The Gardens Welcomes New Director

Mar 27, 2015

Laurie Schellenberg will be moving into her new position as managing director at The Gardens on Tenth on April 1. (LORI PENNER/Red River Valley Echo)

ALTONA – A new managing director will be welcoming tenants to The Gardens on Tenth when it opens for occupancy in May.

Laurie Schellenberg has been selected by the board to oversee operations at the new building, as well as the other three buildings at The Gardens, which includes the units, manor, and apartments.

Schellenberg comes highly qualified for the position, with a Bachelor of Social Work, and years of experience in social work, public health and home care.

“Many of the things I’ve trained for and done until now have opened doors and prepared me for this new role,” Schellenberg says.

As part of her field placement in university, she completed a proposal for housing for young mothers, which included a feasibility study, programming, needs assessment and budget.

“The whole six month project really gave me a good understanding of how to run a facility like The Gardens,” she says.

She later worked at a post-adoption registry in Winnipeg, connecting birth families and adoptees, and was looking at moving to the city. Then, the case coordinator position for home care opened in Altona in Oct. 2013, and she jumped at the chance.

“It was a good way to use my social work skills,” she says. “I really loved working with all my clients and their families.”

Schellenberg says she got a crash course in the home care system when her own parents began needing it.

“I realized that I really enjoyed that type of work, and the training and experience I’ve had have really given me the skills I need to assess and help people find the housing and care that best suits them.”

She adds that a number of the residents at The Gardens were already her clients, either through supportive housing or home care.

“I know them and their families, so this really feels like a good fit. Through home care, I’ve moved people into all the different parts of The Gardens, panelled people for supportive housing, and so I have a good understanding of the services that are available in each part, and how to assess what each tenant needs.”

Schellenberg will begin her new position as manager director at The Gardens on Tenth on April 1, which gives her a chance to train with outgoing director Ray Hamm before tenants start moving into the new building in May.

She describes herself as a community-minded person.

She moved to Gretna 25 years ago from Winnipeg, with the intent of only staying two years.

“I became involved with the community, on the town committee and with the Hot Spot Festival and local church. I wanted to make my community the kind of community I wanted to live in.”

That attitude, she says, will trickle into her role at The Gardens.

“The idea of creating the kind of housing that people want to live in. I’m excited about setting up programming and having discussions with tenants and finding out what they want The Gardens on Tenth community to look like. I have so many ideas, and I can’t wait to share them.”

Schellenberg will be working full time in the new building. Her office will be located near the main entrance.

“I am looking forward to using my social work, critical thinking and leadership skills, mixed with my experience and creativity to be able to create a warm, inviting community within The Gardens on Tenth.”

She’ll be juggling many duties, such as managing the staff, the buildings, making sure apartments are filled, as well as managing tenant relations and the budget.

“I’ll be wearing a lot of hats, but I feel able and ready to wear them, and I’ve got an excellent board behind me. I am very eager to begin.”

Reflecting your needs at Gardens on Tenth

As the new building nears completion, it’s important to clarify what each of the various buildings at The Gardens on Tenth provides.

The Apartments at the Gardens

This building houses 23 small apartments, 13 of which are for clients panelled for supportive housing. All residents at the Apartments benefit from 24/7 supervision by Gardens staff, including basic assistance with medication and hygiene needs. This building provides safety and security, with wander guard doors. While there are small kitchenettes, all residents receive congregate meals.

All residents at the Apartments also benefit from organized activities and special events.

The Manor at the Gardens

The Manor is connected to the Apartments, which allows residents to benefit from the services provided at the Apartments. These include activities, and the security provided by a night watch staff.

The Units at the Gardens

The Units is a free standing facility, not attached to any of the other buildings. This building offers independent living, a kitchenette, with congregate meals optional for all residents. This facility is for people who can still live quite independently and many of the residents receive home care to maintain that independence.

The Gardens

This refers to the new building, which will be open for occupancy this May. It offers independent living with services for all of its tenants. These services include one meal a day, which is included in the rent, as well as congregate meals which can also be purchased.

While it is a locked facility, there is no 24 hour presence in this building. Each apartment includes a fully-equipped kitchen and all the comforts of home. While home care is available in this building, it is intended for fully independent tenants.

Lori Penner, Red River Valley Echo

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