You could feel the energy in the National Home’s Community Center as residents, staff, trustees and guests gathered for the annual Community Celebration. Each year, we come together to celebrate the end of the school year and honor some special individuals for their accomplishments over the past year.
"We applaud each resident recognized here tonight," said National Home Executive Director Patrice Green. "They are here thanks to their hard work and dedication, support and encouragement from their families and the National Home staff and the commitment of our VFW and Auxiliary brothers and sisters from across the country whose support makes our work possible."
First up was our preschool graduation ceremony. Riann, Reese, Journey'Lyn and Jaz will be off to kindergarten in the fall, so the nursery staff took a moment to share what they’ve been doing to prepare for this milestone, including showing a slideshow prepared by their preschool teacher, Ivy.
With her creative spirit and ever-present smile, Riann plans to be a teacher when she grows up. Reese, a problem-solver with a can-do attitude and a fascination with trains, plans to explore the country on the "Always Happy Express" when he grows up. Journey'Lyn will no doubt succeed at her mission to turn everything in her path sparkling blue, thanks to her signature style and ability to build strong friendships. And finally, Jayce, or "Spiderman the Great" to his closest allies, will solve the problems of the universe one day, using determination and kindness that glows.
Next our attention turned to our school-age residents, who celebrated making huge strides in their reading level or being ahead of grade level in subjects like reading, math and writing. Four students maintained a 3.0 or better GPA throughout the school year. And one student got all A's on spelling tests throughout the year.
Two students received special recognition from the Education Department. Abby was honored for greatly improving her math scores throughout the year, and Savannah was recognized for receiving an "All Academic Award" for her coursework at Lansing Community College.
Education Specialist Sue Patterson recognized members of the National Home Library's Teen Advisory Board for their community involvement throughout the year. Teens Abby, Isabella and Cassidy held a bake sale and pop can drive to raise funds for Operation Shoebox and organized library activities, including Story Time and the Chocolate Olympics.
Two National Home residents graduated from high school this year. Zack and Jarett received special scholarships and gifts from Posts and Auxiliaries from across the country. Read more about Zack and Jarett.
Last but not least, we celebrated the parents who accomplished great things this year. Parent achievements included:
Becoming a Certified Medical Assistant
BA in Psychology
Critical Care Paramedic certification
Promotion to a new unit in the National Guard and job promotion with the Michigan Department of Corrections
"One of the best parts of our work, as case managers, is being able to celebrate with residents in their success," said National Home case manager Kirsten Grady. "Sometimes the pathway to success does not come easy. It often takes such strengths as tenacity and ambition to make it through the bumps in the road. It is an honor to get to work with so many individuals who embody these strengths."
To view more photos from this event, see our flickr album.