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Despite Covid-19, Life Styles’ Launch students shouldered on with enthusiasm and devotion this academic year, aided by Zoom and other technology tools. Serah Jeppsen is one of five Launch students to celebrate their completion of the 3-year program at a special graduation ceremony tonight.

Says Launch teacher Kendra Wilchowski, “Launch is going to look a lot different without the ray of sunshine that is Serah Ruth Jeppsen. She’s an incredible student who came to school and did her work and completed what was asked of her—but more importantly she invested in her peers and interns and teachers in ways that always left them feeling seen and heard and loved.”

Now that she’s completed her Launch coursework with flying colors, Serah will start a new chapter of her life as she relocates to the Alabama shore full-time with her family. Always optimistic, Serah is embracing the big move with open arms: “I like it there so much,” she says, gushing about the beach and the seashells and the day she got to feed a baby kangaroo from a bottle.

Equipped with the 35mm camera her mother recently gave her, Serah is blossoming into an accomplished photographer, capturing images of the new sights in her new hometown. She hopes to parlay the talent into one of three part-time jobs: working as a photographer and massage therapist Monday through Friday and putting in hours as a dee-jay on the weekends.

That trademark exuberance has left a lasting impression at Life Styles. “She's more than a student, she is a friend,” says Kendra, “and I will miss her dearly.” Returning the compliment, Serah says she’ll miss all her Life Styles friends ("especially Sawyer and his funny jokes"), and swears she’ll be back to visit. We will hold her to that promise.
As we celebrate our Launch graduates tonight, we're lucky to count as two enthusiastic program advocates Gary and Julia Thorn, whose son Andrew is a star student. “Andrew has really enjoyed Launch,” says Julia, “it’s an excellent program that teaches a lot of useful life skills.”

Also excellent is the news that—after 15 years on the waitlist—24-year-old Andrew is slated to become eligible for Medicaid Waiver benefits any day now, enduring an incredibly long delay that is unfortunately par for the course. Statistics like his are just one reason programs for people with intellectual and development disabilities need funding, advocacy, and attention. “We’re frustrated it’s taken so long to get off the wait list, but cautiously optimistic the wait will be over soon,” Julia says.

In the meantime, Andrew continues to grow in independence: Learning new skills, hanging with friends, and living independently in Life Styles housing. Like many parents of young adults, Andrew’s mom and dad report, proudly but perhaps somewhat wistfully: “He really enjoys not having to live at home!”  
General contractors specializing in roofing and the repair of water/mold/fire/wind damage, Pruden Restoration—and the entire Pruden family—have supported Life Styles in a multitude of ways through the years.

In 2017, when the Blair Center sustained extreme water damage after a flood, Pruden Restoration refurbished our beloved art facility to its pristine condition, at no charge! These days it’s the Blair Center roof that needs repair, and Pruden Restoration is assisting with that major endeavor as well. They have expertly executed several apartment remodels on Linda Jo Circle, as well as a number of other projects on the Life Styles campus.

That said, their generosity is not limited to construction: Not only are they regular attendees at all Life Styles events, but in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, Joel and Matt Pruden showed up at the Stensgaard Center with a (literal) truckload of health and beauty product donations for Life Styles clients.

We are so fortunate to count this generous family as Life Styles supporters.
Life Styles enthusiastically supports individuals with disabilities in reaching their full potential as contributing members of the community.

We are always grateful for donations in support of our mission:
Our mailing address is: 2590 West Sycamore | POB 1114, Fayetteville, AR  72702
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