A groundbreaking ceremony was held recently at 623 Twelfth Street in Wabasha to symbolically start construction of a house for people with disabilities. Attendees from left to right: Administrator Michael Weinandt, Program Supervisor Nicole Murray, Board member Terry Timm, Program Director Nicki Hellickson-Carothers, Support Service Coordinator Diane Pugh, Board member Rick Janka, Board member Sierra Janka, Board member Pam Bauman , Mary Tesmer ,Board member Anita Schuth, Interstate Lumber Building Supply representative Mike Palmersheim ,Bernice Gundt ,Support Serve Coordinator Margaret Steiner, Hartert’s Plumbing and Heating representative Denny Hartert , Passe Electric representative Steve Passe, Jo Seiberling, Board member Tom Peyla, Board President Chuck Springer, Wabasha County Commissioner Mike Wobbe, Wabasha Mayor Rollin Hall, Board member Dan Schaefer, General Contractor of Schwalbe Construction Steve Schwalbe, Conner Schwalbe , Vicki Zimmerman and Lois Leisen.
Whenever she walks into the house, there is a smile on her face and enthusiasm in her voice. Valerie Bannon is a wonderful volunteer of Great River Homes, Inc. Valerie said “I didn’t know when I moved to Wabasha two years ago that I would have the great pleasure and honor becoming a volunteer for Kevin Passé”; Kevin enjoys having Valerie as his volunteer. He said “I like her and we have a lot of fun together. “ During Valerie’s time as a volunteer, she has met many of the individuals served by Great River Homes and that is “always a joy to visit with them “.Valerie strongly encourages people of all ages who want to “make a positive difference in someone’s life to inquire about volunteer opportunities within Great River Homes,Inc.She stated “It has been one of the greatest blessings in my life.”
Kevin Passe and Valerie Bannon are pictured above in Kevin’s home. Valerie is being recognized as a friend of Kevin’s during National Volunteer Recognition Week April 23-29,2017
March is Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
Alice is a sweet, lovely seven year old girl who likes to swim, play outside and loves her family. Alice was born with Autism, Global Developmental Delay, Epilepsy and deaf/hard of hearing. Developmental disabilities are a significant delay in 2 or more areas such as language, mobility, learning, self-help, and independent living that occur at birth or at some point during a child’s development and typically are permanent. Autism is one cause of developmental disabilities.
Alice and her family have worked extensively with medical professionals to help Alice have the opportunity to live a full and abundant life. Alice has endured life threatening epileptic seizures which have required immediate medical interventions. With the help of medical professionals Alice and her family have been able to get her seizures under control with medications that help prevent her from needing hospitalization. Alice is learning to speak and to interact with her family, friends, teachers and care providers with the assistance of a cochlear implant which allows her to hear someone speaking to her. Alice uses a special I-Pad provided by her school to communicate to others along with some sign language.
Alice receives In-Home Support Services from Great River Homes, Inc. Maggie Shupien assists Alice to get up and ready for school when her parents are working. Maggie and Alice also work on communication skills, relationships with friends and self-help skills.
Alice loves to watch the fish swim in a special aquarium that her father built for her. She also enjoys swimming at the pool, swinging, drawing, collecting leaves and tumbling.
Alice is a happy child with a loving supportive family. Alice does not let her developmental disabilities affect her outlook on life. She is a sweet and happy child. Alice is living her life to the fullest with the support of family, friends, teachers and care providers.
Get to Know Jo Seiberling
When Jo Seiberling moved to her new home in Wabasha to receive Supported Living Services from Great River Homes, Inc. she was living away from her parents for the first time in her life.
Jo grew up on a farm near Alma, Wisconsin. Betty and the late Lowell Seiberling have three children. Jo’s siblings moved away from home when most people leave home to begin their adult lives. Jo remained at home with her parents until her father’s health made it difficult for her to stay with them.
After graduating from Durand High School, Jo received services from Riverfront, Inc. until the services were no longer available. Jo started working at the Wabasha County DAC in December, 2015. Jo liked coming to the DAC because some of her friends from Alma also worked there.
In June, 2016 Jo moved into a home in Wabasha. With a big smile, Jo commented she really enjoys the three ladies who live with her as well as the team members who provide direct support. Jo continues to work at the Wabasha County DAC where she sees old and new friends.
Jo loves her family and talks fondly about them daily. Jo visits her family often, and spends holidays with them. When she returns to her home in Wabasha she is excited to share what she did and who she visited.
Jo has a typical lifestyle of recreation, leisure and household responsibilities. Jo said some of her favorite leisure activities are bowling, working on her latch hook rug, completing craft projects with her housemates and team members, word search puzzles, having guests over for meals and activities and attending dances. Jo’s favorite household activities include cooking, putting her laundry away and helping to empty the dishwasher. Jo enjoys watching the Brewers and the Packers on television. Jo attended a Brewers game last summer and a Packers game in December.
Jo’s mother, Betty, stated, “It is working out perfect and I am glad it happened.” Betty also commented, “Jo really enjoys life and she seems really happy.” The living arrangement is mutually beneficial. Jo is a valued member of the community and is happy to live, work, and be a participating member of the Wabasha community. Jo is a friendly and kindhearted person you should get to know.
March is Disabilities Awareness Month. This article has been written to increase community awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disabilities.
Visit www.greatriverhomes.org for more information.
March is Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
Get to Know George Robelia
With both fists good-naturedly up in the air and a broad smile across his face, George enjoys pleasantly teasing others and brightening their day near the end of a relaxed, hour-long meal. George has lived at his home in Wabasha, operated by Great River Homes, Inc. in Wabasha, for about 15 months. During these fifteen months, George has accomplished many things. One of the most important achievements has been the thousands of smiles he has brought to the lives of those who live and work with him. With a big smile, George commented that he really enjoys his relationships with everyone who lives with him as well as the team members who assist him.
George enjoys sharing about life on the family farm during his younger days. George’s consistently gentle disposition, courtesy, sensitivity, personal warmth, and creative sense of humor have a very calming, uplifting effect on everyone around him. George’s diplomatic demeanor has even enabled him to convert a hard core Minnesota Viking fan into a 49.99% Green Bay Packer fan!
George has enjoyed getting to know Rebecca, a community member, who is building a relationship with George on a volunteer basis. In addition to his social contributions, George’s positive attitude and determination have enabled George to make significant progress in increasing his stamina and strength. George is now able to walk farther than he could a year ago and George is able to independently complete more daily living tasks due to increased strength and coordination. George began participating in exercise and work programs at the Wabasha County D.A.C. about a year ago. George has been thrilled to bring home paychecks and show them to others.
During the past year, George has also expanded his leisure interests and activities. He has enjoyed trying several new restaurants, working on a gardening project and numerous craft projects; including Green Bay Packer emblems for the hubcaps on his wheelchair. (It doesn’t appear likely that George will ever be a 49.99% Viking fan.)
While making many new friends, George has also been able to stay in touch with previous friends and with family members through visits at George’s home and at the home of family. It’s been a great 15 months for George as he has greatly expanded the number of his friendships, improved his physical condition, and enjoyed many new experiences. If you are around town and see a smiling gentleman with two fists in the air, it may well be George living his life to the fullest.