Contact: Jodie Muller
North Star Community Services
Phone#: 236-0901, ext. 304
Email: jmuller@northstarcs.org

Summer News 2018

Waverly Center's Jamboree a feel-good hit!

On October 16th, 170 friends, family, and community members gathered at St. Mary Church to enjoy North Star Community Services’ Waverly Center's 13th annual fall program. This year’s show was titled “North Star Jamboree.” When planning the event, it was felt that since a jamboree is defined as “a large, festive celebration,” it would be the perfect name for this year’s show as 33 performers assembled to celebrate their musical, acting, and dancing talents with the audience.

Featured vocalists were Jeremy Kluiter, Cody Adams, Chad Olson, Lynn Taylor, Koni Wee, Joel Brase, Travis Folkerts, Sonya Foutch, and staff member, Ray Dixon (who was also the production manager). Making their first appearances in a North Star production were Anna Foster, Cavanna Seliger, and Richard Uhlenhopp.

An eclectic mix of music was represented, including: “The Gambler” (Kenny Rogers), “Only Time” (Enya), “L’il Red Riding Hood” (Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs), “Ghostbuster’s Theme” (Ray Parker, Jr.), “Perfect” (Ed Sheeran), “The Long Black Train” (Josh Turner), “Fiddle in the Band” (Alabama), “When You Say Nothing at All” (Alison Krauss), "I Walk the Line" (Johnny Cash), “Have You Seen the Rain” (Creedence Clearwater Revival), “Angels Among Us” (Alabama), and the “Burger Dance.”

Acting and dancing were Andrew Carrier, Travis Moeller, Tim Gallmeyer, McKenna Hart, Dakota Bushman, Holly Forest, Sarah Carlin, Courtney Tharp, Heather Hendricks, Darren Tiedt, April Gilbert, Alison Cusick, Hope Eickhoff, Dean Shonka, Russell Lalk, Haleigh Swick, Danielle Jensen, Sierra Pleas, Jay Billington, Janet Schwerin, and Lacie Vorthman. Greeting the attendees was Brent Westmeyer.

Special thanks to St. Mary Church, Duane Schwickerath, Janesville United Methodist Church-Rebecca Circle, Jim Stout, and our outstanding volunteers and staff. And, as always, thank you to our families and guardians who help make it all possible!

22ndAnnual Golf Event Outstanding Success!

July 27th was a beautiful, sunny Friday, and it was also the day that 116 golfers and a team of volunteers converged on Gates Park Golf Course in Waterloo for North Star’s Van G. Miller Memorial Golf Outing. This event, now in its 22nd year, is held annually to raise funds that benefit the nearly 550 men and women who participate in North Star programming.

To help kick-off the day, a group of North Star participants treated the golfers to their rendition of “Proud to Be an American,” and Miss Taryn Ackerman sang the “Star-Spangled Banner.” Congratulations to the four-person best shot winning team of Kurt Schmitz, Jeff Wertz, John Michel, and Lee Anderson with a low score of 59.

Of course, we couldn’t hold such an outstanding event without some great sponsors. Special thanks are extended to event sponsors: The VGM Group, Grizzly Coolers, Mutual of America, Veridian Credit Union, Harris Cleaning Services & Sales, Financial Decisions Group, Valerie & Dale Schwager, and Van Meter, Inc. Holes were sponsored by: AHTS Architects, Arc of the Cedar Valley, Catering by Dee, CCLTC Pharmacy, Chain of Lakes Marine, Danielson for Senate, Gates Park Golf Course, Iowa Irish Fest, Jameson’s Public House, Matthias Landscaping, and Vanderloo Chiropractic.

Additional thanks go to Print Innovations for the great signage, and for donating food for the event, thank you to Tyson Fresh Meats, Vienna Beef, and Monster Cookies & More. Thanks to Bob & Pat Morris for cooking the pulled pork and to Lila Morris & Nancy Mitchell for baking chocolate cakes for the event.

Special thanks go to Steege’s Meat Market, Popcorn Heaven, Hy-Vee, and Catering by Dee who were present to share some tasty treats with the golfers. And, thank you to our additional donors, including; 4 Queens, Kwik Star, McDonald’s, Sam’s Club, Trio Salon Spa, VGM Group, and Waterloo Community Playhouse.

Kudos to Nate Lubs and the staff at Gates Park for hosting an outstanding event; by all reports, everyone enjoyed a day full of fun, fellowship, games and prizes, food, and of course - golf! Thanks to everyone’s generosity more than $30,000 was raised.

Next year’s golf outing will be July 26, 2019. Hope to see you there!

Meet North Star's New Executive Director

With the retirement of long-time Executive Director, Mark Witmer, Valerie L. Schwager joined the agency on June 11th. She is only the fifth Executive Director in North Star's 43-year history.

Valerie comes to North Star from Link Associates in West Des Moines, a large agency providing similar services to the ones provided by North Star. Valerie has 20 years of experience supporting people with disabilities, and was previously Link Associates’ Director of Supported Living, overseeing the supported community living, day habilitation, and employment services programs. Valerie says that she “is honored to uphold North Star’s mission to empower each person to realize potential, pursue dreams, and enjoy life.”

Outside of her professional endeavors, Valerie focuses her time on her husband, Dale, two sons, Karver and Kristopher, and dog, Everett. She has a degree in psychology from the University of Iowa.

Jay Schares, North Star’s board president stated, “Mark was an incredible asset to North Star for 25+ years. The board is grateful for his leadership and guidance through the years. Although he will be missed, we look forward to having Valerie lead us into the future. She brings valuable experience and a unique understanding of the current environment surrounding services to those with disabilities. Valerie is a dedicated advocate and we are excited to have her lead North Star!”

Welcome, Valerie!

Did you know Waverly Center has a bell choir?

Several participants from North Star's Waverly Center perform bell choir concerts around the Bremer County area. A new fun facet to the shows is the addition of an "iPad Band," in which participants use the iPad to play different instrumental sounds. They are led by North Star staff member, Ray Dixon. The Bell Choir/iPad Band typically perform at different Christmas events, and also visit a few nursing homes throughout the year. If you are interested, you can schedule the Bell Choir to perform for your program at any time during the year. Contact the Waverly Center at 319-352-1425 for more information, or to schedule a performance.

If you haven't visited North Star's blog, you should check it out today!

North Star’s blog is entitled “See Through our Eyes.” [click here to see it]

This blog is different, because it is being written (or dictated) by the men and women with disabilities who participate in programs at North Star. Each entry is about anything the person wants to share with others.

Since disability is really just another part of the human experience, it is our hope that through these postings you will be able to step outside of your own world, and perhaps learn a little bit about someone else’s life. What you discover may surprise you!

In a quote taken from a song by rap artist, DMX, “Look through my eyes, see what I do, be what I be, walk in my shoes.” That is what we hope that this project will accomplish – allowing other people to see things from a new point of view and demonstrating that no matter what our abilities, we are really more alike than we are different.