I’ve had the distinct pleasure of being with Lakemary for 40 years. Our mission and the work we do each day is simple, empowering children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to achieve their individual potential. We do this through our programming, our exceptional staff, our 32-acre campus in Paola, as well as locations in Olathe.  Lakemary was founded in 1969 by the Ursuline Sisters in Paola who recognized the need for a school for children with disabilities. Over our 53-year history, our programs have expanded, and we now care for children and adults from 5 years of age to over 80 years of age. This expansion of services has also demanded that our campus grow to better serve our adults and children.

We are delighted to have Straub join our Lakemary family as together we create a new space for our children and staff!

It feels great to be looking forward to something like the new building on our Paola campus. We have learned a great deal through the past few “COVID years” and have had to pivot when needed to serve our adults and children. We have had to change on a dime while keeping our adults and children safe and secure. This hasn’t been easy in any way, given our staff was also faced with COVID personally and at home. I have seen staff volunteer to stay with someone in our care for many days and forego going home to be with their own family. I’ve seen our organization step up more than ever before to care for our adults, children and each other.

Like many employers across the country, we have also faced the labor shortage issue. Lakemary runs 24/7 and 365 days a year – we never shut down because we provide round-the-clock support for the over 450 people we serve annually.  Providing high-quality care is the backbone of our organization and I have seen our staff step up like never before over the past 2 + years. This pattern is starting to turn as we have many new employees each week joining our team. I have the privilege of meeting every new employee on their first day with Lakemary and I am seeing outstanding and excited people joining our team.

I look back at the past couple of years and how an organization the size of Lakemary had to adapt to the challenges of COVID. I also see an organization that continued to focus on our mission each day and providing high-quality care to those we serve.  As I look forward, the Lakemary team is looking forward to the new building on our Paola campus and the new programs that are launching this year. COVID hasn’t gone away by any means, however, our team has learned to navigate through it with strong teamwork and unparalleled dedication to our children and adults.

Kirk Davis, Vice President of Lakemary Center