Message from LSA President & CEO Charlotte Haberaecker, adapted from remarks delivered at the LSA 2016 Annual Conference
Two years ago we laid out a new vision for our network, and we're seeing that vision realized more and more each year. Today, we are stronger and more connected, working together to innovate and transform lives. The reason we can do this – and what sets us apart as a network – is our common mission: our Lutheran legacy of caring for our neighbors that reaches back more than 150 years, and, most of all, our shared values. We have our North Star.
What this means is that we have a different definition of success: We are committed to compassionate care – where people live with dignity, respect, independence and abundance throughout their lives.
Often, that means making difficult choices. Choices others may not be willing to make. But I believe we make different choices because we want to get to a different place. For example, making the choice to have full-time chaplains on staff at our senior services facilities – even when our for-profit competitors choose to not have chaplains on staff or even on call.
In many instances, LSA members are one of the only providers of services for youth aging out of foster care. It's a different choice. And one that we ALL make in various ways because we want to have a meaningful impact on the lives of people we walk alongside.
We often say we walk alongside our neighbors in the communities we serve. But what does that really mean? It means we create a place of welcome for all, much like the Good Samaritan who helped a stranger on his journey, not walking away but toward a stranger in need. It means we embrace diversity and innovation in all that we do, and that we stay until the job is done – not in the spotlight, but in the light we shine for others.
To us, these are not just words. It is who we are. It's in our DNA – not just as individuals, but also as a connected, thriving network. It binds us together. We walk alongside each other – in fellowship and support - sharing knowledge, resources and experience. The result? We can work together as a network to do things no one else can do. Together we magnify our impact. Together we have the potential to learn more, to influence more and to do more.
We can speak with one powerful voice and increase our impact in the communities we serve. Our Network provides a safe space to come together and innovate, expand our reach and thrive – because we are collaborating, not competing.
At LSA we work hard to bring our members and outside resources together to find innovative solutions and chart a course for exponential growth. For example, we're testing and finding better solutions for seniors to live independently at home. By bringing our members together we are able to create, implement and test programs to improve the lives of seniors in rural areas.
We are expanding the work of our Children, Youth and Family Group with the Annie E. Casey Foundation to enhance the difference we're making in the lives of at-risk children and youth. We are taking a proactive approach to community resilience by placing a consistent presence with the most vulnerable people in eight communities so they can be better prepared to rebuild and rebound when disaster strikes.
We do this work together so we can have greater and greater impact on the people we walk with so they can live with more dignity, independence and abundance. For example, we empowered people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to advocate on their own behalf on Capitol Hill and thank Senator Casey for his work on the ABLE Act, legislation that the LSA-Disability Network helped to enact.
Consider for a moment what we've accomplished in the last 500 years, the last 150 years, and even the last 20 years – what started as one person answering the call in his community – grew all across the country and now touches the lives of 1 in every 50 people in the U.S. each year. Think of the impact we can have in the next 20 years. The next 150 years.
And the further we go, the more possibilities we see. When you look around the bend, what do you see? The possibilities are endless - and while we don't know what lies ahead, we know one thing for sure. We have our North Star - the light that guides us on our path.
Click here to learn more about the incredible resources and information shared during the LSA 2016 Annual Conference.