Decades of Care at Cedar Lake

Decades of Care at Cedar Lake

Amy and Doug Nelson stand behind Chuck who is sitting

Amy and Doug Nelson’s remarkable journey with Cedar Lake traces back to the late ‘80s and early ’90s, a testament to their enduring commitment to the organization and its mission. Doug’s introduction to Cedar Lake began in 1989 when he took on a part-time groundskeeper role at Cedar Lake Lodge during his high school years. Since then, he has navigated through various positions within the organization, from hands-on maintenance roles to providing clinical nursing care following nursing school. Today, he serves as the property services manager for Sycamore Run and Park Place immediate care facilities.

Amy’s narrative at Cedar Lake is equally compelling, spanning over three decades since she started at the age of 19 as a house parent at Cedar Lake Lodge. Her journey has been characterized by versatility, transitioning through roles such as recreation aide, behavior tech, and group home manager, ultimately ascending to leadership positions within Cedar Lake residencies (CLR). Reflecting on their tenure, Amy remarks, “It is the best job,” a sentiment Doug wholeheartedly agrees with.

Despite exploring other avenues, the genuine connections forged with the individuals served by Cedar Lake continually drew Amy and Doug back. “The job is what you make of it,” Amy emphasizes, underscoring their commitment to making each day meaningful for those they support.

Becoming a Family Home Provider

One individual who holds a special place in Amy and Doug’s hearts is Chuck. Their relationship with Chuck spans decades, evolving from his time at Cedar Lake Lodge to his transition to a group home where Doug worked. In 2021, Amy embraced the role of Family Home Provider, providing Chuck with full-time care within their household. “Wherever we go, people always ask us how Chuck’s doing,” Amy shares, highlighting Chuck’s affable nature and the impact he has on those around him.

Amy and Doug have developed an understanding of Chuck’s preferences and personality over the years. They are aware of his fondness for watching sports like NASCAR, tennis, and golf on television. Moreover, they have a keen insight into how Chuck prefers to interact with others, always finding creative ways to engage him. Their bond has extended beyond the confines of daily life, as evidenced by their joint ventures over the past three years.

From embarking on a memorable Tennessee vacation with other Family Home Provider families to hosting various themed parties, including a NASCAR-themed bash, chili dinners, and birthday celebrations, the Nelsons and Chuck share a rich tapestry of shared experiences. Their camaraderie also extends to their shared attendance at church, an activity that brings Chuck immense joy.

Dedicated to Cedar Lake

Amy and Doug Nelson’s journey with Cedar Lake exemplifies a profound dedication to enriching the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Their enduring commitment, spanning over three decades, underscores the organization’s fundamental values of compassion and community. As they continue to forge meaningful connections and foster a sense of belonging for individuals like Chuck, their story serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration. Through their unwavering support and genuine care, Amy and Doug embody the transformative power of empathy, demonstrating the profound impact of creating a more supportive and inclusive environment for all.

Learn more about the Cedar Lake Family Home Provider Program.