Martin Thorsheim Wins 2014 Spirit of Laura Baker Award

Hearty congratulations to Martin Thorsheim, winner of this year’s Spirit of Laura Baker award. One nomination said, in part, “His professionalism and pride in his teamwork promotes strong relationships with clients, staff, team members, etc. He is trustworthy and offers genuine guidance to staff and peers when asked. He follows through and follows up when asked for help or raises a question. He supports his team by participating in discussion topics that might otherwise be forgotten. Martin asks the tough questions which generates thoughts and momentum that may have been overlooked. He openly holds himself accountable, thereby showing strong integrity and trustworthiness. He remodels these practices for other teammates as well, promoting an open line of communication and trust.”

Another said, “What would Laura Baker School be without Martin? Drab . . . He’s continually working with clients of all levels. He shows them how they can create art magic! The sun shines everywhere the art is displayed. It fills people with happiness and makes for a happy day boost. Thank you, Martin!”

Click here to learn more about the Artist in Residence program.

Posted in Art Program, Employees, Events

Employee Appreciation Week

Congratulations to this year’s  winners of the LBSA Employee Appreciation awards!! Winners announced at the Monday Potluck and Staff meeting were:  Maggie Boling, Rebecca Stewart-Peterson and Kathy Westerman for Optimism; Andela Graske, Jim Kuckler, Cassie Rietveld and Paula Teiken for being Rising Stars; Ila Duesterhoeft, Felicia Frazier and Polly Hruza for being Role Models; Amber Fredrickson, Ruth Morgan-Malecha and Zelene Rojas for Supporting Our Foundations and Linda Olds, Leif Olsen and John Wisdorf for Taking Care of Business.

Posted in Uncategorized

Groundbreaking Ceremony

It was a wonderful turnout at the groundbreaking ceremony for 2 new cottages that will be built on the Laura Baker Campus.  Even the weather cooperated!  Congratulations and thank you to all that have made this possible, your unwavering support is greatly appreciated.

Posted in Events Tagged , , |

A Day at St. John’s

Sunday, March 15th was an extraordinary day at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Northfield.  The Laura Baker Choir performed, Laura Baker’s photo exhibit titled A Day in the Life was on display and Northfield Girl Scouts were handing out coffee and cookies as a way of saying thanks.

The choir, under the direction of Jennifer Pelletier and Maggie Scheppman, performed classics such as Amazing Grace and We Shall Overcome.

A Day in the Life photography exhibit, done in partnership with St. Olaf photography students, is a distinctive series of portraits that show what a day in the life of people with disabilities is like. The exhibit will be on display at St. John’s through March 23rd.

Northfield Girl Scouts handed out coffee and Girl Scout cookies as a way of saying ‘thank you’ to St. John’s for donating space for Girl Scout Troop meetings and Council Events.

Thank you St. John’s for hosting the Laura Baker Choir and A Day in the Life photography exhibit.  It was truly a memorable day.

Posted in Community Involvement, Uncategorized Tagged , |

Dinner Theater 2014

Laura Baker held our annual Dinner Theater on February 25th and this year’s theme was Sparkle & Shine. It was a evening filled with fine dining, good friends and great entertainment. Thank you to Agnes a Cappella for providing entertainment. Thank you also to all staff, volunteers and our clients, who made this evening a success!

Posted in Events, Volunteers Tagged , |

A Call to Action

Sandi Gerdes, Executive Director, recently was a guest columnist in the Northfield News. You can read the article entitled “Fair pay for elder care, fair pay for the disabled.” This article and the letter below is being sent to all parents & guardians of LBSA clients. We also ask you to read the article, letter and contact your legislator to increase staff pay rates for workers who provide personal care for the disabled. Your participation can make a difference!

Dear Staff Members,

I hope you will get the chance to read the Op-Ed piece in the Northfield News, “Fair pay for elder care, fair pay for the disabled”.
When the State Legislature resumes on Feb. 25, our lawmakers will again address how much to pay workers who provide personal care for the disabled as well as the elderly.

The two have not been treated equally. When the state raised pay 5% for nursing home workers in August, pay for workers in disability care got back a mere 0.5%. It wasn’t even a raise: It was faint restoration of the 1.5% in compensation that was cut in 2012.

Back in 2008, nursing care got a 5% raise; disability care got only 2%. Lawmakers keep compounding the disparity.

Legislators have a chance now to close the gap. This is a crucial time for advocates of the disabled to speak up.

Will you consider asking state leaders to give a raise to those who care for the disabled?

Please ask your legislators to increase pay rates for services for the disabled, during this legislative session.

You can use this note as a [starting point/template] for your own message.

You can include this link to the Northfield News piece.

Below is a list of contact information for legislators, including yours.
Minnesota can afford this. There is enough for all of us.

Thank you for your continued support.


Direct your comments to:

Gov. Mark Dayton

Office of the Governor
130 State Capitol
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155

Sen. Kevin Dahle

75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Capitol, Room 317
St. Paul, MN 55155-1606

Rep. David Bly

559 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155

Live outside Northfield? Find state legislators for your area here:

Posted in Uncategorized

See More than Snow

more than snow

In the spirit of building connections with all people through creative acts and fun enjoyment, the LBSA Artist in Residence Program encourages you to experience some free Minnesota Awesome, with the 2014 Art Shanty Projects, weekends through February, in White Bear Lake, MN.  A great way to add some variety and humor to this cold season!

Posted in Art Program Tagged , |

Laura Baker Choir performs at “Arts for Martin” at Arcadia Charter School

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The Laura Baker choir, along with many other community ensembles, performed at the annual “Arts for Martin” celebration on January 17 at Arcadia Charter School. This is a community gathering honoring the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through music, dance, theater and poetry. The choir sang an Israeli folksong, “Let There Be Peace”.   The song proclaims: “Hands together, stand as one, circling the world in peace and love. Brothers, sisters, all are we. Join in our song: Let there be peace.”   The evening ended in a group drumming experience, which is also pictured here. Special thanks to Bob Gregory-Bjorklund for inviting us again this year!

Posted in Uncategorized Tagged , |

Annual Christmas Service is Dec. 23

candleThe First United Church of Christ in Northfield (300 Union Street) is hosting this year’s Christmas service. Families, clients, and staff are invited to join us for what is always a beautiful and meaningful service! Refreshments to follow.

Merry Christmas from all of us at Laura Baker Services!
Posted in Uncategorized Tagged |

2013 Gala a Success!

Thank you to all that turned out on Saturday, December 7th to show support for the mission of LBSA. The Gala was a wonderful evening full of singing, drumming and giving. Thank you also to all of the donors, volunteers, staff and clients that made this event possible.

Posted in Fundraiser, Uncategorized