Monthly Archives

November 2019

Wake Robin Wins 2019 Workforce Innovation Award

By | News

Wake Robin HR Director Anne Levesque accepts the Workforce Innovation Award from the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce

We are extremely excited to announce that Wake Robin was honored as The 2019 Workforce Innovation Award recipient during the 109th Annual Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce Dinner. This was the first year The Workforce Innovation Award had been presented and Wake Robin was honored to be one of many organizations to be nominated.  Human Resources Director Anne Levesque accepted the award and shared with the audience some thoughts on the many creative efforts the Wake Robin community consistently realize.

Anne Levesque poses with Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger, LCRCC Chair of the Board of Directors Kurt Gruendling, Vermont Lt. Governor David Zuckerman, U.S. Congressman Peter Welch, Kim Anderson, and Vermont Governor Phil Scott and others at the Lake Champlain Chamber of Commerce annual awards dinner.

The Chamber’s press release on VT Digger described the Workforce Innovation Award as celebrating a “business that is ahead of the curve in retaining and building their future workforce, recognizing achievements in diversity and inclusion, employee retention and training, collaboration with other institutions and businesses, and innovative practices that benefit their employees, and in turn our community.” Wake Robin’s unique performance reviews, described as  “Job Talk”, and its on-campus opportunities to advance skills, were just a few of the reasons The Chamber delivered the 2019 Workforce Innovation Award to Vermont’s only nonprofit Life Plan Community.

We’re grateful for the recognition and will continue to develop innovative ways to attract employees and residents to our caring community. Congratulations to a fantastic, hard-working team!

HR Director Anne Levesque delivers Wake Robin’s acceptance speech

What’s in a Name? The Origin Story of “Wake Robin”

By | Blog

Before Wake Robin became Wake Robin, it was just an idea of two visionaries.

They may not have known it in 1983, but Wake Robin founders Stokes and Mary Jane Gentry began planting seeds that, years later, would blossom into Vermont’s only nonprofit Life Plan Community.

The story goes like this.  Stokes and Mary Jane were returning from their 30th reunion weekend at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. During their stay, they visited nearby CCRCs that were guided by Quaker principles. The Gentrys were deeply impressed, and they both agreed that it would be “wonderful to have something like this in Vermont!” So began the challenging journey toward Wake Robin.

Entrance sign to the community

Back in Vermont, Stokes and Mary Jane gathered like-minded people to form the Founding Committee. The group of 32 people began conducting research, exploring the different models of CCRCs, and sending out surveys to gauge interest.

The Committee’s hard work paid off. They generated the Founding Principles which still shape Wake Robin today. Perhaps no more important was the first principle: “Belief in the dignity, independence, and worth of each individual.”

By 1985, the Committee received 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation status from the IRS. A series of important tasks lay ahead. But before they could get ahead of themselves, they had to name the nascent community.

From the recent publication, What’s Next? The Continuing Journey of the Wake Robin Life Care Community, by Lynn Bond and Jacqueline Weinstock, the origin story is chronicled as thus: “the Founding Committee devoted great care and much thought to naming their new nonprofit corporation.” The founding members connected strongly to nature and environmental values, and so they wanted to have a place-based name that correlated to the experience of the Vermont landscape.

Why the name Wake Robin?

The founders foreshadowed the emphasis we have on active aging today. For, in keeping with a naturalist approach, they selected “Wake Robin” as the community’s name. A red variety of the trillium plant, Wake Robin are among the first wildflowers that blanket the forest floor in spring. The founders were not interested in making this a retirement community, but rather, like the trillium plant itself, as a community of new growth.

The Wake Robin trillium, first sign of spring!

Wake Robin founding member Cathy Yandell, explained the name choice this way: “[We] felt that the bond between people and plants was indeed a strong one – that the carpets of trillium, white and red, together with the name Wake Robin could carry the message of spring throughout the year.”

So even as we approach the winter months, among residents there remains a strong conviction in growth and renewal. It is the essential Wake Robin way.