September 2021 Updates

Fall always feels like the beginning of a new year for me.  Maybe it’s because I spent so many years pursuing my education and then my children’s education!  Whatever the reason, I welcome the change of season, a new crispness in the air and the incredible colors about to erupt on the trees.  It feels like a fresh start, a time to take stock and prioritize.
One way I do this is by reviewing my charitable giving.  Now is the time to plan for how and where I will give in the new year.  I’m so grateful for all our Cedar Lake donors who faithfully give in every season – thank you!  This year we have been the recipient of several generous estate gifts.  Donors who were faithful in their lives to our mission continued their legacy through their estates and made an amazing difference for Cedar Lake.  Did you know you can make this type of legacy gift now?
If you are 70 ½ or older, you can make a gift to Cedar Lake directly from your IRA. New regulations do not require you to take a required minimum distribution until age 72, but you may use your IRA to make charitable gifts any time after 70 ½.Your gift will be put to use today, allowing you to see the difference your donation is making. You will pay no income taxes on the gift. You may transfer up to $100,000 a year directly to a charity. The transfer generates neither taxable income nor a tax deduction, so you can benefit even if you don’t itemize your deductions. Most importantly, you will make a profound difference in the lives of the people in our care. If you need any additional information, or would like to discuss opportunities to utilize your IRA to help support the mission of Cedar Lake, please email me at or call 502. 495.4942.

The Schuermer Family

David’s family faced challenges at every turn that started when his son Matthew was five years old. Matthew broke his arm and required surgery which led to the discovery of a degenerative muscular disease of which David’s wife Nancy also suffered. Nancy, however, was diagnosed as an adult and eventually became wheelchair bound, but Matthew did not. Nancy spent the last 12 years of her life on a ventilator in a Louisville hospital.
David cared for Matthew at home until Matt graduated from high school. It was then that David realized that he was not able to provide an environment where Matthew could live his best life.  After he completed school, his socialization and community integration were non-existent.  He stopped interacting with others and David realized that he wasn’t living the rich live that he wanted for him.  In addition, the muscular disease was taking a greater toll on Matthew, and David wasn’t able to care for him safely at home. For all these reasons, David reached out to Cedar Lake with the hope we could provide an environment where Matthew would thrive, and not merely survive.
David learned about Cedar Lake from a neighbor who was a former employee.  Initially, he only knew about the Lodge and wasn’t sure that it was a good fit for Matthew. However, when he met with Jim Richardson, former Cedar Lake CEO, and learned about Cedar Lake Residences, he realized this was a wonderful option for Matthew.
One of the most unique and vital aspects of Cedar Lake’s services is our continuum of care.  Our ability to care for people with IDD at every stage of life was essential for Matthew.  He started out in one of our independent living programs, then, as his physical needs changed, he moved into a group home and then finally to the Lodge as the muscular dystrophy took a greater toll.
Matthew’s physical health declined, but not his mental health capacity.  David was concerned when Matthew’s physical needs required a move to the Lodge.  He asked, “who will be his community?”  He was assured that it was the staff at the Lodge who would be Matt’s community and indeed that was the case.  Matthew loved the Lodge staff and the social network he built with them was truly wonderful for him. David felt truly fortunate to have found a place like Cedar Lake to trust and take good care of Matthew.
Before Matthew transferred to the Lodge, David scheduled a meeting to meet with Lodge leadership to talk about the program of care Matthew would receive.  He assumed he would be meet with two or three people, but instead he walked into the room and 12 to 14 people were there to talk to him about how each one would be involved in Matthew’s care.  That meeting was remarkable and reassuring to David and reinforced his decision. “Cedar Lake delivered on everything that they said they would. I have nothing but good things to say about Cedar Lake. I don’t know how I would have made it to be honest without you, without their care.”
In the end, Matthew’s lungs couldn’t do what they were supposed to do, just like his mom’s. Matthew went to the hospital and had to be intubated. A Cedar Lake employee came and sat with Matthew all day, every day at Norton Hospital until he was moved to the same ventilator dependent facility as his mom.
Cedar Lake prolonged and enriched Matthew’s life in ways that David was unable to. He DJ’d every week on the radio, and he was able to attend Shine and went to prom with a date.  David said that Nancy and Matthew blessed him with unconditional love.  “The love and care that Cedar Lake gave me and Matthew was priceless.”

The Bennett Family

Billy Bennett has received support from Cedar Lake since day one – as he was one of the first enrolled in 1974.
Mr. & Mrs. Bennett started attending the very first meetings when discussions of Cedar Lake began. They were one of the founding families and the overall goal was one thing: the creation of Cedar Lake. The Bennett’s were involved in the weekly Civitan Club meetings and they always had stashes of candy for the “your change changes things” money box fundraiser.
Billy lived at one other facility before coming to Cedar Lake and had a terrible experience. His family communicates how Billy would refuse to leave the car and that it was a challenge to have him go back inside the facility after being away for the weekend with his family. To their relief, once they moved Billy into Cedar Lake Lodge, Billy would happily run into the Lodge when he returned after a weekend away. He was always glad to be back. Billy loved his new home so much that he eventually stopped going on weekend visits to his family’s home.
Billy’s family has always played an active role in his care. From sleeping in bed with him to make sure he stayed where he needed to overnight, to going on long car rides because it’s one of Billy’s favorite things to do. When Cedar Lake came to fruition, they felt a lot of pressure lift off their shoulders and were thankful for an improved quality of life for the family and most importantly, Billy.
Mr. Bennett said that it’s been wonderful to see the growth and success of Cedar Lake and he can’t believe how far Cedar Lake has come as an organization. He’s proud of the work he and his family did in the beginning stages in the formation of Cedar Lake and is happy with the services that are offered that have benefited Billy and others with intellectual and developmental disabilities. With much appreciation, Mr. Bennett stated, “Billy’s quality of care has dramatically increased and it’s truly wonderful that he has a place to call home.”

August 2021 Updates

 If you’re like me, you probably could use some good news.  With all the challenges, all the fear and anxiety we are facing every day, it is easy to become overwhelmed.  In this month’s newsletter we will introduce you to David and Matt Scheurmer and the Bennett family.  Their stories will remind you that love, compassion and even joy are all around us – even in the most difficult of times.
When you read their stories, remember that because of your generosity, their stories are possible.  Every gift we receive is a loving connection between the donor and the people in our care.  Though Billy and Matt’s lives are very different, they are united by the thread of compassion built into the very DNA of Cedar Lake.  For the gifts of love on which all our work is built, we give thanks.

Cedar Lake Grants

We would like to recognize and thank the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels and Walmart Store #1053 in La Grange for the grants we received this summer. Kentucky Colonels granted us $10,000 towards the replacement of a roof at one of our 3-person staffed residences in Jeffersontown. Walmart granted us $1,000 towards general operating support. Thank you!       

July 2021 Updates

How can you turn $3,500 to $6,000 to up to $100,000?  Due to the generosity of a Cedar Lake donor, you can help us do exactly this!  We have received a $3,500 challenge gift for the Community Thrives Challenge.  If we raise $6,000 for this challenge, we have the opportunity to be awarded a grant of up to $100,000!
This is a short-term challenge, ending August 13.  We must raise $6,000 in order for our grant request to the Gannett Foundation for our Supportive Employment program to be considered.  No matter what, we will receive the money raised from individual donations.  I’ve made my gift for this challenge.  Please join me and help us turn $3,500 into $100,000!
All donations must be made through the Community Thrives donation site in order to be counted toward the challenge. You can find the donation site at the link below or on the pop-up attached to out website. Every size donation will make a significant impact.
For all you do for Cedar Lake and the difference you make every day for the people in our care, thank you!

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