2016-giving-back-award-01Gardant Management Solutions recognized three Gardant properties where residents and staff went above and beyond to volunteer in their local communities.

The 2016 Giving Back Awards were presented to Heritage Woods of Dwight, John Evans Supportive Living and Cambridge House of Maryville during the company’s awards luncheon earlier this month.

1st Place – Heritage Woods of Dwight

The community continues to have a positive impact on the Dwight area with its fundraising projects, educational presentations, and support for local law enforcement and farmers.

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Heritage Woods of Dwight partnered with a local high school to host relay races. The intergenerational program was a big hit among residents, students and community members.

Heritage Woods residents started their community involvement during Supportive Living Week. To go along with the week’s Keep Moving theme, residents planned a relay race with local high school students. The event was well-attended by residents, students and community members. Everyone enjoyed the relays and watching not only the students help residents in walkers and wheelchairs, but also residents teaching students the proper way to balance eggs in spoons to make it to the finish line. Watching this intergenerational project was a positive and inspiring experience and true testament to the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.”

The residents and staff at Heritage Woods are thankful for all the Dwight Police Department does for the community. Officers respond to ambulance calls and take advantage of that time to get acquainted with residents in the lobby and hallways. When it came time to honor individuals in the community for their hard work and dedication, law enforcement was an obvious choice. In August, residents make law enforcement survival kits – brown bags filled with candy to represent all of the tasks that officers do for the community.

In September, staff and residents prepared 75 lunches to feed local farmers who were working in the fields but didn’t have time to stop for a proper meal. The lunches included sandwiches, chips, fresh baked cookies and bottled water. The were sealed with a Heritage Woods sticker and a card that read, “Today, we give thanks for the food on our tables, the clothes on our backs and the farmers who make it all possible.”

Heritage Woods hosted a Think Pink Party to honor those who have bravely won the fight against breast cancer, raise money for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and remember those who have lost the battle to the disease. A guest speaker gave an inspiring talk on early detection and the importance of self breast exams for men and women of all ages. The highlight of the event was presenting pins and a rousing applause to seven survivors who attended the celebration.

Outreach efforts expand well beyond Dwight. When staff learned that Heinz Mobile Medical Unit needed a place to serve Livingston County veterans, the community provided a space where the large mobile unit could park. The community also opened up its dining room, so that veterans would have a comfortable waiting area. The kitchen staff now prepares biscuit and gravy breakfasts, doughnuts and other special treats when the unit visits. As one resident said, “It is great to honor our veterans on a monthly basis and not just once a year on Memorial Day.”

Community involvement is not only limited to residents. The marketing director is connected to the local community. One example is helping deliver Peace Meals to seniors in the area. The program has grown to serve 32 seniors and Heritage Woods residents are big supporters of the outreach effort, thanking the marketing director for helping provide other seniors with great meals like they now have and the security of knowing someone will be by every day to check on them.

As 2016 comes to a close, the residents and staff at Heritage Woods are already coming up with new and creative ways to get involved next year.

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John Evans staff, including Administrator Melanie Daniels, visited nursing homes to sing Christmas carols during the holidays.

2nd Place – John Evans Supportive Living

Every month, the residents and staff at John Evans chose community service projects to dedicate their time, talent and resources to in the Pekin area. Here is a monthly breakdown of some of their outreach efforts:

  • January: Donated hats and mittens to those in need.
  • February:  Collected canned goods and donated to the Salvation Army.
  • March: Residents read to preschool children in honor of National Reading Month.
  • April:  Hosted Easter Egg Hunt for community children, donated Easter baskets and organized volunteer appreciation tea.
  • May:  Participated in the Race for the Cure Dodge Ball Fundraiser.
  • June:  Organized Fireman/Paramedic Appreciation Cookout.
  • July: Made cards for veterans and collected items for military families.
  • August: Sponsored a St. Jude runner, participated in the Alzheimer’s Walk and raised $300 for the cause. Also hosted a police appreciation luncheon.
  • September:  Filled backpacks for grandparents raising grandchildren and participated in golf tournament for area senior center.
  • October:  Collected canned goods and joined the Operation Shoebox effort.
  • November: Delivered pies to area service workers, volunteered at free township Thanksgiving dinner and made poppy cards for veterans.
  • December: Rang the bell for the Salvation Army, made Christmas cards for veterans, sang carols and distributed gifts at local nursing homes, donated, wrapped and delivered Santa for Seniors gifts, raised money for Jingle Bell for Arthritis, and hosted a craft sale for Gifts for Seniors and a bake sale for an area food pantry.
  • Year-Round: Sponsored a shelter pet, donated supplies to a local animal shelter and served as a warming/cooling center in times of extreme temperatures.

3rd Place – Cambridge House of Maryville

Cambridge House of Maryville was honored for giving back to the Metro East area.

Cambridge House of Maryville was honored for giving back to the Metro East area.

The community made a commitment to several causes this year, including feeding the needy, collecting school supplies for area children, raising money and awareness for Alzheimer’s disease and making the holidays brighter for seniors. Here are some of the highlights of their outreach projects:

  • February: The community collected canned goods throughout the month, and residents donated the food to the Maryville Outreach Center Food Pantry. Maryville Mayor Larry Gulledge came to an event to thank the community for organizing the food drive.
  • July: Cambridge House collected school supplies for area children. The items were donated to the Maryville 1st Baptist Church School Supply Drive.
  • August/September: Residents and staff participated in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Cambridge House sold forget-me-nots and sponsored refreshments, donating $550 to the cause. Residents also worked the hospitality booth for volunteers who set up the traveling Vietnam Wall Memorial.
  • November/December: Cambridge House collected items for the 3rd Annual Madison County Stockings 4 Seniors. The project donates 750 stockings to seniors in the area.

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