Celebrating Extraordinary Stories

Lifeworks Services is an amazing nonprofit organization that gives opportunities to people with disabilities. Each year they host the Lifeworks Annual Celebration. This gala event celebrates these individuals as well as raises funds for the organization. Since 2012, Crystal D has proudly donated stunning crystal awards to this event. As a result, Lifeworks Services invites some of our Memory Makers to attend.

Lifeworks Annual CelebrationLifeworks Services honored six winners at the event this year:

  • Advocate of the Year Lori Koutsky works at Securian Financial. She’s been an advocate for hiring Lifeworks employees over the past 25 years.
  • Staff Excellence winner Sandy Sanders has been running an art program at Lifeworks for the past 18 years. She focuses on the strengths of her students and gives them a chance to discover their talents.
  • Employer of the Year Travelers has been a partner with Lifeworks since 1997. They have created an internship in the Business Resource Center where Lifeworks employees process thousands of legal documents for attorneys to access. After completing the internship, there is often a possibility for full-time work in the department.

There were three Personal Achievement winners. These three women are Lifeworks employees in the Twin Cities. The valuable contributions they make to their communities are unprecedented.  

  • Kari Hill is a full-time employee at Securian Financial. Her strong work ethic and caring attitude make her a valuable employee. She’s also the first to jump on special projects.
  • Donna Buzay has been a part of the team at the St. Paul Police Department for more than a decade. Her can-do attitude and positive work ethic have led her to create a welcoming space for her coworkers. She trains new employees on how to properly and efficiently complete their tasks.
  • Teal Paape is an employee at Panera Bread. She has always had her sight set on working in the restaurant industry. With her high confidence level, she has completed numerous employment trainings, shadowed multiple jobs, and built her skill set. Her passion is anti-bullying, and she has been a strong voice in the community about ending bullying.

Last year, I got the chance to talk to some of our Memory Makers about attending the event, so I was excited to hear from the group that went this year.

“It was emotional seeing the recipients win their awards,” said Matt, one of our customer service specialists. “I’ve never been to a ceremony like that before. Seeing every winner smile, laugh, and cry really touched me. Knowing I had a small part in creating the award was a cool feeling as well.”

Lifeworks Annual Celebration“I loved seeing the emotion from Kari when she won her award,” said Jen, one of our marketing coordinators. “She was so touched that she couldn’t even give her speech. That’s the kind of emotion that I love hearing about from people who win our awards. I also really loved seeing Teal’s confidence on stage. She was so proud of her accomplishment, and her speech was really well written. She’s so inspiring!”

The Annual Celebration was also a fundraiser. Between sponsorships, a live auction, a transportation donation, and a silent art auction, Lifeworks was able to raise $575,000 which is more than any other year prior. These donations help with transportation costs, art programs, bands and choirs, and educational summits, among other services.

It’s wonderful to know that Crystal D is leaving an impact on such an important organization and the people it supports. We’re all about Turning Emotions Into Memories!™ and our Memory Makers could really feel the emotions at this event. If you’d like to learn more about Lifeworks, check out their website here. And to see more photos from the event, check out their Flickr album here.

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