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Sandi Lerner To Be Honored with 2016 Schoenfeld Volunteer Recognition Award

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Karen Glickstein, Chairman of the Board of Directors for Village Shalom, today announced Sandi Lerner as the recipient of the 2016 Stephen J. Schoenfeld  Volunteer Recognition Award. The award will be presented at the 2016 Ages of Excellence Celebration scheduled for Wednesday, November 16 at the InterContinental Hotel and will feature the three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Friedman as the key note speaker. There will be a patron dinner at 6 p.m., presentation at 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. coffee and dessert reception. The Co-Chairs are Village Shalom board members Bruce Kershenbaum and Alana Muller.  The Ages of Excellence Celebration proceeds will provide financial assistance to Village Shalom residents who rely on the community for vital care and services. 

Sandi Lerner (top) with Village Shalom resident, Ruth Margolin. Lerner will be honored with the Schoenfeld Volunteer Recognition Award at the Ages of Excellence Celebration on Nov. 16. 

The Stephen J. Schoenfeld Volunteer Recognition Award was established in 2002. Mr. Schoenfeld generously donated his time to help improve the lives of those at Village Shalom’s predecessor – Shalom Geriatric Center. He would go on to serve as one of the organization’s youngest members of the board of directors before his life ended tragically at age 39. Each year the award is presented to someone who exhibits Mr. Schoenfeld’s legacy of volunteerism and commitment to the organization. 

“We’re honored to recognize Sandi Lerner with this year’s Schoenfeld Award,” said Bruce Kershenbaum, Village Shalom board member and Ages of Excellence Chairman. “She is known at Village Shalom as the ‘volunteer extraordinaire.” Her service to the residents is astounding. If she’s around you can be sure of three things: the energy level will be high, the activity will be entertaining and the residents will be laughing. She truly makes a difference in people’s lives.”  

Ms. Lerner spent 50 years working as a medical secretary, much of that time as the administrative assistant for the internationally- known neurologist Dr. Charles M. Poser. The experience taught her to manage people, events and situations, skills she has translated to her volunteer role at Village Shalom. She spends much of her week volunteering for Mah Jongg games, attends weekly Happy Hour gatherings where she gets residents singing, clapping and even dancing, goes on group outings, assists with special event dinners, helps with art projects, and helped organize the weekly Koffee Klatch, which she also attends. She has replaced staff members who were out on medical leave, and spends so many hours at the retirement community many mistake her for a paid employee. Ms. Lerner was awarded the LeadingAge Kansas  Volunteer of the Year in 2015.

Proceeds from the Ages of Excellence Celebration will provide much-needed financial assistance to Village Shalom residents who rely on the community for vital care and services.  The Financial Assistance Program provides support for seniors living at Village Shalom whom no longer have the financial means to pay for the cost of their care. Helping to address seniors and their families during such a vulnerable time in their lives, the Financial Assistance Program covers the cost of residential care in its entirety, subsidizing everything, including meals, housing, therapies, skilled nursing as well as their emotional, social and spiritual needs. In 2015, Village Shalom underwrote $1.4 million in health care.

Matt Lewis, President and CEO, stated, “We provide a safe harbor for families struggling with the deeply complicated challenges of caring for their loved ones.  What price do you put on that?” He continued, “We work closely with many seniors who have fallen through the cracks of the health care system. For more than 15 years, we have helped hundreds of people and given out more than $20 million to underwrite their care to ensure that our mission is fulfilled for each and every family. Through the support of events like Ages of Excellence Celebration and this generous community, we will continue to serve families for generations to come.”

Information on sponsorships for Ages of Excellence Celebration can be found at www.VillageShalom.org/Ages or by contacting Village Shalom Development Associate Grace Slosburg at 913-266-8119 or GSlosburg@VillageShalom.org