Community Outreach Team Visits Arbors

“That was the most fun I’ve had in a long, long time!” said Cindy. Cindy is a resident at Arbors Memory Care Community and she was referring to the two hours she spent caroling, painting and craft-making with the Community Outreach Team. I agree with Cindy! This month’s outreach event was special beyond words.

“We were supposed to bless them, which we probable did, but I think I got more out of it than anyone,” said teacher Julie Stahr. “It literally brought tears to my eyes when the girls sang Silent Night in German for the lady that requested a carol in German.” 

It was a team effort all around. Music director Michael Werner arranged sheet music for caroling. Jen Bockerman’s art students created crafts and painting projects. The team used a $250 outreach grant from Thrivent to provide materials and food for everyone. And, as always, God’s Spirit was the one who filled our hearts with His love.

Saturday morning’s event marks the first visit to the Arbors for the COT, and the ninth service event this year.  “We appreciated how involved the students and adults were, interacting and connecting with our residents” said Activities Director Michelle Veratti. She confirmed that the $100 donation would be dedicated to improving the resident experience with special consideration for those in the memory care community.

Many of those who served had a special place in their hearts for memory care patients. “I didn’t visit my grandmother as much as I’d like to have when she was alive and was living in a place like this,” said teacher Joel Stoltenow. “But, when I think of these residents like my own grandmother, it helps me see them differently – and special – because they are someone’s grandparent.”

“I felt a little awkward at first,” said senior Hallie Hohbein. “But, as they began to sing along with our songs it became much more relaxed. I really loved listening to their stories. I felt like by simply listening, I was bringing them joy.”

Senior Kate Staab continued that sentiment. “It was a great opportunity to do something different as students and teachers. I could have continued singing with them for hours!” 

The Community Outreach Team exists to share the love of Jesus by serving in our local community. As an extension of the school – and LCMS Church – the group strives to incorporate the following in each event: 1.) a parent, a student and a staff member represented, 2.) a devotional prayer time preceding the event, and 3.) a small donation from the COT Fund. 

Our goal for this school year is to complete 20 events and accumulate over 1,000 hours of service by 300 different people. We are well on our way. If you have a passion to serve at a community organization, or have ideas for the COT, please contact Joel Stoltenow ( 


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