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The Edna Weber "Garden of Light" Wing

June 09, 2016

By Jon Labaschin, Major Gifts and Planned Giving Officer

I have worked within the Chicago philanthropic community for more than 20 years. In that time, I have met some of the most noted names that have given, in some cases, millions of dollars to charity. Some are perhaps are a little more gracious than others. Some have demonstrated a humility and civility that would surprise the majority of us.

I can honestly say that it has been one of my great privileges to work with Dr. Arnold (“Arnie”) Weber to raise funds for the Edna Weber “Garden of Light” Wing at the House of Welcome. I did not know Edna Weber, Dr. Weber’s wife, but I have learned from him what devotion truly is. Edna and Arnie were married for more than 60 years. Their love for each other is why novels are written. Unfortunately, Edna fell victim to Alzheimer’s . . . to which there is no escape.

Edna came to the House of Welcome in 2008 and participated there for many years. Arnie, to this day, feels that the House of Welcome is not just a sterile edifice where people come and go. Both Edna and Arnie felt that those who administered to the participants at the House of Welcome generated a sense of caring and tenderness that transcended mere daily routine. Edna looked forward to coming to the House of Welcome. Sadly, Edna succumbed to the ravages of Alzheimer’s in 2014.

North Shore Senior Center is proud to honor her memory by establishing the Edna Weber “Garden of Light” Wing at the House of Welcome. Edna Weber’s passion (besides her love for Arnie) was gardening. Indeed, while Arnie was the President of Northwestern University, Edna occupied her time by making sure that the landscape of Northwestern was dotted with thriving gardens.

What better way to remember Edna Weber than utilizing horticultural activities at the House of Welcome? Gardening activities are among the best ways to improve the emotional state of participants with dementia. Tending to plants decreases anxiety, creating and maintaining a garden engages gross motor skills. Furthermore, sitting in a garden setting offers mental and sensory stimulation.

Gardening also creates a powerful connection to the past. The Edna Weber “Garden of Light” Wing at the House of Welcome will support participants’ involvement in meaningful gardening activities, designed to enhance their sense of well-being.

The Officers and Board of Directors of North Shore Senior Center wish to extend our sincere thanks to Arnold Weber for helping to develop the House of Welcome’s Edna Weber “Garden of Light” Wing. People with memory loss and their families can benefit from North Shore Senior Center’s House of Welcome Adult Day Services, providing specialized programs for memory loss for people with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.

The House of Welcome’s day program offers structured therapeutic, small-group activities in a comfortable, homelike setting. Participants with early, as well as more advanced memory loss, enjoy meaningful activities and friendships, while caregivers benefit from time to themselves.

We have all learned so much from Arnold Weber. His wit, his keen intellect and his almost inexhaustible energy, even at 87, have made it a privilege to know him.

We hope that you will support the Edna Weber “Garden of Light” Wing at the House of Welcome with a generous donation. Should you have any questions about the project, please feel free to contact me at 847.784.6020 or jlabaschin@nssc.org.