Imagine if more than 200 of your closest friends and family showed up to celebrate your birthday. Wouldn’t you feel so loved? That’s exactly how we felt last week at the 2024 Founder’s Day Breakfast! 230 amazing supporters, residents, team members, chaplains, families, and past and current board members attended to help celebrate the 52nd anniversary of Christian Living Communities.

It was a meaningful event, recognizing the founding families who gave CLC its strong roots and honoring the profound service of Chaplain Jim Kok. Attendees also heard about how the CLC Citizenship Model creates purpose, growth, and joy for older adults, and about the bright hopes for the future of CLC, including an expanded chaplain program. The response was tremendous - kind and caring attendees have given more than $17,000 to date to support the chaplain campaign as well as other mission enriching programs.

This year was the first Founder’s Day Breakfast to feature the presentation of the Earthen Vessel Award, previously presented at Aged to Perfection. This year’s honoree was retiring Executive Director of Chaplain Services, Jim Kok. Pam Sullivan, CLC’s VP of Communications and Philanthropy, highlighted and honored Jim’s incredibly impactful 38 years of service to CLC.

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For many years Jim has led the presentation of the Earthen Vessel Award to other honorees, and he shared how strange and meaningful it felt to receive the award himself. The standing ovation that Jim received from the crowd lasted for some time and demonstrated how much he has made a difference for so many of the attendees present.

CLC’s President and CEO Jill Vitale-Aussem hosted a Q&A session with Verna Cavey, a resident of Clermont Park. The pair discussed the CLC Citizenship Model and how it provides opportunities for older adults like Verna to thrive at CLC communities. A response to the Hospitality Model of senior living, which encourages older adults to be passive consumers of services, the Citizenship Model asks older adults how they want to grow, who they want to become, and how they would like to contribute to community life. Verna shared how her personal growth and well-being has soared since she moved to Clermont Park.

Don Backstrom, the Executive Director of Clermont Park, shared a moving tribute to the CLC Chaplain Team, including a short video which you can watch below. He talked about how the chaplains are truly CLC’s ‘Mission in Motion’. He invited supporters to partner with CLC by making a gift to the Strengthening Our Foundation campaign. The campaign’s goal is to ensure a bright future for the chaplain program. Jim’s dream is that the chaplain program will continue to grow, expanding into more programming and into even more CLC communities.

The positivity, goodwill, generosity of time and treasure, and faithful support for CLC’s mission has truly filled our hearts. Thank you all for making CLC the organization that it is today, and the organization that it will be in the days to come.

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Revolutionizing Aging Services Begins First with Citizenship