“Helping others in need is not only a responsibility of life; it is what gives meaning to life.” – Mollie Martin
Developing a culture of servant leadership is what Life Leadership does best. Even at the corporate level, the Life Leadership staff are intentional about making a difference in people’s lives. The Life on Life Initiative has inspired people to truly step out of their comfort zones and selflessly serve the needs of others.
On Saturday, February 27th, the Life Leadership corporate team came together to bless the lives of a population of people that are often neglected due to their quiet presence in society. Anyone who has ever stepped foot into a senior living facility understands that there is a need for love and attention for the men and women who call it home. Outside of those walls, the world continues to turn at a rapid pace, but for those who are confined to a wheelchair, often under the close supervision of a nurse or caregiver, the world seems much the same, day-in and day-out.
That is why the staff at the Life Leadership World Headquarters wanted to organize a morning that would bring smiles to the faces of all those who have ever felt forgotten or who have experienced the sting of loneliness or neglect.
Sunrise Senior Living in Cary, North Carolina provides exceptional care to the elderly who are in need of assisted living, memory care or hospice services. Upon discussion with several caregivers and staff throughout the morning, it is evident that those who work at Sunrise truly care about the residents and love what they do. With three spacious floors of living space, it was not hard for Life Leadership volunteers to spread out and serve wherever and however they were needed.
Several Life Leadership employees and their families participated in this special morning. Whether it was the President of Life Leadership – Rob Hallstrand – leading exercise with noodles, the Marketing Manager – Michelle Turner – coloring and playing catch, or the CEO of Life Leadership – Chris Brady – having meaningful 1 on 1 conversations with those who were sitting alone, there certainly wasn’t a shortage of compassion and love being shared throughout the morning.
“I hope that the wonderful people we visited with, exercised with and sang with were encouraged and uplifted as much as I was. The experience challenged me to stop and remember not to get lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and that serving others, like we did Saturday morning, is deserving of my time.” – Rob Hallstrand (President and COO of Life Leadership)
“It was so great to be able to interact with the residents of Sunrise in Cary. I particularly enjoyed getting to know a few individuals personally and to hear their stories. It is amazing how much we can learn from those who have walked much of this life ahead of us, and I have been uplifted thinking about my new friends ever since the event took place. As so often happens in these situations, we go with the intent to serve and try to bless others, but come away thinking that perhaps they blessed us even more! I know that was certainly true of me!” – Chris Brady (CEO of Life Leadership)
One of the highlights of the event was when residents from all three floors gathered together to listen to and participate in a musical performance, led by Life Leadership customer service representatives – Barbara Wolosonowich and Renee Turner. Featuring popular songs from the 40’s and 50’s along with favorite hymnals that everyone would recognize, these talented ladies practiced and prepared to deliver a memorable experience for everyone in attendance!
This is what Steve Kendall had to say about the event:
“One thing that stuck out to me right away was the body language of most of the seniors there. Many were hunched over and heads were down. I had challenged myself before the event to try and view these individuals correctly…to be able to see them under the correct lens. Jesus looked out into the crowds in Matthew 9 and had compassion because the people were ‘weary and wandering, like sheep without a shepherd.’ In other words, He could see through the exterior and view them with the right heart. At the time we intersected these awesome lives on Saturday, you could sense a bit of weariness and wandering. Again, their body language, in my opinion, spoke volumes to that. If you wanted to make a personal connection, it was clear you’d almost have to be on your knees in order to do so. So that’s what we did…”
“…I had the privilege of watching the hearts of the people of our corporate office on Saturday: I watched our CEO give his knee, his ears and his unique conversation while brightening many spirits. I watched our COO play a simple game of catch and light up the room. I watched others color, make puzzles, sing songs and have a cup of coffee. I watched, as many seniors smiled, laughed, clapped and restore some posture in their positions. When the event was coming to a close, my 7-year-old son motioned for me to bend to his level. As I bent over, he quietly whispered to me, ‘dad, I’m really glad I came.’ In just a few simple words I believe he captured what we were all thinking. And as a dad, those were the words I was looking for. He got it. I explained to him afterwards that no video game or Saturday morning cartoon will ever replace the blessing you get from serving others. He agreed. Because of my profession, I often find myself staring through the glass of a Canon lens. I pray God will continue to help me and others see life through a different lens…the lens of eternity, and not just time. I believe THAT lens is the key to having a passion for serving others.” – Steve Kendall (Director of Video Marketing for Life Leadership)
Here are some more great comments shared by several of the Life Leadership staff:
“I especially enjoyed leading Bible study. For starters, it was an honour to be asked to do it and as we discussed scripture there was a reinforcement that God’s word is timeless. There was a considerable age range in participants, but each person was able to reflect on something in his or her life, past and present, that related to the passage of scripture.” – Jay Russell (Director of International Operations)
“We couldn’t have thought of a better way to have spent our Saturday morning. Kerri and I both had a great time. I think we got more from the experience than the people we visited!” – Ryan Renz (Media Manager for Life Leadership)
“The Life on Life event last Saturday was such a great way for me (as well as all of the Life Leadership staff) to serve in the Cary community. Having just moved here, I was excited at the chance to get involved, especially giving back to such an important cause. Seeing all of the residents enjoying themselves at the musical performance was the best part of the day for me!” – Jennifer Headley (Audio and Video tech for Life Leadership)
“I was a little apprehensive at first to go to the corporate Life on Life event. I kept thinking about how I spend 5 days a week (sometimes 10-14 days during convention week) with these people and I was not sure I wanted to give up my Saturday morning, my morning to sleep in, to ‘work’ even more. But, I did and I do not regret it! I really enjoyed watching Chris Brady and his daughter interact with everyone at the retirement community. It was encouraging to witness one of the leaders of Life Leadership ‘practicing what he preaches.’ I cannot wait to do it again!!” – Sarah Gendron (Event Coordinator for Life Leadership)
“I was lucky enough to know my grandparents and great grandparents on both sides of my family and I can’t imagine what it would have been like for them, had they been in a home like the one we visited. Being able to bring happiness to the residents through music and to see their reaction to the songs we picked was very moving and I’m very happy that I was part of it.” – Barbara Wolosonowich (Customer Support Manager for Life Leadership)
“This Life on Life event really brought me back to my roots. Right back to that time when I had a foster grandmother in elementary school. Every week I would go and visit her and the joy she brought to me was so incredible. I never realized that I was making such an impact on her! It was a blessing to be able to bring a few of my boys with me to experience this wonderful mission of fulfillment. As a family, we are not new to volunteering, so when the announcement came out, there was no hesitation from me as I signed up immediately. When my 13 year old son, Jay, said to me, “Mom, can we come back again to visit?”, I knew that this one small act of service will have an enormous impact on so many individuals, including my own children! We are here to make a difference, and we are having fun doing it. I’m ready for the next Life on Life corporate event!” – Michelle Turner (Book Publishing & Marketing Manager for Life Leadership)
“My experience at Sunrise Senior Living Center was both enlightening and humbling. As a young adult, I couldn’t help but feel grateful for the long life ahead of me and to not take my time for granted. It felt good to see the smiling faces of the residents especially during the musical performance; that by far was my favorite part. I look forward to participating in future Life on Life events!” – Taslim Kerr (Life Leadership Customer Service Administrative Assistant)
“The Life on Life Initiative weekend was amazing! I hadn’t been in an assisted living for almost 2 years, since my mom passed away. Being there and serving with my teammates, in particular bringing a song and smile back to the faces and hearts of the the lovely elderly, brought something back to me as well. In serving others, you can’t help but reap the overflow of joy that comes when they realize that you came just for them!” – Renee Turner (Life Leadership Customer Support Representative)
“I thought that it was really great for Life Leadership to get involved in Cary. The residents were so happy to see us, even their family members that were there visiting were asking who we were, and if we were coming back because they loved having us there! It was a pleasure to spend the morning with the residents, singing, coloring, and being a part of their Bible study!” – Rachel Hoover (Special Events Coordinator)
Here is a video highlighting the event:
“Volunteering is a valuable experience for both the residents and volunteers. Our residents are incredible people with wonderful stories to share. When volunteers come in, sometimes they have a preconceived idea about what Assisted Living is. You see the interactions, smiles, conversations, and almost instantly relationships are built. Volunteering with older adults provides a unique and dynamic experience that I am so happy Life Leadership was able to enjoy! Thank you for your enthusiasm, time put into planning the event, and passion for working with our residents! They truly enjoyed your group coming into the community and sharing your time and talents.” – Beth Neuhauser (Activities and Volunteer Coordinator at Sunrise Senior Living)
The Life Leadership corporate team is dedicated to setting people functionally free through the Life on Life Initiative. Not only does the company support literacy by donating funds to various literacy organizations from the purchase of Life Leadership subscriptions, but several staff members volunteer their time to tutor adults and teach them to read with the Triangle Literacy Council. Additionally, the corporate team plans to regularly participate in Life on Life selfless acts of service throughout the local Life Leadership headquarters community.