Posts Tagged ‘Senior Services’

The Measure of a Year: What LSS Accomplished in 2012

February 27, 2013

2012 blockThis past year, as with every year of the last 13 decades, LSS served the most vulnerable members of society. Of those we served, 96 percent are low income or impoverished. Through providing innovative, quality Christian care, and adapting to the needs of our clients, we strive to strengthen lives, families, and communities.

To help convey the scope of our services, and who they touch, we compile a list of what our agency has achieved in the past year and post it on our website. The numbers tell quite a story!  What they don’t tell is the sheer volume of hard work and loyal support of our volunteers, donors, and a statewide staff of more than 800 individuals who make all of it possible.

In addition to adoption and foster care, our vital programs and services also include residential children’s centers, charter schools, disaster response, emergency assistance, senior retirement communities, and spiritual care.

Following is our 2012 accomplishment list. We’re grateful that we have been given the opportunity to serve so many in need—over 25,000 to be exact.

Children’s Services

  • 1,913 children were provided foster care in 15 communities across Texas—Amarillo, Austin, Conroe/The Woodlands, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Harlingen, Laredo, Lubbock, McAllen, Mesquite, Robstown, San Antonio, Tyler, and Victoria, Texas.
  • 445 formerly abused children, ages 6-17, were served at two residential treatment centers: Krause Children’s Center in Katy, and New Life Children’s Center in Canyon Lake, Texas.
  • 557 child refugees were served at Bokenkamp Emergency Shelter, Corpus Christi, Texas.
  • 228 child refugees were provided transitional foster care in El Paso, Texas.
  • 107 Texas children were adopted through LSS domestic adoption program.
  • 69 children from countries such as China, Korea, Ethiopia, Colombia, India, Russia, Uganda, Ukraine, The Philippines, Kazakhstan, Thailand, and Taiwan were adopted through the LSS international adoption program in partnership with other international adoption agencies.
  • 4,545 volunteers served at New Life, Krause, Bokenkamp, and fundraising events.
  • 145 New Orleans foster youth were served by BeREAL, a mentoring program for teens “aging out” of the Louisiana foster care system.
  • 1,084 students were served at Trinity Charter Schools.

Senior Services

  • More than 989 older adult residents of LSS senior living options, ranging from independent living to skilled nursing and memory care, in Houston, Brenham, Victoria, Round Rock, and Lubbock, Texas.
  • 19 individual patients (1,904 hrs) were served through Care-Connect care management at The Village in Spring, Texas.

Services for Families in Crisis

  • 10,294 individuals were provided emergency assistance with rent, utilities, prescriptions, and other basic needs at Neighborhood House in Lubbock, Texas. More than 127,000 lbs. of food and hygiene products were distributed.
  • 1,668 individual patients were served during 8,121 patient visits through Health For Friends Clinic in Lubbock, Texas.

Disaster Response

  • Approx. 150 families were helped with emergency disaster assistance in TX and LA (wildfires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes).
  • Rebuild/unmet needs funding went to more than 30 families in Bastrop and Spicewood.
  • Aid was given to more than 300 farm families suffering drought/wildfires through Haylift to Texas efforts.
  • Repair/rebuild work was done on 60+ homes in Bastrop.
  • Coordinated approx. 1,900 volunteers for nearly 53,000 volunteer hours.
  • Total clients served by LSSDR = 540 families; 1,458 individuals

Santa’s Helpers Shop for Our Foster Kids

December 13, 2012

trinity place Christmas webThe holiday spirit is in full force around here! Generous volunteers and party planning elves are making this Christmas extra merry throughout our children’s programs and senior communities.

A delegation of Santa’s helpers from the North Austin Pole—more commonly known as Round Rock TX—set out on a shopathon to bring toys and Christmas presents to the children served in our Foster In Texas program. The team of elves/residents from Trinity Place Apartments had a great time shopping for “the little ones.” Working from the wish lists of foster children in the Austin area, and loading up their baskets with toys and stocking stuffers, they said the delightful experience made them all feel like kids again themselves. Trinity Place is a retirement community of garden apartments for elderly and disabled adults who qualify for HUD 202/8 program housing. The residents purchased the gifts with money from their residents’ fund for such special occasions.

The foster families will decide whether to designate the gifts as “from Santa,” depending on their individual circumstances and the ages of their foster children’s. Santa’s Trinity Place helpers said experiencing the wonder of Christmas by sharing their blessings with others was the greatest gift of all.

Copperfield Village is “Keeping Victoria Beautiful”

November 26, 2012

If you’ve ever visited the LSS retirement community of Copperfield Village in Victoria, Texas, you know what a gem of a place it is. The city of Victoria recently recognized the special qualities of Copperfield too, and bestowed their “Keep Victoria Beautiful” award on the independent living neighborhood.

Keep Victoria Beautiful is a nonprofit group that promotes the Keep Texas Beautiful program of litter prevention and community improvement in the City and County of Victoria, Texas, and gives a monthly beautification award for businesses doing their part in the effort. An anonymous nominator submitted Copperfield Village for consideration, and the beautifully landscaped entryway to the community clinched the honor. People from the city council and master gardeners presented the plaque and a sign, which will stay out front for a month, to Property Manager Geraldine Nix.

Copperfield Village is comprised of 70 private patio homes (with 12 more under construction) tucked away in a peaceful wooded neighborhood. The single-story, one- and two-bedroom homes are built around the Community Center where some of the tastiest food in Victoria is served and residents dine restaurant-style. [Note: If there was a “Keep Victoria Well-Fed” award, Copperfield would win it hands-down.]

Property Manager Nix was delighted and honored by the award and vowed Copperfield Village will keep doing their part to keep Victoria beautiful!

To find out more about the maintenance-free, worry-free lifestyle at Copperfield Village, go to or call 361-575-3978 to arrange for a home tour.

Shopping, Sweet Stuff, and a Super-Raffle at Trinity Place

November 14, 2012

Trinity Place Apartments in Round Rock kicked off the holiday season with their annual bazaar last Saturday, and the tables were loaded, Santa’s elves [aka the residents] were out in force, and the joint was jumping.

I was there, and couldn’t resist the great BARGAINS: homemade baked goods, quilted placemats, needlepoint, knitted, and crocheted items … all at 1950 prices! Take a look at some of the residents’ wonderful wares:

The “Christmas in November” goofy inflatable turkey outside the community center became the center of family photo ops as the crowd came and went throughout the morning. Everyone had at least one bagful of purchases or Christmas presents-to-be, all benefiting the resident’s fund at Trinity Place. Funds raised at the bazaar are used to purchase items for their monthly birthdays, holiday activities, bingo prizes and community service projects. In the past they’ve made donations as a group to victims of wildfires and hurricanes.

The Trinity Place event ended with the grand finale – a mega-raffle drawing. At just $2/ticket, the jar was FULL and property manager Sherry Houston drew and called out the lucky winners, 64 in all. Raffle items included a Kindle Fire HD Tablet, Canon 16 MegaPixel digital camera, Samsung Galaxy Player, an Asus Netbook, original artwork, and about 60(!) gift baskets, many of them specially themed: for boy babies, girl babies, cat lovers, veterans, teddy bear collectors, the list goes on.

The last prize drawn was a 42” flat screen TV. I held my breath, crossed my fingers, but alas, didn’t win it. Ah well, there’s always next year!

Trinity Place Apartments is community for the elderly and handicapped who qualify for HUD 202/8 program and are able to live independently.

Don’t Miss the Trinity Place Bazaar This Saturday!

November 5, 2012

TPlace bazaar 2012x Christmas is coming early at the Trinity Place Apartments in Round Rock! Here is your chance to get a jump on holiday shopping: The Trinity Place Bazaar & Raffle, Saturday, November 10th, 9AM to NOON.

The talented residents of Trinity Place prepare all year for their Annual Bazaar, and right now they’re knee-deep baking for the event and putting the last touches on their handmade gifts.

The Bazaar will be held at theTrinity Place Apartment Community Center at 1203 Cushing Drive, Round Rock. Trinity Place is an independent living community for the elderly and handicapped who qualify for the HUD 202/8 program. Residents are able to live independently – they just need an affordable place to call home.

Among the items for sale: Homemade baked goods, handmade crafts, gifts, house plants, jewelry, and there’s a “Christmas Corner” for the kids.

RAFFLE prizes include: flat screen TV, Netbook, digital camera, iPad, iPod, original paintings, and lots more. The raffle drawing begins at NOON but you don’t have to be present to win.

All proceeds will benefit the residents with supplies for the Community Room, bingo prizes, etc.

Come out to Trinity Place to shop (‘til you drop), try your luck at the raffle, and catch some holiday spirit!

For more information call 512-244-0366 or email or

Click here for a map to Trinity Place Apartments

Mrs. Pechal’s Ode to VGF

September 14, 2012

Nina Pechal Nina Pechal, born in 1925 in Brenham, Texas, was admitted to The Village at Gleannloch Farms Rehabilitation Care on June 21, 2012, with a fractured arm. Now recovered from her injury, Mrs. Pechal was preparing to return to her home in the Memorial Northwest Subdivision in Spring, and was inspired to write a poem, “A Note of Thanks” to the staff who helped with her rehab.

A little background:Nina Pechal, who worked as a school teacher for over 30 years, began writing her “poetry from the heart” when she was in college at Texas State College for Women (now Texas Women’s University) in Denton, TX. She has been married to Julius Pechal for 57 years, and the couple has two daughters. They celebrated their 50-year anniversary with a three-week trip to Europe. They attend Kinsmen Lutheran Church.

The following poem was written in Mrs. Pechal’s meticulous cursive handwriting, a hallmark of teachers of her generation.

A Note of Thanks

The time happily is very near

When I shall say adieu —

On my way back home again

Yet, with a sense of sadness too.

For I shall miss my many friends

Among the dedicated caring staff —

And because of the excellent therapists

I again can walk and laugh.

I thank you Lord, for your guidance

To a remarkable Village with heart —

A place that aims to comfort one’s soul

With a warm welcome from the start.

And so dear friends at Gleannloch Village

Because of your kindness and love —

May you be showered with many blessings

Heaven sent by God and the Angels above.

With love,

Nina Pechal


Saying Good-Bye to Buena Vida

September 14, 2012

Today, September 14th, the doors to the first adult day care center in Texas are closing. Buena Vida Adult Day Center, located at 9640 Montwood Drive in El Paso, opened in 1975, and was not just the first of its kind in Texas, but among the first in the country.

Operated by Lutheran Social Services, the Center began as an innovative and affordable alternative to nursing home placement, benefiting both participants and their caregivers. Transportation, nutritious meals, nursing care, activities, field trips, social interaction, and peace of mind for families were hallmarks of the program that served about 125 low-income elderly and disabled El Pasoans each year. Family caregivers have relied on Buena Vida so they could go to their work or school, knowing their loved ones were nurtured, nourished, and their medical needs supervised.

The recent expansion of the Medicaid Star Plus program into the El Paso area resulted in the second significant Medicaid funding cut to impact the program in two years. These and other primary funding source cuts since 2008 led to the decision to close the Buena Vida Center.

“Although we’ve been able to overcome some of our funding obstacles through the generosity of our loyal supporters, we simply can no longer afford to continue the program without adversely impacting other LSS programs,” said Kurt Senske, chief executive officer of LSS. “The legacy of innovation and the consistently excellent quality of care we’ve provided over the years make us extremely proud of our work at Buena Vida.” LSS will continue to serve El Paso through its Foster In Texas foster care program and transitional program for unaccompanied refugee minors.

LSS is helping staff transition into other jobs and working with the Department of the Aging and Disability Services (DADS) to help current participants find other programs that meet their individual needs.

While saying goodbye to Buena Vida is bittersweet, Steven Lujan, director of Buena Vida, summed it up when he said, “We are so proud of our accomplishments at Buena Vida―our wonderful staff made that happen. We can all be proud to have been a part of Buena Vida’s history.”

Wii Bowlers are Top Dogs at VGF

May 10, 2012

image The third annual “Wii Top Dog Bowling Tournament” at The Village at Gleannloch Farms (VGF) drew a crowd of more than 50. “More than 50” would describe (in an understated way) the age of the winning team, as the senior residents took on the staff and whupped them for the third year running.

The residents’ Wii bowling coach and leader is 94-year-old Dan Morford, who brought the game along with his enthusiasm to VGF in 2006. [That’s Morford pictured above on the right, with rival Tab Werner, head of health services at VGF.] Blindness in one eye hasn’t stopped Morford, who touts the benefits of the game as a way to sharpen skills such as balance and concentration.

“Once I got a few people interested, it spread like wildfire,” said Morford. “It’s like any other game of skill, it adds to your enthusiasm.” Each team had 16 members but 25 residents purchased team shirts, with the slogan “Very Good Friends” (VGF, get it?) printed on the front.

Morford has experience with “actual bowling,” having taken up the game playing on a team in El Paso after he retired from the education field. He was a teacher, a counselor, an assistant principal and a principal. Now he can add “Wii bowling coach” to his resume.

VGF residents and staff were in agreement that the bowling tourney is not entirely about the score … it’s for the fun of it. Morford and some of his teammates practice the game whenever they have time to spare. No doubt about it, Wii bowling is right up their alley!

Sponsored and owned by LSS, The Village at Gleannloch Farms is a not-for-profit community offering 123 independent living apartments and cottages for active adults aged 62 and above. In addition, the community offers a continuum of care including 30 assisted living apartments, 18 memory support residences, and 35 private skilled nursing suites.

Cheers & Tears at ¡Celebre Buena Vida!

April 10, 2012

BVFlags More than 210 guests gathered at the historic Camino Real Hotel in El Paso to celebrate the Buena Vida Adult Day Center and El Paso’s Foster In Texas (FIT) children and their families. The March 29thevent was an art show, video fest, award show, live auction, and dinner among friends, all rolled into one.

This is the eighth year İCelebre la Buena Vida! has raised funds for the Buena Vida Center and the first year Foster In Texas in El Paso has been included in the event. Buena Vida serves more than 100 low-income elderly and disabled El Paso citizens annually, nearly half of whom have Alzheimer’s or other dementia-related illnesses. FIT parents rely on LSS and community support to help them provide clothing, school supplies, training, and specialized therapy for the area’s children who have been victims of traumatic emotional and physical abuse.

One highlight of İCelebre la Buena Vida! is the auction of wooden “houses” painted and decorated by local artists. This year the 80+ beautiful houses were declared more creative than ever, with some fashioned into mirrors and key holders.  Ellie Fenton of El Paso Inc. presented the newspaper’s “Home Sweet El Paso Award” to Enrique Woo for his house, “Coming  Back Home.”

Other highlights of the night:

BVkurtpodium· LSS CEO Dr. Kurt Senske and Buena Vida director Steven Lujan spoke about Buena Vida Adult Day Center, and the difference the Center makes in the lives of participants and their families. Lujan presented a video about the participants “Thanks for keeping us young at heart,” set to the Frank Sinatra song.

· Dr. Senske presented three $500 scholarships to the UTEP Nursing Program to Kristynia Robinson, assistant dean for Graduate Education.

· Jose Alamillo, area director for LSS-FIT in El Paso, spoke about the foster care program and introduced Sam and Martha Ornelas, a Foster In Texas/adoptive family.  BVornelas The Ornelases adopted River, who suffered from shaken baby syndrome (SBS)when he was just a newborn.  They showed a video of River’s life story that touched everyone so deeply the couple received a very LONG standing ovation.

· The live auction was run by Gary Warner, a former El Paso newscaster. Included in the auction were: Woo’s award-winning house; a U.S Flag and 9/11 Flag of Honor with the names of all the victims of 9/11; a John Hardy silver and gold cuff bracelet; two round-trip tickets on American Airlines; and “A Dinner to Remember” for six by El Paso celebrity chef Rulis of Rulis International Kitchen.

It was a wonderful night in El Paso, and we want to extend a big THANK YOU to the volunteers, sponsors, committee, and guests who raised $26,000 for Buena Vida and foster care.

Fresh Paint & Helping Hands at Buena Vida

March 23, 2012

BVpainters2Two wonderful volunteer groups came out to the Buena Vida Adult Day Center in El Paso and gave graciously of their time, energy, and talent by putting a fresh coat of paint on all the interior walls of the facility – not an easy task since painting time was limited to the weekends, when BV participants are at home or with their families. The interior walls have been transformed from light blue to a warm, cream mocha, and the residents and staff love it! 

The painting team from Chenrezig Tibetan Buddhist Cultural Center was spearheaded by Helga Carrion, who also happens to be Buena Vida’s registered dietician. The group of eight brought ladders, tape, brushes and good cheer to the task, and prepped the Center for the project.

The second shift was comprised of 10 volunteers with the University of Texas at El Paso’s  “Project Move” (Miner Opportunities for Volunteer Experiences), which was established as an annual one-day work day to provide students, staff, faculty, and alumni of UTEP with an opportunity to give back to the El Paso community through volunteerism.  March 3rdwas the designated date for Project Move, and we’re so grateful Buena Vida was chosen for this much-needed project.

We love our Buena Vida volunteers!

The daytime residents of Buena Vida are seniors and disabled adults who require supervised care and health monitoring during the day. Half of the 75 or so daily participants suffer from Alzheimer’s or other dementia-related illnesses and about 95 percent live at or below the poverty level. An affiliated ministry of Lutheran Social Services, Buena Vida has operated in El Paso since 1975, and is the city’s only nonprofit adult day care center.

Look for more Buena Vida news and photos following our upcoming fundraiser, İCelebre la Buena Vida! on March 29th.

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