Eagle Scout Builds Outdoor Seating Area for TBPHC

Article submitted by Carter Soderburg

In the summer of 2020, Carter Soderberg spent several weeks at the T. Boone Pickens Hospice Center (TBPHC) visiting patient Mallory Maclay Creixell, mother of his best friend, Mateo. Mallory battled her last days of cancer at TBPHC. During her stay, they all took peaceful walks around the pond, feeding the ducks and reflecting on life, while immersed in the beauty of the area. Carter, a member of Boy Scout Troop 838 of Dallas, noticed that an outdoor seating area near the pond would be the perfect addition to the serene setting and decided to dedicate his Eagle Scout Service Project toward building one. 

Carter was able to raise funds needed for the seating area by working with Good Space, a for-profit venture to rejuvenate charming but distressed buildings, located in Oak Cliff. He spent a few weeks working with friends to re-landscape a traffic circle for the City of Dallas, and in return he earned the finances needed for his project. With the help of friends and scout leaders, Carter designed his project including two rustic, stained and sealed wooden benches to accent the area he knew so well. Carter worked with his friends and scout leaders to build and install the benches in June of 2022. Carter hopes his project provides a sense of comfort to families whose loved ones spend time at TBPHC.

Carter has been a lifelong scout, starting out as a Tiger Cub Scout in first grade, and now earning the rank of Eagle Scout as a senior at Cistercian Preparatory School. He completed his Eagle Scout Board of Review this past summer. Carter is hopeful that through his service project, he may be a small part of someone’s healing process.

The following young men helped Carter bring this project to life: Gus Coligado, Mateo Creixell, William Greene, Connor Lipscomb, Coleton Power, Ryan Smith, Lucas Trotman and Mark Westerman.

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PVN Residents Volunteer with Children’s Theater Group

Last week, a local children’s theater group, Accolade Theatre, took up residency in Presbyterian Village North’s (PVN) McGowan Auditorium. As part of a continued effort to support intergenerational programming between residents and the community, PVN partnered with the troupe for their final production of the year.

Over the weekend, the group presented six performances of the seasonal comedy “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” to a full audience at PVN. The lively theater cast included children from ages 4-19. Additionally, several residents assisted with the production including Irene Ansel, Carol Cress and Carol Ann Luebke, who volunteered to act as Santa’s elves welcoming guests to PVN and Dave Driscoll, who volunteered to be Jolly St. Nick. Resident Ben Edens took an active production role as a stagehand. “Mr. Ben has been so kind and generous with his time. He was running the lights and seemed to love talking with everyone involved,” said an Accolade Theatre parent. One theatre participant shared that the residents were really, really nice!

PVN is proud of its resident volunteers and looks forward to welcoming the group back to PVN for an exciting Murder Mystery performance at the end of January.  

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PVN Residents Gobble Hobble or Wobble to Turkey Day

To kick-off Thanksgiving week with healthy movement, the Life Enrichment and Wellness team at Presbyterian Village North (PVN) hosted the 3rd Annual Gobble Hobble Wobble on November 21. Despite the chilly temperatures, nearly 50 participants, including two enthusiastic turkeys, began their morning with some fitness fun!

Residents “competed or completed” by choosing to walk or run a “turkey trail” at their own pace. The community path could be completed one, three or nine times. PVN teammates played upbeat music and cheered on the competitors. Residents received goodie bags and bottled water as they completed their course.

Resident Paul Wilson took first place by jogging for 3.28 miles. Resident Kate Albright was the first to complete walking nine laps, followed by resident Sharon Bennett. Everyone felt great about getting in plenty of healthy steps!

For more information about activities and events at PVN, visit presvillagenorth.org  

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‘The Best Christmas Pageant Ever’ on Stage at PVN

A local children’s theater group, Accolade Theatre, is taking up residency in Presbyterian Village North’s (PVN) McGowan Auditorium this week. As part of a continued effort to support intergenerational programming between residents and the community, PVN has partnered with the Accolade troupe for their final production of 2022.

Beginning Friday, November 18, the young thespians will take the stage to present their rendition of ‘The Best Christmas Pageant Ever’. This seasonal comedy is adapted from the classic, best-selling book and has become a holiday favorite for many across the United States. The plot depicts a couple struggling to put on a reverent church Christmas pageant and it details the trials and mayhem that ensue when they are faced with casting the Herdman kids – the most inventively irreverent and awful children in history. Hilarity and hijinks collide when the Herdman children tackle the Christmas story head on.

While the show features children from ages 6-18, PVN residents were also invited to participate in the fun. Several residents have volunteered to assist the production by playing Santa and serving as Santa’s Elves (hosts) to welcome guests and provide direction as they arrive for each performance.

A select number of $12 tickets are still available for a few performances. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

Performances:

  • November 18, 2022 – 7:00 p.m.
  • November 19, 2022 – 1:00 p.m.
  • November 19, 2022 – 4:00 p.m.
  • November 19, 2022 – 7:00 p.m.
  • November 20, 2022 – 2:00 p.m.
  • November 20, 2022 – 7:00 p.m.
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First Impressions Lunch and Learn

Each month, Forefront Living teammates gather during their lunch break to participate in educational training sessions and informational presentations called “Lunch and Learns.”

This month, Scott Polzin, Chief Operating Officer, and Ke’o Velasquez, Corporate Director of Operations, jointly presented on the lasting influence of first impressions. They shared with their peers that the perception of teammates, as well as an organization’s overall impression, are equally crucial factors in any customer-service business. Utilizing their professional experiences in the senior living industry, Scott and Ke’o discussed how creating a positive organizational first impression targets the five senses, specifically relating to a facility’s exterior and interior appearance and ambience. Examples of positive community impressions stemmed from attractive and clear signage, well-maintained landscaping and calming water features, interior cleanliness and pleasant aromas. In relation to teammate first impressions, giving a welcoming smile, presenting a professional attire, having a firm handshake, a polite tone and the ability to maintain eye contact are assured approaches to make a lasting, positive impact on those we serve.


Ke’o Velasquez was recently interviewed by Experience Care, who wrote the following story about him joining Forefront Living and the experience he brings:

A Dining Experience Like No Other

Written by: Elijah Oling Wanga and Cameron Zargar

For over fifty years, Forefront Living has embraced innovation, evolution, and raising the bar in long-term care, serving seniors in the Dallas area through its senior living and hospice services. In keeping with that identity, Forefront Living took a major step toward transforming the diet of seniors by hiring a world-class chef, Keo Velasquez, to be its director of corporate operations. 

Leadership knew that Velasquez, who previously prepared gourmet dishes for hotels, restaurants, and a catering business, would be able to provide seniors a dining experience like no other. Velasquez famously appeared on Experience Care’s LTC Heroes to discuss his innovative approach to improving the dining experience in long-term care settings:

The Director of Corporate Operations at Forefront Living continues to push the boundaries of long-term care dining knowing that he has the support of leadership and a team that is similarly determined to change the culinary experience in the industry. “I push my managers to think more and to think outside the box,” he said. “This isn’t about me being the boss. It’s about what we’re going to get as a team. It’s about creating a list of to-do items and figuring out what needs to get done.”

When designing menus, Velasquez considers the experiences of both residents and their family members. That is because he knows very well that the best food is that which is shared with loved ones. By using fresher ingredients, subtle flavors, and recipes that intrigue and tantalize the palettes of its residents, Forefront Living provides a culinary experience like no other long-term care community. 

And Velasquez and his team have no plans of slowing down any time soon. “We’re going to keep trying things until we’re told that that doesn’t work,” he said. “We want to appeal to multiple generations to ensure that we create a great culture here at Forefront Living.”

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OAW Celebrates Gratitude

“I am thankful for what I am and what I have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.”
– Henry David Thoreau

On November 16, a wonderful group of VIPs from The Outlook at Windhaven (OAW) gathered for a Gratitude Luncheon, held at Stonebriar Country Club, to celebrate the gift of gratitude before the Thanksgiving holiday. Rev. Jarod Cooper shared special remarks to a room of future OAW residents speaking about the science of gratitude. He explained that implementing an attitude of gratitude positively impacts physical health, psychological health and improves sleep quality.

Rev. Cooper reminded attendees that the biggest blessing we have is each other and asked audience members to share one thing they are thankful for. Many luncheon attendees eagerly shared their blessings with the group which included: good health, spouses, their faith, sons and daughters, peace in spirit and the ability to care for others. VIP Ann Noble shared that she was thankful to be alive after a life-changing health experience causing her heart to stop beating. Another significant moment of thanks was from future resident, Sylvia Mahoney, who shared that her daughter discovered OAW and suggested it would be a great place for her to live. Sylvia said, “I am thankful to be here. The Outlook is filled with so much love. And when I find love, I follow it!”            

We are saving a seat at our next event just for you!
Click here to discover what makes The Outlook at Windhaven such a remarkable community.

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Salute to our Veterans

Presbyterian Village North (PVN), home to more than 150 veterans, hosted its annual Veterans Day Celebration on Friday, November 11, in the McGowan Auditorium, where residents and teammates gathered to honor military veterans of the US Armed Forces. The room was filled with patriotic spirit as the program began with the Presentation of Colors by local Boy Scouts Mason Kimbell and brothers Grant and Jake Grayson. Dustin Allen, PVN Executive Director, provided opening remarks where he recognized several of his own veteran family members, followed by a prayer for peace and a blessing over all who served offered by PVN Chaplain, Rev. Denise Odom. PVN resident and WWII veteran, John “Lucky” Luckadoo, led the Pledge of Allegiance and introduced special guest speaker, Admiral Pat Walsh who gave poignant marks themed “Words of Appreciation”. His presentation included a moving video depicting the devastation in Japan caused by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake in March of 2011 and the wave of armed service members who helped them rebuild through Operation Tomodachi.

Admiral Walsh is a retired United States Navy four-star admiral who last served as the 59th Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet , throughout his career he also served as Vice Chief of Naval Operations, Commander of the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and Commander of the U.S. 5th Fleet. Admiral Walsh retired from the Navy with more than 34 years of service. His wife, Andy, serves on the Board of Directors for the Forefront Living Foundation.

At the conclusion of the presentation, each branch of the armed forces was recognized as their anthem played. To end the celebration, Director of Sales and Marketing, Heather Porch sang God Bless America. The group then gathered in the great room and alcove to enjoy a red, white and blue mimosa bar and snacks as they socialized.

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PVN Teammates Celebrate at Town Hall Meeting

Presbyterian Village North (PVN) teammates gathered in the McGowan Auditorium on November 3 for the first Town Hall meeting since the pandemic began. During the meeting, teammates were recognized for their years of service, with Leonard Johnson, Utility Steward, winning the prize for the longest tenure – an impressive 40 years at PVN! Throughout his career, Leonard has become known for his selfless service, positive attitude and humble mentorship.

In addition to celebrating tenure, two stellar teammates and one incredible department were acknowledged for receiving a “Moment Maker” award. Residents, families and teammates are encouraged to complete a “Moment Maker” form to describe a teammate’s effort and the core value they have shown through their actions. Once the form is completed, it is submitted to PVN leadership, who make special mention of their success during group meetings, such as the Town Hall.

Each team member who attended the Town Hall meeting received a raffle ticket to enter a drawing for various prizes including dart boards, coffee makers, a George Foreman grill and more. Resident representatives selected and announced the lucky, winning numbers.

Interspersed through heartfelt words of thanks from members of leadership, teammates flexed their competitive muscles with rousing games of flip cup, cup stacking and corn hole. While there were distinct winners of each event, the entire teammate population came out on top because they were able to enjoy each other’s company in a fun environment – a morale boost for all! To commemorate the event, every teammate in attendance received a pair of sunglasses representing the bright future of PVN.

Teammate Town Hall meetings will take place each quarter and will include team building activities, leadership training, company-wide updates, recognition, prizes and more fun!

To join the PVN family, click here to be notified of open positions.

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PVN Woodworkers Give Back

In addition to being a wonderful place to live, Presbyterian Village North (PVN) also houses a top-secret branch of Santa’s workshop with the help of PVN’s resident Woodworking Group. The senior living community’s onsite wood shop houses state of the art equipment where a dedicated group of men and women work year-round constructing and assembling toys to donate to two non-profit organizations.

This year, the resident-led group made an impressive donation of 986 wooden toys benefitting pediatric patients at PediPlace and children from underprivileged households through Hobby Crafters Foundation. PediPlace provides healthcare for children (from birth through age 18) who are uninsured or who receive Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program benefits. Hobby Crafters strives to provide wooden toys to as many underprivileged children as possible during the holiday season.

This year’s remarkable inventory of handcrafted and hand painted toys included as assortment of vehicles such as planes, race cars, school buses, trucks, tractors and boats as well as animal pull toys. Each item was lovingly crafted with the hope of spreading happiness to some very deserving children. Shari Markey, PediPlace CEO, made a special trip to the PVN campus to thank the group as she collected their handmade creations.

The PVN Woodworking Group is hosting an Open House for teammates, residents and their families to tour their shop at 9 a.m. on Saturday, November 5. Those who attend will enjoy a rare behind the scenes glimpse of this Santa’s workshop annex in advance of the holiday season.

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