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Laura Baker School Association

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Developmentally Disabled Centers, Disabilities, Human Services

Mission: Our mission is to respect the life choices and dreams of people with developmental disabilities and help them reach their goals.

Target demographics: People with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

Geographic areas served: Rice County, Minnesota and the surrounding area.

Programs: OAK STREET SERVICES is a licensed intermediate care facility (ICF-DD) that provides a home with services for people 16 years or older who, because of their developmental disabilities including people with Prader-Willi Syndrome, are not able to live independently in the community. COMMUNITY-BASED LIVING provides residential services in multiple homes in Northfield. Each of the homes has 24-hour staffing, providing people with developmental disabilities the support, training and assistance they need to live as independently as possible. FAMILY SUPPORT SERVICES helps families navigate the world of raising a special needs child and ensure the successful future of their special needs adult. We do this primarily through Respite Care events. CREATIVE ARTS PROGRAM uses art and music as creative tools so clients can focus on developing physical, cognitive, emotional and social skills. Our creative arts programing serves as a catalyst that enriches the individual and community life of clients and staff by providing opportunities to learn from each other through shared creative experiences. PATHWAYS TO THE FUTURE helps to serve as a voice for people with disabilities and engaging the community to advocate for: Accessible, affordable housing, adequate respite resources for families and Public Policies that benefit people with disabilities.

Community Stories

16 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I'm honored and blessed to be employed by such a wonderful place of growth, warmth, kindness .
I couldn't ask for more. I'm honored to be a part of the resident's lives. THANK YOU LBSA

DANIELLE DASHEUR

Not a board member I'm just an employee but I didn't see that option.

1 Julie T.2

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have served Laura Baker Services as a Board Member for over a decade because I strongly believe in its mission to honor the life choices of individuals with developmental disabilities and to advocate for the resources that will help each person reach his or her potential. I love telling the story of Laura Baker to those who may be new to the organization. The executive director is tireless in her dedication to the individual and collective needs of the clients served, and she has, through decades, helped shape an organization that is highly respected by families, social service agencies and staff. I have experienced Laura Baker to be a warm, creative and nurturing environment to clients and to new and long-term staff. Unfortunately, the legislature and governmental agencies do not allocate sufficient funding to agencies serving persons with disabilities at a level that permits LBSA to compensate highly skilled, compassionate, and creative staff at a competitive level, given cost-of-living expenses in this community. Inevitably, many highly skilled and compassionate professionals move on to other positions that can compensate them at a more sustainable level. Those individuals I know personally who have moved on continue to value Laura Baker’s learning environment, the "can-do" attitude that emanates from the top, and the trust and camaraderie of the team. One thing I have observed is the delight a staff member may show in the quirky sense of humor of a particular client, the tender sensitivity another client exhibits, and the shared pride both client and staff experience when a difficult challenge is met with courage and accomplishment. Our entire Northfield community is enriched by the presence of Laura Baker Services Association in our midst, both on the Oak Street campus and in the various group homes and family homes around town. - Julie T.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

When we moved to Northfield 22 years ago with our one year old we did not know how fortunate we were to be raising our daughter in a community that included Laura Baker Services. Not even when she was diagnosed with developmental delay and our second child was born with Down Syndrome did we know how fortunate we were to be living in a community that included Laura Baker.

But today we will proudly tell everyone that will listen, "We have been blessed to raise our children in this community BECAUSE of Laura Baker."

Over the years Laura Baker Services has given my husband and me and voice so that we can share the triumphs and struggles of raising children with special needs with others in the community so that our lives can be understood.

Because of Laura Baker our daughters have had the opportunity to get together on a monthly basis on the Laura Baker campus and socialize with special needs peers and volunteers from the community to engage in themed activities and build relationships in their monthly Family Support Services respite offering.

It's because of Laura Baker that parents have been able to meet regularly to share concerns and brainstorm solutions to the issues that face our now 20 -something adult children with disabilities. In this venue we have discussed possible housing solutions, opened the door to potential employment and identified the lack of transportation as a huge hurdle in our youth gaining independence.

Because of Laura Baker our youth were able to experience face to face interviews with many business people in the community in a non-threatening atmosphere where they could talk about their strengths and weaknesses challenging the potential employers to think of employment in a new way ie; "What gifts does this individual have and how can they be used to benefit my business?"

Because of Laura Baker our oldest daughter was able to become a resident in one of their group homes 2 1/2 years ago. As a 21 year old she had been wanting to have her "own place" for quite awhile so her transition went very well. Over these 2 years her independence and ability to navigate in the adult world has been a great gift to not only her, but our whole family. She gladly does her share of household chores and enjoys living with young women close to her own age. The staff continue to impress us with their ability to facilitate mending relationships of the four young women living under one roof and all of their comings and goings. Her group home has done a fantastic job keeping our daughter engaged in the community and meeting her head to head with all of her needs.

Because of Laura Baker we can think positively of the future for our daughters.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Laura Baker Services Association is an incredible organization that helps people with developmental disabilities realize their life's dreams. The focus at Laura Baker is on the client and revolves around the fact one solution does not fit all needs. A wide array of living options are supported at this organization and clients and their families can choose what works best for their situation. Laura Baker creates a home for each individual with all appropriate supports. The staff is selfless and passionate about their vocation and it shows in the care they provide. The Northfield community is extremely supportive of the Association and recognizes that they are one of top employers in the area. In addition to serving the clients well Laura Baker Services also makes a positive contribution back to the community of Northfield. The positive impact this organization has on a person with developmental disabilities and their family as well as the community is second to none.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Laura Baker is a unique place in Minnesota for people with disabilities. For individuals like my son Seth who lives there it offers a small campus community where he is able to know others, participate in social activities, and live in a connected way. Seth has severe autism and can't participate much out in the community. This left him isolated and living alone in a room in a group home much of the time until he was able to come to Laura Baker. At Laura Baker he is surrounded by a group of caring professionals and other residents that mimic a family for him, something he never had in prior placements. This clean, well cared for campus with 5 group homes, embraces its residents as though they really are related and their quality of life really matters.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

My relationship and that of my company, has been primarily on a professional level. I have had the sincere honor and pleasure of working closely with the amazing LBSA staff for over 25 years, My involvement has included finding cost effective solutions to their vehicle needs, and providing the various fleet vehicles. During these many years. I have had the opportunity to attend several of the LBSA's events, including and participating in the annual Golf event for the past 12 years. I assure you that my experience has been nothing short of incredible…time after time! The administrative staff, caregivers, and all the volunteers have been delightful to interact with. Everyone involved with Laura Baker Services is consistent in their sincere loyalty and dedication to the organization and the clients they serve. It has been a pleasure to witness the warm and caring interaction of clients and staff.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Laura Baker makes a difference! It betters the life of each client it serves, but it also betters the lives of their families and the community of Northfield. It is well run even on a very low fat budget. I had no idea of the wingspan of the organization, but there are so many areas LBSA serves. I am proud to be on the board!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Over fifty years ago when my two brothers with Downs Syndrome became residents of Laura Baker School Association, my family did not realize their capabilities. The two learned to read and write, to be mannerly, to handle money and to live and work in a community. When my youngest brother began to have memory problems, he received special care. He eventually lost physical ability and needed help with everything. His caregivers were loving and attentive. The day he was dying, the night staff person came to see him one last time. If I had memory problems, I’d like to live where he lived. The older of my two brothers has enjoyed great stability, living in the same house with the same house mates for many years. He continues to work and to enjoy his favorite outings. Their living at Laura Baker has been a blessing to my brothers and our family.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

My wife and I have two sons with developmental disabilities. This helps connect us to the DD community that LBSA serves. This is not an easy job and the staff that provides help and quality of life are not paid well. People that serve in this industry do it out of compassion and personal values. It shows up at LBSA, in clients that have strong personal connections to their staff and in the joy they show in simple pleasures. LBSA is a role model for client care in this industry.

Greg and Patty

1 Jill Topp M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been volunteering for LBSA for the last eight years in a variety of different roles and I am honored and feel incredibly fortunate to have LBSA part of my life.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

There are many opportunities to address otherwise unmet needs. Giving to Laura Baker Services is one of the most rewarding for me. It addresses the needs of those that are not able to address those needs on their own. The funding generally addresses medium and long term needs for people that need a lifetime of support.

1 Patricia S.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My golden retriever, Marco, and I have volunteered at Laura Baker for almost 4 years. We have had petting sessions with clients, gone on walks with them, and given them opportunities to interact with a loving, patient dog. We have always found the staff to be very professional, yet very calm, patient, and compassionate with their clients. They are well aware of the needs of their clients and provide appropriate services. Marco and I hope to continue our association with Laura Baker for many more years.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

We first knew the parents of a LBSA resident. They told us about a Carleton student who would visit their son and spend an hour or so every week with him.

We assumed that the student spent a term in some college out-reach program. But no, that student visited every week for 4 years, his entire time at Carleton.

And I turned to my wife and said, if a student can do that for 4 years, so can I. And for 5 years, we did a weekly outing. It wasn't as athletic or adventurous as the student-outings, but it became a comfortable routine with meaning for both of us.

Two other Northfielders were also in his life. They have now passed on. One played board games, the other went to Perkins. I think they remembered every birthday and Christmas. And we would share our stories. This is what LBSA has done -- fostered connections where we are all members of the community. Thank you LBSA.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

This organization is well managed from the top to the bottom! They have a strong leader who not only does a great job managing staff but also is always looking to innovate. Their board is engaged and believes in the mission and making a better life for the clients they serve.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Laura Baker has been part of my brothers life for over 25 years. Laura Baker has supported him as a special person who has needs and wants like any other person in our community. He has gotten to take trips out of state to places he has always wanted to visit and is given opportunities to particiapate in the local community as well. Consideration for what he wants and what would be best for him is always thought of. They do their best to keep family informed of what and how he is doing. Laura Baker Association treats all people with the same respect you or I would expect. The staff is great and work because they enjoy the job not necessarly because it is a job.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Most people have a person in their life that has a disability. I had a sister, Anna. She was born in a time when there were few, if any, possibilities for her to live a happy, safe, and fulfilling life. She would have done amazing things had Laura Baker been in her life. I am happy to serve on a board that helps to offer life changing choices to a population that is often pushed out of sight and treated as unimportant. Every life is a gift and I believe that God has given us special needs people in the world to remind us that none of are perfect and he wants us to care for those who are unable to care, and make a happy life for themselves. God Bless all those who serve at Laura Baker!