Today’s Front Line Hero: Lutheran Life Villages

May 20, 2020

Today’s Front Line Hero is Lutheran Life Villages, which is committed to keeping seniors healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lutheran Life Villages is a senior living facility with four campuses in Northeast Indiana. In addition to an array of senior living options, Lutheran Life Villages offers creative programming such as no contact boxing for individuals living with Parkinson’s disease, and a Foster Grandparent program, which matches seniors with low-income children in the community who are at risk of falling behind in school. They are committed to holistic care for seniors, and to building intergenerational relationships in the community.

Lutheran Life Villages recognizes the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the enhanced risk for seniors and individuals with chronic conditions. To keep their residents safe, Lutheran Life Villages is taking necessary precautions, including restricting access, monitoring staff health, increasing their inventory of medical supplies, and communicating regularly with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and their local and state health departments. The increased need for personal protective equipment is unprecedented, and Lutheran Life Villages is working to obtain needed supplies. President and CEO Alex Kiefer is forging new partnerships to gain those supplies, and has made trips to car manufacturing plants to pick up gowns and other supplies that are otherwise difficult to find.

Thank you to Lutheran Life Villages for your dedication to the seniors in your community!

Honoring Juneteenth

June 17, 2022

Juneteenth is a time to reflect on the past and acknowledge the continuous journey to ensure freedom. As we celebrate this long-running tradition that commemorates the end of slavery, we know there is more work to do to overcome inequity in our society. Together, we can deliver change in communities nationwide.

Valery Trigsted: Teen Leader, Entrepreneur, and Intern at Concordia Place

February 10, 2021

By Emily Gross, Senior Manager of Program Development and Outreach

Growing up in the Avondale neighborhood in Chicago, high school senior Valery Trigsted first heard about Concordia Place when she was 13. At the time, some friends from school told her about Emerging Leaders, a program they were enrolled in that empowers teens through service-learning projects. Seeking something she could get involved in after school, Valery joined her friends in the program and started spending time at Concordia Place cooking, creating arts and crafts, and gardening. What Valery did not realize is this was just the beginning of a five-year journey that would make her a leader among her peers.

Valery’s experience at Concordia Place came at a significant time in her life, after her father passed away when she was in the seventh grade. Through the program, she collaborated with other young people who she says are now her best friends, many of whom she knew from her school but had not had the opportunity to connect with otherwise. “Concordia Place was like a second home for me,” says Valery, “The people there made me who I am and made me feel comfortable and safe.”

Staff noticed early on Valery’s potential. Within one year of her joining Emerging Leaders, they offered her an internship with Ruckus Entrepreneurs, a program that gives youth ages 16-18 a unique opportunity to manage a socially responsible small business. Valery was just 14 when she began her internship.

Ruckus Entrepreneurs create and sell their own handcrafted body care products fashioned from organic, sustainable, and local ingredients whenever possible. Products include natural soaps, non-aluminum deodorants, and shea and lip balms. The business also gives back to the community through “Buy One, Give One” – with every purchase of a Ruckus body care product, they donate a product to an organization serving people in need.

Through her internship, Valery has learned product management and marketing and recently had her first foray into web design. After COVID-19, the Ruckus team explored online sales options and Valery has helped present several design options to Concordia Place leadership. She has also learned new communication skills that help her flourish as a leader. “Being a part of Concordia was probably the best decision I ever made. I was shy and timid before joining and it really brought me out of my comfort zone in different times. The people you meet, the different opportunities, and seeing how much people care about you – I couldn’t turn that down.”

Valery is now using her leadership skills to engage the greater community and help others. She recently joined the Thrive Teen Advisory Board in Chicago and is also an organizer for the Midwest Workers Association, an advocacy initiative focused on the needs of South Side residents. When asked what her goals are for the future, Valery says, “I wish to instill change where I see fit and remove the disparities that are in place right now for various reasons.”

Valery’s time at Concordia Place will soon come to an end; she is now 18 and will graduate high school this year. As she reflects on her internship and Emerging Leaders, she said she will no doubt carry her experiences forward. “Their goal is to create leaders, and that’s what they did with me.”

Concordia Place is a member of the Lutheran Services in America network and provides growth and opportunity to 800 children, teens, and adults each year, no matter their age or circumstance. To find out more, please visit their website www.concordiaplace.org.