A Well-Rounded Life:
Several decades ago, as a Board member of Michigan Chefs de Cuisine, I became involved in organizing annual fund raising dinners for Community Living Centers (CLC). From the start it seemed to be a very worthy event to do to help the mentally handicapped. I had the opportunity to meet Mary Wagner, the founder of CLC. I mentioned to her that we also had a handicapped daughter and asked her about a possible enrollment later.
When I mentioned that to my wife, she was adamantly against it. Typically, mamas do not want to lose a grip on their babies. So it took some convincing of both my wife and my daughter Michelle. They eventually agreed that after an interview, Michelle would spend a long weekend in a CLC home, without commitment, so she could observe what was going on there. We felt that interaction between her and the residents was important.
Chef Milos with his wife and daughter
To our amazement, Michelle returned home absolutely enthusiastic about moving to the home. Yes, she definitely wanted to live there! Since that time, she never asked to come back home, except for brief visits with family members.
What most people do not realize is that mentally handicapped have enormous affinity toward each other and love to be in a company of those who are similarly affected. We have witnessed this many times.
Since we are satisfied with the service CLC provides, we were never interested to work with any other organizations who serve the mentally handicapped. The executive director of CLC, Lisa Murrell, is extremely capable and hardworking, in addition to having a golden heart! Her officers reflect her dedication and so do the staff of the homes.
~Chef Milos Cihelka
A Mother’s Gratitude:
“I am writing this letter as a testimonial to explain how much Community Living Centers (CLC) has meant to my son and family. Steve Marlin has been deceased for many years and there is not a day I don’t thank CLC for the loving care he received. CLC enabled Steve to have a fulfilling life with his peers, which was a life his very loving family could not provide.
Margaret with her son, Steve
I have been a long time supporter of CLC both during Steve’s life and the years following his death. My daughter and her family have also been strong supporters. I encourage more friends of CLC to be as generous as possible and to continue to support this exceptional organization.
I have always felt that Mary Wagner and CLC were heaven sent. They have given the Marlin family a wonderful life.”
“CLC provides transportation for me, we go to movies, we have parties; like movie parties with popcorn at Freedom House. They help me pay for stuff, like the wheelchair I have and I got my braces. I go to Bible study. CLC helps me pick out good doctors and staff go with me to the doctor visit.
Muriel, a CLC client
I went on vacation this year to Virginia Beach with my housemates. My favorite part was the dolphins. We went on a boat and saw them swimming.
I am glad I have CLC. My favorite thing about CLC is playing cards with my friends and the Dinner Dance.”
“I love my house. I would like to live here forever. I take good care of my house. I keep it clean and neat. I love all of my staff and I do listen carefully. God loves you. Peace be with you always.”
Carol, a CLC client, and House Manager Arleen
“For all the years Carol has been with CLC, she has always been happy. Despite all the love, attention and fun things we do at home, she still prefers her CLC home. Am I unhappy? Not at all. She seems to have found her niche in life. Her jolly attitude proves it! I’ve seen her blossom through the years. The CLC staff, residents and parent involvement makes it a complete circle so we parents know what is happening. The CLC staff does a fantastic job! My gratitude and blessings.”
~ Marion Karpen (Carol’s mother)
“I would like to thank the CLC staff for all their support, from the staff at the house and the office. The CLC company is loving and kind. I don’t worry about anything. I am very happy living at my CLC home.”
Michelle, a CLC client (left), with a friend and fellow CLC client
“I like CLC. It is a really nice place to live. My staff takes me to the places I need to go. I am very thankful for all the things CLC does for us.”
Charles, a CLC client
Skill Building & So Much More:
“When Mike first joined the CLC family he moved around to several houses so he could learn the skills he needed to move into Southfield Apartments.
As a family we always gave a lot of thought about Mike’s future. It scared us half to death when we turned him over to (so to speak) CLC so that he could continue on to become all that he could be. Words are easy to come by to describe Mike’s life, but feelings – that’s another matter.
Mike, a CLC client, with CLC Human Resources Director Jeremy
To know that he is on one of the best adult residential settings there is, gives our family peace and comfort you can’t put into words. So here are the words that are left. Thank you to the entire office staff for all you do above and beyond the call of duty on a daily basis. Thank you for your warmth and TLC you show the entire CLC family. From our heart to yours.”
~ Sharon Czapinski (Mike’s mother)
“Our family had a difficult time accepting the fact that it was time for my sister Mary to be placed in a group home after it became apparent that our aging mother was no longer able to care for her at home. After all, Mary had spent her whole life (50 years!) living at home with our parents.
Mary, a CLC client
It wasn’t easy for us to move Mary to CLC, but now, several years later, we know it was the right move to make, and at the right time. The staff at her home made Mary’s transition into group home living much easier than we had ever imagined it would be. Mary is very happy there, and now has a much busier social life than she would ever have had living at home with mom!
We continue to be extremely grateful that CLC was (and still is) there when we needed them!”
~ Peggy (Mary’s sister)