to wait and host a gala in early 2014.  The gala will be held on February 22, 2014 as a mid-year celebration, so please mark your calendars.  Internal and external planning committees are being formed and we will keep you updated with information as details are confirmed.
  • We are also creating a corporate sponsorship program that will give sponsors the opportunity to support the gala, along with other fundraising events throughout the year.
  • We have created a new campaign, the 40@5 Ambassadors Club, which will allow 40 stakeholders from across the state to raise $5,000 for LIFESPAN through their own fundraising efforts.  We are pleased to announce that as of the date of this letter, 18 of our supporters have agreed to serve as Ambassadors!  Ambassadors will have until February, 2014 to complete their fundraising efforts.  These Ambassadors are playing a critical role for LIFESPAN this year as they are replacing the funds that we would have raised from ourCharlottephilanthropy event.  If you would like to serve as an Ambassador, please contact either one of us.
  • LIFESPAN is also creating an incredible photo book to commemorate our 40th anniversary.  The book is an inclusive project that engages those we support with their family members, LIFESPAN associates, employers and community stakeholders.
  • Funding for health and human services organizations such as LIFESPAN, continues to be difficult and anything that you can do to help us is appreciated. Please consider making a financial donation to support the programs of LIFESPAN.  With your support, we will be able to continue to make great strides for individuals to live, work, and play in their communities. We remain grateful for your continued support of our mission and it is because of you that abilities continue to be illuminated every day in our programs!

We will keep you updated as our plans progress.  Until then, please visit our website at www.lifespanservices.org to access our social media platforms where programs are featured daily from across the state, download our annual report, or read about our quarterly accomplishments.  Have a joyful summer!

 

With gratitude

Lori Avery                                                                                Jeff Hay

7044.944.5112                                                                      704.444.2948

Senior Director of Development                                     LIFESPAN Board Chair

April 24, 2013
by LifeSpan Services
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Lessons from LIFESPAN

On March 2-9, 2013 I had the privilege along with 9 students from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA, to serve LIFESPAN in Charlotte, NC. Lori Avery, from the Corporate Office, put together an awesome action packed week for myself (I served as the Faculty/Staff Learning Partner), the trip leaders, and the participants. We found ourselves working with and spending quality time with program participants, both adults and children, all over the state of North Carolina.

Although we were not taking classes, the participants, volunteers, and staff of LIFESPAN taught us quite a few lessons during our weeklong adventure.
1. The first day, the first lesson Davan Cloninger, President and CEO, reminded us of was that “Difference does not mean deficit.” This message was continually reinforced throughout the week as we met participants in programs or children at the LS Circle School in Burlington completing a lesson. The amount of activities individuals participating in these programs fit into one day made my daily schedule and hustle and bustle appear nonexistent. It is easy to forget how much time we do have in a day to get things done and how to enjoy them while doing them.
2. The next lesson we learned came in a variety of forms to us. We learned to never underestimate the power of a smile and a kind word. A warm and sincere smile was often all it took for us to meet someone new. Another activity we had the privilege of participating in during this Alternative Spring Break trip was a Bright Blessings event. If you haven’t been to a small child’s birthday party recently, I highly recommend it. The event we attended was one of many children’s’ birthday parties thrown at an emergency shelter for women and children. For many of the kids at the event, acceptance was as simple as asking them if they wanted to play a game, or reply to their questions, “can I do this?” with an enthusiastic “YES.” Their immediate reaction was to smile, laugh, and join into the fun of the party. My favorite place that I learned this lesson was at the LS Circle School in Burlington. As a child growing up, the playground was not always my most favorite place. However, it was in Burlington that I found a new love for the playground. I was working with a group of 3-4 year old children. Never have I observed such kind behavior from one child to the other. Once outside, I went to my personal favorite playground location –the swings. Many of the children were big fans as well. They loved to push one another higher and higher and were so patient while waiting their turns. If someone fell down or needed help, another child in the class was right there to help them get up or to get the teachers. It was in these moments I found myself smiling bigger and feeling so much joy. There was much to learn in watching these children play together and be sure to include everyone in playtime.
3. Throughout the week, we never met a stranger. This came full circle for us when we attended a Circle of Friends meeting at Forrest Hills Church. We ran into people we had met earlier in the day and week that were so excited to see us and greeted us as life-long friends. We also made many new friends that night. Everyone welcomed us to the event and encouraged us to come back and visit. The individuals we met were so genuinely delighted that we had taken time out of our trip to celebrate the evening with them. Trust me, it was no time sacrificed but time well invested and spent.
4. Finally, Christopher White Vice President of Program Operations and Business Development once shared with our group that if you find your passion, you will never work another day in your life. We consistently saw this principle lived out through every single LIFESPAN staff member or volunteer we encountered. A few of the participants on the trip found themselves questioning their chosen career path of working with individuals with disabilities in the public school setting prior to beginning this trip. However, at our final group reflection time together, those questioning individuals gladly stated how excited they were to return to JMU and continue working on their degree. After spending time with LIFESPAN, they knew they had chosen the right path and would no longer have to work a day in their life.
Thank you LIFESPAN Inc. for teaching us these lessons and countless others. We are all more empowered to create positive change and be a positive influence to others as a result of spending time with you during our Alternative Spring Break.
-Love, the 2013 James Madison University Alternative Spring Break Group

April 10, 2013
by LifeSpan Services
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40@5 Ambassadors Club

 

In honor of our upcoming 40th anniversary, LIFESPAN has created a new fundraising campaign called the 40@5 Ambassadors Club.  The campaign will involve 40 stakeholders from across the state who agree to raise $5,000 by February, 2014.  Are you up for the challenge?  If so, contact Lori Avery at (704) 944-5112 or via email at lavery@lifespanservices.org.  Ambassadors can raise financial support in various ways, including:

 

  • A letter writing campaign
  • Matching grant from your company or organization
  • Host a special event in honor of LIFESPAN

 

LIFESPAN will assist with any content and marketing materials necessary to help the 40@5 Ambassadors reach their goal. Thanks to those who have already accepted the challenge and are making great strides with their fundraising efforts!  All ambassadors will be honored at the 40th gala celebration next February.  I hope you will join me in this quest to raise critical dollars necessary to the support the mission of LIFESPAN.

 

Lori Avery

Senior Director of Development

March 26, 2013
by LifeSpan Services
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The Supported Employment Experience

My most memorable experience in supported employment involves James, who is a lobby attendant at Arby’s.

LIFESPAN had been working with James for several months before I joined the LIFESPAN team.  I was fortunate to have James assigned to my case load.  He was truly a joy to work with and after each meeting, I was left with a bigger smile and even more determination for finding suitable employment for him.  His dream was to become a weatherman and even though this goal was not realistically obtainable, I always kept this in the back of my mind.

The road to supported employment can be a long journey.  Many times, attempts at finding employment can be discouraging for the job seeker.  I was speaking with the manager at Arby’s about James as a possible candidate.  She was interested and agreed to meet with us.  The interview went well and he was offered a job as Lobby Attendant two days each week.  He accepted the offer and was eager to begin his new role.

On his first day of work and every day since, he has walked into Arby’s with the proud smile of a successful man. He arrives at work and goes above and beyond d his regular job duties.  He exceeded everyone’s expectations, including his own.  The day he was presented his first paycheck, he looked at me and said, “this is easy money” and smiled!

During our days together at Arby’s, he still spoke of his dream to be a weatherman.  I decided to make a few phone calls and contacted local TV stations. WXII 12 invited James and I to join them on a tour of the station.  He was able to see the weather room, speak with the meteorologist, and able to see himself on the green screen on TV. To him, he was the weatherman for one day and he had accomplished one of his goals.  After the tour, a member of the station staff presented James with a WXII 12 hat which he wears proudly when not wearing his Arby’s hat.  Today, James is thriving in his role of Lobby Attendant at Arby’s.

A special thank you to Arby’s of Yadkinville, NC for supporting our mission and for providing an employment opportunity for James. Additionally, thank you, WXII12 for making this young mans dream come true!

 

Lori Hopper

Senior Employment Specialist

LCC-Dobson

 

March 20, 2013
by LifeSpan Services
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A Success Story

Rebekah Lockman is a CAET participant who is very motivated in pursuing a career in horticulture. Rebekah participated in the horticulture class offered at LIFESPAN last September through December 2012. During the course, Rebekah learned various skills associated with horticulture including how to grow herbs and vegetables, propagation techniques, tips on planting,
During a community visit to Sedgefield Interior Landscaping, Rebekah developed a keen interest in the work that Sedgefield does in the community. Sedgefield sells and maintains interior plants and landscaping for companies like Carolinas Medical System and various hotels in the Charlotte area. Not long after the visit, Rebekah spoke with her community coach and expressed a willingness to become more involved with Sedgefield Interior Landscaping after she completed the horticulture course. During the same visit, Rebekah was able to do some networking and received the appropriate contact information for the company and made a follow-up visit to inquire about possible volunteer opportunities.weeding and pruning, along with identifying various parts of plants and flowers and which garden tools to use for specific tasks. The course also included sessions on improving communication skills and effective work habits.

On January 18, 2013, Rebekah secured a volunteer position with Sedgefield Interior Landscaping where she assists employees in caring and maintaining the various plants before they are shipped out to their customer base. Rebekah is thrilled and so enthusiastic about this new endeavor and continues to be motivated to pursue a career in this field.

February 5, 2013
by LifeSpan Services
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“I Love the Queen City”

Artists at Mosaic are always finding new ways to interpret the world around them. This time, they’re looking close to home–and their hearts! Mosaic is opening the doors of the studio to the public for an art show entitled “I Love the Queen City.” Featured artwork is comprised of individual works of art by our resident artists and collaborative pieces created by our weekly group classes. Attendees of the show will be delighted by the various ways the theme is interpreted. From dazzling cityscapes to portraits of Queen Charlotte, the artists at Mosaic have put their hearts into creating one-of-a-kind masterpieces. Much creative energy goes into the creation of each painting and the results reflect our artists’ dedication and pride in the work they produce. The open house will be held on the Friday after Valentine’s Day and would be a wonderful addition to a date night. Refreshments will be served and all artwork is available for purchase. Since most of the artists will be in attendance, this is a wonderful opportunity to meet with the artists and talk with them about their work. We hope to see you there!

I Love the Queen City Artists Reception

Friday, February 15th, 2013                                                                                                      5pm-8pm                                                                                                                                             Mosaic: A LIFESPAN Studio                                                                                                            1101 North Brevard Street                                                                                                      Charlotte, NC 28201

Rachel Ohls Art Assistant

January 28, 2013
by LifeSpan Services
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13 Ways to Support LIFESPAN in 2013 – Our Top 13

At the beginning of each year, many of us begin to create a list of resolutions that may include exercise more, eat healthy, call a friend or watch expenses. This year, I would like to ask you to consider adding “support LIFESPAN” on your resolution list. In order to make this easy for you, I am including a list of 13 Ways to Support LIFESPAN in 2013:

1. Provide a financial contribution.
2. Leave a legacy gift.
3. Inquire about our Supported Employment Program and become an     Employment Partner.
4. Bring a group to volunteer at a LIFESPAN program.
5. Become a 40@5 Ambassador and raise $5,000 by February, 2014.
6. Host a dinner in your home and invite friends to learn more about our wonderful mission.
7. Adopt a classroom at one of our three LIFESPAN Circle Schools.
8. Become a mentor to a participant in our CAET or Supported Employment program.
9. Join our growing number of social media followers.
10. Attend an upcoming Artists Reception at MOSAIC a LIFESPAN studio.
11. Serve on a committee.
12. Introduce LIFESPAN to a friend and plan to spend time in one of our programs where abilities are illuminated every day!
13. Host a game night or special event for Residential Services.

To learn more about the Top 13, please call or email me and let’s make a difference, together, in the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in LIFESPAN programs across North Carolina.

Best wishes to you and your family for a healthy and prosperous 2013!

With gratitude,

Lori Avery

Senior Director of Development

(704) 944-5112

lavery@lifespanservices.org