Your Giving Has Impact in 2021

Lifeworks provides essential services. We’ve been serving people with disabilities in Minnesota since 1965, honoring choice and building disability visibility in our community. In 2021, Lifeworks broadened our offerings to include Resource Navigation and Housing Consultation as part of our commitment to provide services that enhance everyday lives while breaking down barriers to inclusion. Did […]

My Educational Journey with Low Vision

An article by guest writer, Peter Froehlich. For many people, going to college is a smooth experience without many obstacles. For me, it was a different experience. I am legally blind with some vision. During my college career, I advocated for myself and received accommodations. My post-secondary pursuits included attending two colleges: Minneapolis Community and […]

REV UP Minnesota: National Disability Voter Registration Week

Happy National Disability Voter Registration Week! The REV UP Campaign was launched by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) as a nonpartisan initiative and stands for “Register, Educate, Vote, Use your Power.” By coordinating with national, state, and local organizations, REV UP works to ensure that the disability community is registered and ready […]

Accessible Allies

An article by guest writer, Frank Eller. Hi! My name is Frank Eller. I have an Associate of the Arts degree from Turtle Mountain Community College. I am interested in the craft of writing because I feel that writing is a form of art, and it is my belief that one day, my writing will […]

More than $370,000 Raised at the 2021 Lifeworks Virtual Annual Celebration!

Presented by Allianz Life Insurance of North America, Atomic Data, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, and Horton, the 2021 Lifeworks Virtual Annual Celebration was different from all other past events because it was entirely online. This new format allowed us to expand our audience geographically – as supporters across the country could tune […]

Virtual Music Therapy: Building Transferable Skills

Beth comes from a musical family. Her mom and dad both know how to play the piano. Her dad also used to play the guitar. Like her parents, she enjoys practicing instruments and learning new songs. For the past three years, Beth’s worked with Lifeworks Music Therapist, Sean Blum. They meet for thirty minutes each […]

We’re in a Good Spot – The Saari/Kashef Family’s Self-Directed Support

The Saari/Kashefs are a close-knit family. They love to play games, put together puzzles, and watch movies. Two of their children, Lauren and Ryan, access Lifeworks Fiscal Services (FMS) for processing Consumer Directed Community Supports (CDCS) – authorized funding that covers staffing, goods, and services for families who want to manage their own care. Lauren […]

A Recipe for Success: Remote Cooking Sessions

Prior to COVID-19, Casey participated in Lifeworks Day Services. She enjoyed band practice, art classes, and archery. Along with an active social life, Casey has worked at McDonald’s for the past two and a half years, preparing salads, making parfaits, and ensuring that the food and serving items are ready to go. For her, work […]

Pins, Spikes, and Patches: Loki’s Custom Jackets

Loki started customizing jackets when they were 14 years old. They were inspired after coming across a fellow classmate wearing crust pants, a punk-inspired, clothing style. Loki explains, “To make crust pants, you cut up jean fabric, sew it on a pair of pants, and kick the pants in the mud; then, after letting them […]

Holiday Giving: 3 Ways to Support Lifeworks

Break down barriers. You can make an impact. Did you know that nearly 1/3 of all annual giving occurs in December? As a supporter of Lifeworks, a nonprofit serving people with disabilities for 55 years, we are reaching out in the hopes that you will consider our essential services in your year-end giving. 2020 has been […]

2020 National Direct Support Professional Week

Lifeworks celebrates National Direct Support Professional Week (September 13-19)! Every year since 2008, the United States has proclaimed a week in September to raise awareness and celebrate the incredible work of Direct Support Professionals. Lifeworks joins the nation in recognizing support professionals, highlighting their contributions and efforts to foster self-determined support and inclusion for people […]

Lifeworks 2020 Legislative Highlights

PCA Hours & Rate Increases Personal Care Assistants (PCAs) provide essential services that help ensure the rights of Minnesotans with disabilities and older adults. While their work is critical, PCAs are among the lowest-paid employees in Minnesota. Prior to COVID-19, Minnesota faced a shortage of PCAs, leaving many people with disabilities without regular access to […]

Music Therapy: Innovative Techniques for Achieving Person-Centered Results

An interview Lifeworks’ Neurologic Music Therapist, Laura Steines. What is Music Therapy? Music Therapy is proven and cutting-edge method for helping people further develop their sensory, social, emotional, cognitive abilities, and motor skills. Why does Lifeworks provide Music Therapy? As part of Lifeworks holistic approach, Music Therapy is a valuable tool to support the people […]

The Barriers that Remain Unbroken: A Celebration and a Revival of the American with Disabilities Act

What is the Americans with Disabilities Act? July 26, 2020 marks the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This historic civil rights law “prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, state and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications” (U.S. Department of Justice). The ADA was the world’s […]

REV UP Minnesota: National Disability Voter Registration Week

Happy National Disability Voter Registration Week! The REV UP Campaign, launched by the American Association of People with Disabilities, is a nonpartisan initiative that coordinates with national, state, and local organizations to increase the political power of the disability community while also engaging candidates and the media on disability issues. National Disability Voter Registration Week […]

Thriving in Life: Daisy’s Self-Directed Support

The Lee family has four children and their second oldest, Daisy, uses Lifeworks Fiscal Management Services (FMS) for processing Consumer Directed Community Supports (CDCS) – authorized funding that covers staffing, goods, and services for people who want to manage their own support. Daisy’s investment in her passions has led her to build strong relationships and […]

Community Skill Building: Reinventing What’s Possible

An interview with Lifeworks Regional Manager, Raquel Sidie-Wagner. What is Lifeworks Community Skill Building?  Community Skill Building (CSB) is an inclusive approach to advancing choice and building independence. The heart of CSB is providing opportunities for people to explore their interests and develop skills within their community – that can then be transferred to the […]

Figuring Out the Next Step: Cheyenne’s Career Journey

From catching goldfish in the pond to crocheting booties for the local women’s shelter and reading L.A. Meyer’s novels, Cheyenne has always been one to dive into her passions and try new things. Vocational Rehabilitation Services, a government program designed to help people with disabilities find meaningful careers, referred Cheyenne to Lifeworks Employment Services where […]

Understanding Ableism in Today’s World

Lifeworks knows that if we want tomorrow to be different, we have to change today. We are always learning so we can continue to advance conversations about inclusion. As an industry leader, Lifeworks invests in exploring concepts and practices. We break down barriers and encourage a sense of belonging. One of the areas that we […]

Launch Day: Hy-Vee Lakeville “My Heart” Bag Program!

Today is launch day for the Hy-Vee Bag Program that supports local nonprofits! We are so excited to share that Lifeworks has been selected to be a part of the Hy-Vee “My Heart” Bag Program that supports local nonprofits, which is designed to make it easy for customers to contribute to their community. On your […]

The Otto Bremer Trust Awards Grant to Lifeworks

The Otto Bremer Trust*  awarded Lifeworks with a $60,000 grant. This funding will be used to provide skill building and career development opportunities for people with disabilities in the Twin Cities and Mankato areas. “Lifeworks has done an excellent job developing a continuum of support for people with disabilities to help them find and succeed […]

Self-Directed Services Provide Choice and Consistency

The Pathre family has been with Lifeworks Fiscal Management Services since 2009. Rijuta and Sadanand chose to self-direct services through Personal Support and Respite for their daughter, Minkakshi – or Minu for short. Prior to managing their own support staff, the Pathres tried working with traditional service providers, but realized it was not a good […]

Building a Career with Lifeworks: Lookman’s Success Story

Career Journey: How It Happened Prior to Lifeworks, Lookman Lasisi worked at a group home for people with disabilities. Some of the people he supported were also served by Lifeworks. This gave him the opportunity to visit and become familiar with the organization. During one of those times, he met Lifeworks former President and Chief […]

High Marks for Lifeworks Day, Employment, and Financial Management Services

Lifeworks strives to provide high-quality services that enhance the lives of the people we serve. We do this by continuously seeking ways that we can improve. This is to ensure that our offerings reflect the highest standard of service. We thank our dedicated and skilled staff for helping us be leaders of our industry.   […]

Ann’s New Ride to Work

Ann Haumschild, Clerical Assistant, has worked at Lifeworks for the past 13 years. She used to ride a shared bus service every day to and from work. The ride into the office was perfect, but even though she lived only fifteen minutes from work, the time it took to return home varied; this made it […]

Disability Inclusion: Diversifying Talent and Enhancing Workplace Culture

Did you know that one in four people in the United States has a disability (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)? The changing demographics of the workforce coupled with low rates of unemployment puts organizations in a place where they need to be innovative when it comes to recruiting, hiring, and retaining employees. Lifeworks sat […]

Lifeworks Mankato: Building Skills in the Community

From learning about what local businesses do to bringing food and a friendly smile to aging adults as a Meals on Wheels volunteer, the people served by Lifeworks Mankato are exploring interests, building skills, and giving back to their community. Community Skill Building at Lifeworks Mankato is guided by the expertise of Jody Decker and […]

From Piece Rate to Earning a Livable Wage

Since 1938, section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act has allowed employers to pay people with disabilities wages below the federal minimum wage (U.S. Department of Labor). Kirk Langsjoen used to be paid by how many labels he was able to put on bags in a given time period. He worked on this task […]

A Little Help Goes a Long Way

Karen met Moses on her second trip to Africa in 2004. She was helping local communities in Nigeria and visited an orphanage where she was introduced to him – and felt an immediate connection: “I met a lot of kids, but there was just something about this kid.” Moses needed significant medical care and after […]

Lifeworks Develops Work|Life™ Exhibit for National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Held every October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month celebrates the contributions of workers with disabilities and brings attention to the value of a diverse workforce.   Explore the Work|Life™ Narrative For National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2019, Lifeworks will unveil: Work|Life™, a traveling exhibit that raises awareness and challenges perceptions about employment experiences for people […]

2019 Legislative Session: Highlights

2019 Legislative Session: Highlights Thank you to all of the advocates who voiced their thoughts and brought much-needed attention to the legislative priorities that impact individuals with disabilities and caregivers. Together, we made gains that helped offset significant cuts. Health Care Provider Tax: Extended For the past 27 years, the Health Care Provider Tax has been […]

Building a Career with Lifeworks – Julie’s Success Story

Lifeworks Career Success Story – Learn more about how you can build your experience and make a meaningful impact in your community.

Lifeworks Leading the Way: Sharing Best Practices

Lifeworks recently presented at two national conferences offering insight into employment best practices, networking with industry leaders, and hearing new ideas. Our position as an industry leader, makes it essential for us to not only share what we have learned with other stakeholders, but also to focus on how we continue and advance conversations about […]

Lifeworks Awarded Outstanding Case Study Certificate by the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council

Founded in 2013, the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (SPLC) convenes buyers, suppliers, and public interest advocates from around the country to develop programs that simplify and standardize sustainable purchasing efforts. In May of 2018, Lifeworks supported the SPLC conference in Minneapolis using an inclusive hiring model to help staff the conference. With the sponsorship of […]

Working Together to Build an Inclusive Community: Lifeworks and Upstream Arts

The long-term relationships that Lifeworks has built over the years with organizations and businesses has helped us better support the people we serve and our communities. Our partnership with Upstream Arts, which began in 2006 (the year their organization was founded) provides an example of the impact that mission-driven people can have when they work […]

Long-Time Fiscal Support Family Provides Insight into Services

Recently, Lifeworks sat down with our long-time Personal Support and Respite participant: the Mercier family. Cheryl is a strong advocate for her children, Josh and Sara, who are both in their late twenties and have received Fiscal Support Services from Lifeworks for the past fifteen years. Josh loves listening to music and trying different types […]

Giving Back and Building Connections: Lifeworks Brooklyn Park Volunteer Therapy Dog Team

For the past two years, Lifeworks Brooklyn Park has been a regular stop for volunteer, Constance Bleecker, and her therapy dog, Zeus. When Constance retired, she wanted to explore dog therapy as way for her to give back to the community, build connections, and remain active. At nine months old, her Miniature Australian Shepard, Zeus, […]

Celebrating the Next Step: Alyssa Becomes an Employee at Renewal by Andersen

Alyssa Peterson joined the Renewal by Andersen team as a Lifeworks Associate more than seven years ago. Over time, she has developed skills, refined processes, and built strong friendships with her coworkers. As an Administrative Assistant in the Human Resources Department, Alyssa ensures that the office runs smoothly. She has been instrumental in onboarding new […]

$575,000 Raised at 2019 Lifeworks Annual Celebration!

The Lifeworks Annual Celebration is our largest fundraiser – and the total raised for this year’s successful event surpassed all prior celebrations. With nearly 1,000 guests in attendance at The Depot in Minneapolis, Lifeworks asked for help with supporting our innovative, high-quality, community-centered programs. Services such as: Art Programs Bands and Choirs Community Skill Building […]

Financial Management Service Transition: Fiscal Support Team Offers Expert-Led Sessions for DHS Changes

The Situation: This past October, the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) announced its intent to move from Fiscal Support Entity (FSE) services to Financial Management Services (FMS) affecting individuals who use Consumer Directed Community Supports (CDCS) and the Consumer Support Grant (CSG). DHS set a deadline of March 31, 2019 for all FMS providers […]

Lifeworks Day at the Capitol

On Tuesday, March 5, 2019, Lifeworks hosted Day at the Capitol with the Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, a non-profit coalition of organizations focused on improving the lives of those that we serve. Self-advocates, parents, family members, and allies gathered in St. Paul to bring attention to legislative priorities that impact individuals with disabilities […]

Lifeworks Welcomes New Board Members

Lifeworks is excited to announce that Ajani (AJ) Lewis-McGhee and Patricia (Patsy) Riley have been appointed to our Board of Directors. AJ serves as a member of the Eagle’s Cabinet at Allianz Life Insurance of North America, an employee-forward advisory council to the company’s leadership where he works as a Corporate Services Associate. As a […]

Tarvae Banks Finds Discovery at Lifeworks

Written by Iqra Rabbani, career placement counselor After graduating school, Tarvae Banks came to Lifeworks hoping to find a pathway to employment that could serve as the launching point of his career. Being a young career seeker is not easy and Tarvae had many challenges to face, such as deciding on a field that he […]

Lexie the Texter

Written by Service Facilitator Cary Dorn, with additions from Service Facilitator Shelia Grittner. I have the opportunity to work with Lexie Barker when my coworker, Lexie’s facilitator, Sheila Grittner, is on vacation or needs a paper work day. On the morning of April 25, 2018, I received a phone call from Lexie calling from her […]

Finding Work and Independence: James Londgren

Written by Lifeworks Service Facilitator, Lindsey Schmitt In July of 2018, the Community Skill Building group of Mankato welcomed James Londgren. James recently graduated from high school and was eager to gain work skills. James is willing to help others and works diligently at volunteer opportunities. Struggles arose for James when following specific directions, maintaining […]

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

A message from Jeff Brown, Lifeworks President and CEO Each October, Lifeworks joins organizations across the country in recognition of National Disability Employment Awareness Month. This is our opportunity to recognize the contributions of workers with disabilities and highlight the many job seekers ready to work. I’m so proud that Lifeworks has always been on […]

Solving the Puzzle: Program Benefits Travelers, Employees

“Each new document is like a puzzle to be solved,” says Alex Koon, legal operations specialist with Travelers in St. Paul, Minn. “I’m very analytical and observant – it’s very easy for me to learn and memorize rules.” Centralizing this function helps Travelers better support its Claim Legal Staff Counsel organization with greater efficiency, accuracy […]

House of Representatives staff visit Uponor and see the impact of Lifeworks service offerings.

Guest blog post writer – Sara Goodno, Policy and Legislative Intern at Lifeworks On July 18, Lifeworks Staff hosted a tour for Minnesota House of Representatives staff members Holly Iverson, Mark Laliberte, Jeremiah Wingstedt, and Shiloh Larson, who wanted to learn more about how people with disabilities use services and supports as they prepare for […]

Lifeworks Associates Improve Productivity, Positivity at Midwest Rubber

Since Lifeworks began its partnership with Midwest Rubber Service & Supply Company in May 2017, productivity and employee morale have been on an upswing. A family-owned business based in Plymouth, Midwest Rubber has facilities spanning North America, Asia, and Europe where it manufactures, fabricates, and distributes high-quality rubber products. Enter the Midwest Rubber Plymouth facility, […]

Guest Blog: In Memory of George Moudry (1928-2018)

By Judy Lysne | Sadly Lifeworks former CEO George Moudry died on June 8, 2018 at the age of 90. His extraordinary ability to connect with people means that he is fondly remembered by many. As we shared the news of his death many of the staff that worked with him remembered a particular kindness […]

Lifeworks Hastings: Connected to the Community – Part 1

Lifeworks Hastings: Connected to the Community is a five-part series highlighting our expanding community services in the Hastings area. Part 1 of 5 – Hastings City Hall When Lifeworks Hastings was searching for a community hub for its pilot program for job seekers with disabilities, City Hall was among the first to offer its support […]

$475,000 Raised at 2018 Annual Celebration!

The Lifeworks Annual Celebration, our yearly event honoring inclusiveness, was held on Thursday, April 26 at The Depot in Minneapolis. With nearly 900 guests in attendance, we honored four individuals and one business through the Lifeworks Annual Awards: Corey Baker – Personal Achievement Ajani Lewis-McGhee – Personal Achievement Lori Noland – Staff Excellence Josi Wert – Volunteer […]

2018 Lifeworks Annual Award Honorees

The Lifeworks Annual Awards celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of people with disabilities and the individuals and businesses who support them. Each year, an independent selection committee is assembled to review nominations and select winners in the following categories: Advocate/Volunteer of the Year Employer of the Year Personal Achievement Staff Excellence Lifeworks is pleased to […]

AmeriPride Job a Tremendous Fit for Lifeworks Associate Brian Kley

Article three of three in our National Disability Employment Awareness Month series A family-owned industrial laundry facility, AmeriPride has been operating for more than 125 years selling and renting just about everything businesses need to keep their facility and their employees clean. For the past eight months, Lifeworks Associate Brian Kley has served as a […]

New Program for Job Seekers Revolutionizing How People With Disabilities Find Work

Article two of three in our National Disability Employment Awareness Month series For many people, searching for a job is a daunting task. Finding the perfect combination of skills, interests, and wages isn’t easy for anyone, but it often presents additional challenges for people with disabilities. A new small group career development program introduced by […]

Lifeworks Associate Travis Sprenger: Dollar Tree Employee Extraordinaire

Article one of three in our National Disability Employment Awareness Month series Travis Sprenger is no stranger to hard work. He’s worked in the food industry for Old Country Buffet, Buffalo Wild Wings, Hardee’s, and Culver’s. He’s worked in sales, assembly, housekeeping, cleaning, and janitorial. Today, Sprenger is a valued employee at Dollar Tree in […]

Lifeworks Teams Up With Adler Graduate School for Spring Art Show

What started at the beginning of 2017 as a partnership between students at Adler Graduate School and Lifeworks artists culminated in a lively spring art show on May 26. After traveling to Adler’s Richfield campus bi-weekly from January to May to learn about art techniques from students and participate in art therapy, Lifeworks artists proudly […]

Building on Success of Women’s Group, Men’s Group a Positive Influence at Lifeworks Apple Valley

As festive music from the Dropkick Murphys fills the room, Lifeworks men’s group leader Chris Olson enthusiastically greets everyone with a smile and a handshake, displaying the kind of rapport that can only be developed over time. “Self-esteem is really just how you feel about yourself,” Olson said after kicking off a session. By delving […]

In Response to Olmstead, Employment-First Mandate, Lifeworks Answers with Community Pilot Program

Geldernick, Securian Play Pivotal Role in Program’s Success In June 1999, a United States Supreme Court ruling that would become known as “Olmstead” was handed down, requiring states to eliminate unnecessary segregation of people with disabilities and ensure they are receiving services in the most integrated setting possible. But it wasn’t until a decade later, […]

Announcing the Winners of the Lifeworks Annual Awards!

Since 1986, the Lifeworks Annual Awards have celebrated the remarkable stories of people with disabilities and the individuals and businesses who support them. Each fall, we accept award nominations in four categories: Advocate/Volunteer of the Year, Employer of the Year, Personal Achievement, and Staff Excellence. Once the nomination period has ended, an independent selection committee is tasked with reviewing nominations and selecting those who will […]

A Successful Transition: How Glindys Donis-Bonilla Joined the Team at Celts Pub

Like many students with disabilities, Glindys Donis-Bonilla attended a transition program after graduating from high school. But unlike many before her, she began working with Lifeworks before she had graduated – a process that jumpstarted her search for a job. From March to August 2016, Donis-Bonilla met periodically with Lifeworks Career Placement Counselor Elaine Hartl […]

Josh Meagher: Electrical Apprentice at Javens Electric

Article 3 of 4 in the Lifeworks National Disability Employment Awareness Month Series Although Josh Meagher is one of more than 800 individuals with disabilities supported by Lifeworks at community job sites, his career is far from ordinary. As an electrical apprentice for Javens Electric of Mankato, Meagher is part of a team of 30 […]

Celebrating Success at Xcel Energy

Article 2 of 4 in the Lifeworks National Disability Employment Awareness Month Series As co-workers both current and past gather around to enjoy cake and pizza amidst a sea of birthday gifts, it’s easy to see that Lifeworks Associate Carolyn Waataja has made quite an impression in her 19 years at Xcel Energy. “Everybody loves […]

Lifeworks Associate Mike Anderson Celebrates 20 Years at Rapid Packaging

Article 1 of 4 in the Lifeworks National Disability Employment Awareness Month Series Not many people can say they’ve worked for a company for more than 20 years; Lifeworks Associate Mike Anderson can. Since 1996, Anderson has been a key contributor for Champlin-based Rapid Packaging, a national company that sells packaging equipment, materials, and supplies. […]

Newly Merged Hanratty, USI Host Third Annual Charity Golf Tournament Benefiting Lifeworks

Although Hanratty & Associates was recently purchased by New York-based USI Insurance Services, its dedication to supporting the local community has not wavered under the new name of USI Minnesota.   On Monday, August 22, the newly merged company hosted a charity golf tournament benefiting Lifeworks – the third straight year that they’ve brought supporters […]

Introducing Lisa Zaspel, Vice President of Services

We are excited to introduce Lisa Zaspel as the newest member of the Lifeworks executive team! With a robust background in managing fiscal support programs, Zaspel stepped into the role of vice president of services on March 21. In this newly created position, Zaspel has primary responsibility for overseeing all of the Lifeworks fiscal support […]

Lifeworks Annual Celebration Raises $425,000!

Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and donors, the Lifeworks Annual Celebration – our yearly event honoring individuals with disabilities and the people and businesses that support them – raised $425,000 in 2016! The total includes more than $205,000 in sponsorships, led by Presenting Sponsors Atomic Data and Hanratty & Associates. “We are so grateful […]

Lifeworks Associates Bring Commitment, Far-Reaching Benefits to Cargill

Since 1995, Cargill has partnered with Lifeworks to employ people with disabilities in positions that are essential to their day-to-day operations. Currently, two Lifeworks associates serve as valued members of the Cargill team: Paul Brick and Sasha Porter. Brick’s 13-year career at Cargill began first as a contractor before being hired directly by the company. “I […]

New Vehicles Help Eliminate Transportation Barrier

At the Lifeworks Golden Anniversary Celebration in 2015, we asked attendees to help fund transportation for the people with disabilities that we serve. Not only is transportation a consistent barrier that far too often makes it difficult for individuals to get the services that they need, but in many cases it also prevents them from […]

Celebrating 15 Years of Fiscal Support

In 2015, along with celebrating a 50-year anniversary as an organization, Lifeworks is also celebrating 15 years of providing Fiscal Support to people with disabilities and their families! When Lifeworks first started offering these highly individualized services to just a handful of families, it was an exciting learning experience for everyone involved. Over the years, with […]

Jobs Help People with Disabilities Reach New Heights in Mankato Area

Thanks to a grant through the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s Extended Employment Program, Lifeworks Mankato is able to provide specialized job placement and assistance to people on the autism spectrum. Through this program, Lifeworks supports 15 individuals who work at various businesses throughout the Mankato community, including: Schwickert’s Tecta America, Truck Bodies […]