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Starling Community Services.

Strengthening Lives for 50 Years

John Colangeli, CEO, Lutherwood

The year 2020 has been a particularly memorable one for us so far. We began with high hopes and many plans for celebrating our semi-centennial anniversary. Sadly, COVID-19 had other plans as the global pandemic shook the world. As we continue to traverse these difficult waters together, I still want to take this time to reflect on our incredible past, take stock of what we have accomplished in the present, and look ahead to an even brighter future.

Fifty years of service is an incredible milestone only made possible by the efforts of hundreds of people in our community; from staff to board members, from clients to students and from volunteers to donors. Each person brought their caring hearts to the table and put their trust in us to walk alongside us in making our community stronger.

Founded in June of 1970, Lutherwood has grown, thrived and achieved great success. In our first year we opened to support 14 teenage boys who were struggling with their mental health. Last year we provided children’s mental health, employment, housing, and seniors’ services to more than 19,600 people in Waterloo Region and Wellington County.

Starting my career here in 1989, I have seen four decades of that growth. In the 1990s we merged with CODA and Cambridge Interfaith to expand our employment and counselling work, and the construction of Luther Village on the Park enabled us to support seniors. In the 2000s we expanded our flagship Children’s Mental Health Center in Waterloo and further expanded our employment services. And most recently, we have expanded the wonderful work our Housing Services team does to help people who are homeless or at risk of being homeless.

These are just a few highlights in a vast sea of accomplishments Lutherwood has achieved with the help of our community.

Visit Lutherwood's special 50th anniversary website: Celebrating 50 Years

Whether you are a current or past staff member, donor or volunteer, something magical happens when a group of people with the hearts of servants who genuinely care for and want to help others comes together to form something greater than themselves, and we have seen that magic over these past five decades.

With your help, I hope the next 50 years will turn those hundreds of people we have engaged in our community into thousands as we continue to grow and support our community. Whether it is through our work in children’s mental health, employment, housing or at Luther Village on the Park, we are all doing different things but working towards a common vision, which is an incredible thing to witness.

As a friend of Lutherwood, we hope you will continue to help us strengthen lives for the next 50 years. I encourage you to explore the 50th Anniversary section of our website to learn more about Lutherwood and to be part of our celebration as we begin the next 50 years of strengthening lives in our community.

"With the help of Lutherwood, I will be heading back to school next week and hopefully starting a new career once my course is complete! I highly recommend Lutherwood for assistance in finding employment or information on training or heading back to school!"