Annual Awards a HUGE Success!


(above is a picture of Susan Rinne, our CEO, with the 2013-2014 LIFEDesigns’ Board of Directors. Pictured here from left to right: (front row) Rachelle Bennett, Kara Raegan, Susan Rinne, Vonnie Peischl, Ginger Thomas (back row) Becky Wann, Aaron Smith, Jim Krause, Brian O’Neill, Logan Good, Michael Carmin, Jennie Todd. Not pictured: Fred Roedl, Bill Atkinson.)

LIFEDesigns Celebrates the Accomplishments of
Employees, Customers and Volunteers at the 2014 Annual Awards Celebration

LIFEDesigns, Inc. is pleased to announce that its Annual Awards Ceremony was held on May 28th at the Seasons Lodge in Nashville, IN. With more than 200 people in attendance, it was a huge success! These supporters came together to demonstrate a commitment to partnering with people with disabilities to bring about self-directed and enriched lives by offering opportunities for people to work and live in communities that are inclusive. 


Adria Nassim, Adria’s Village

At the event, LIFEDesigns celebrated the success of the agency and accomplishments of staff, customers, volunteers, donors and community members in 2013. The theme for the evening was T.E.A.M. – Together Everyone Achieves More. Guest Speaker, Adria Nassim of Adria’s Village, spoke about keeping the individual with the disability at the forefront of all decision making. Our customers are always the main focus of the team. Adria said, “There IS an “I” in team…it’s me!” as she rallied everyone in the room to always remember to keep the focus on the person with the disability that the team is there to support. She directed her comments to parents first, then staff, then the individuals themselves. She spoke about the “toolkit” everyone who works with people with disabilities should have, emphasizing that communicating and listening to the person is the most important tool. Adria has autism and has a B.A. in Marketing. She works in marketing currently and also speaks to many different audiences about how they can support individuals like her. To find out more about Adria and the work she does or to book her for a speaking engagement or a training, please visit her website: You can also find her on Facebook by searching for Adria’s Village.

Many people were recognized for the work they did with and for LIFEDesigns in 2013. The winners of this year’s LIFEDesigns Awards were:

  • Optimism Award – Patty Parker
  • Lois Edwards Memorial Award- Bryan Hall
  • Community Service Awards – Jake May and Brandi Hamilton
  • Day-Morgan Employee Recognition Award- Matt Brookshire
  • DSP of the Year Award – Allison Strang
  • Supervisor of the Year Award – Caitlyn Bryan
  • Team of the Year Award – Fairlawn
  • Bob Magee Volunteer of the Year Memorial Award- Nancy Szakaly

Becky Wann

LIFEDesigns’ Stewardship Award went to Becky Wann. Becky is a local RE/MAX realtor in town who has graciously donated her professional assistance on the purchase of our Winslow office in 2013. She was instrumental in that transaction and it would not have been completed without her. She was also a sponsor of the LIFEDesigns Homeward Bound Walk Team. Becky was also one of the founding members of the Art of Chocolate, LIFEDesigns’ largest annual fundraising. She has stayed involved with that event ever since its inception. She is a board member, currently the Treasurer, and has been a strong supporter for many years. Her continued support of LIFEDesigns and our customers shows her dedication to our agency and the work we do in our communities.

LIFEDesigns celebrated the service of many staff members, including Susan Rinne, Nancy Crandall, Joseph Connor and Andrew Scheerer, who each received awards for 15 years of service. Lori Nei, Timothy Baer, Erwin Punzalan and Lisa VanDeventer, each received awards for 10 years of service. There were more than 30 people who received awards for 5 years of service and more than 20 people who received awards for 2 years of service. There were more than 100 people, including customers, staff and volunteers who received Certificates of Excellence for being nominated to receive an award and showing excellence in 2013.


Logan Good

The evening was sponsored exclusively by Logan Good, registered representative of Western and Southern Life. Logan is a board member and strong supporter of the work LIFEDesigns does in the community with individuals with disabilities. Thanks Logan!

CONTACT: Susan Rinne, or 800-875-9615 for more information or to schedule interviews with awards winners or staff. Pictures of the event will also available upon request or also on Facebook!

DUE May 12th – Nominations for Awards


We want to say THANK YOU!

1635Nominate customers, staff and volunteers to recognize them for the work they have done for us in 2013:

LIFEDesigns’ Annual Awards Nomination Form 2014 and Awards Guidelines and Descriptions 2014

And don’t forget to mark your calendars for our Annual Awards Ceremony held in Nashville, IN at the Season Lodge Wednesday, May 28th! Dinner will be served buffet style at 6:00pm and the Program will begin at 6:45pm. This year we will have special guest Adira Nassim.

It is time to recognize the people who have been instrumental in LIFEDesigns’ success this past year. Have you nominated someone yet?

This year’s LIFEDesigns Annual Awards Ceremony 2014 will be held in
Nashville, IN at The Seasons Lodge on Wednesday, May 28th at 6:00pm

An invitation will follow shortly, but right now we need your help nominating customers, staff and volunteers for the work they have done in 2013 for LIFEDesigns.

Please review the nomination form and think about those individuals who have made a difference to LIFEDesigns. Nominate as many people as you’d like by making copies of the form, filling it out completely for each nominee, and returning it to LIFEDesigns by Friday, May 9, 2014 EXTENDED to Monday, May 12th! Remember, all nominees will be recognized during the Annual Awards Ceremony. LIFEDesigns Leadership Team, a group comprised of customers, Direct Service Professionals, and other staff members will appoint a sub-committee to review the nominations and determine which nominees shall receive the awards.

The link to the form is above. Please save the form to your computer and then e-mail it as an attachment to srinne (at) You can also bring it to LIFEDesigns at 200 E. Winslow Rd, Bloomington, IN 47401 or 1531 13th St., Suite 2530, Columbus, IN 47201. You may also fax forms to LIFEDesigns at (812) 332-1186. Nomination forms are DUE no later than Friday, May 9th EXTENDED to Monday, May 12th!

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us via phone at (800) 875-9615. You may also e-mail your questions of concerns to Suzi at srinne (at) Thanks in advance for helping us identify the volunteers, staff, and customers who deserve some extra special attention!

With appreciation,

Leslie Abshier, Development

March is Disability Awareness Month


March is Disability Awareness Month in Indiana.

Each March, Disability Awareness Month is celebrated throughout Indiana. And given that adults and children with disabilities represent slightly more than 19 percent of Indiana’s population, disability awareness is important for all of us. Led by the Indiana Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities, the goal of Disability Awareness Month is to increase awareness and promote independence, integration and inclusion of all people with disabilities. The Council develops a unique theme for this annual event and produces campaign materials that are available free of charge to Hoosiers who want to help make a difference.

The 2014 campaign theme is “Dream to Dare,” which inspires and encourages all of us to challenge each other to rethink and revitalize our communities. This year’s poster uses a simple, but meaningful, poem to frame our attitudes toward what we all want to achieve—communities that are sustainable, accessible, economically viable and encourage civic and social engagement for all. The text at the bottom of the poster challenges us to “be a force in our community” by learning more about smart growth as we rethink and revitalize our communities.

This is the 24th year for Disability Awareness Month. Won’t you join thousands of advocates and people with disabilities across the state by conducting community-based activities? Activities include events such as mayoral proclamations; art and essay contests; and awareness campaigns in schools, businesses and government agencies. See a list of activities below and contact information for how YOU can get involved!

Thanks in advance for your efforts to help raise awareness and understanding of disability issues in your home, business, school or neighborhood!

Events during the month of March and April to celebrate!

  • Spread the Word to End the Word – March 5th, 2014 – take the pledge today at
  • 2014 Diversity Works Business Recognition Ceremony – March 27th, 2014 – 2:00 pm to 3:30pm – Fountain Square Ballroom. Eleven area businesses will be honored for outstanding support of employment for individuals with disabilities in our community over the past year. This event is free. See the honorees and more information on the invitation here.
  • Living with Autism: Diagnosis, Education & Treatment – April 1st, 2014 – 4:00 pm to 6:00pm – City Hall Council Chambers. A panel discussion will take place moderated by LIFEDesigns CEO Susan Rinne. This event is free. Light refreshments will be served. See panelists and more information on the poster here.
  • LIFEDesigns is hosting a drawing and essay contest for students in Kindergarten through 8th grade. Are you a student? Please contact your teacher for more information about how you can participate. Are you an educator? Please contact Leslie Abshier, labshier (at) or 812-332-9615 ext: 218, to find out how your students can participate.
  • Do you want someone from LIFEDesigns to come present to your employees about disability awareness? Please contact Leslie Abshier, labshier (at) or 812-332-9615 ext: 218, to find out how you can book us for a FREE inclusion and disability awareness educational training on your schedule at your place of work.

Also, follow us on Twitter, “Like!” us on Facebook and read our *NEW* blog to learn more about disabilities and what is going on this month to bring awareness to our communities!

“Cheers” to you!


Donor Reception eInvitation 2014

LIFEDesigns‘ 2014 Donor Reception is this Thursday, January 30th 5pm to 7pm at Oliver Winery’s downtown Bloomington location on the square.

Have you donated to LIFEDesigns in 2013? Did you attend the Art of Chocolate? If so, we want to celebrate the work your donations accomplished this past year. Come mingle with other supporters of LIFEDesigns and enjoy hors d’oeuvres and wine courtesy of Oliver Winery and LIFEDesigns. You will learn about what your generous contributions made possible in the lives of the people with disabilities LIFEDesigns serves.

Thank you for giving and please join us this Thursday, January 30th from 5:00pm to 7:00pm for our 2014 Donor Reception.


Week of chocolate Logo (2)

The Week of Chocolate 2014 is finally here!!

January 25th – 31st, 2014

Join us! More at or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
#weekofchocolate #chocolateforacause #WOC2014

Sundaes on Saturday
Saturday, January 25th 2013 at 1:00pm to 4:00pm
Benefiting The Monroe County Historical Society, Inc.
Held at the Monroe County History Center – 202 East 6th Street, Bloomington, IN 47408
Admission is the museum admission: Adults $2, Children age 6-17 $1, Members free. A FREE sundae will be given with admission.

Each year the Monroe County History Center invites you to join them to design your own sundaes with Hartzel’s Ice Cream and lots of chocolate toppings.  Attendees will learn the history of ice cream making, and enjoy old-time music. The museum abounds with activities from Monroe County’s past.  Guests can also be a part of the 1880’s living history interpretations in the museum’s log cabin and one-room school.  The History Center is a great place to enjoy the historical exhibits and let Monroe County History come alive. Learn more about the Monroe County History Center at

 The Art of Chocolate Gala
Sunday, January 26th 2013 at 5:30pm to 8:00pm
Benefiting LIFEDesigns, Inc.
Held at the Indiana University Art Museum – 1133 E. 7th Street, Bloomington, IN 47405
Admission is $40 pre-sale. Student tickets are $35 pre-sale. ALL TICKETS will be $50 at the door.
Tickets available at LIFEDesigns, all Bloomingfoods locations and BCT Box Office.

*SPECIAL GUEST* Del Sroufe, “Forks Over Knives” Cookbook author will be featured at the event

This year the 10th Annual Art of Chocolate Gala will be better than ever! The Art of Chocolate Gala is an elegant evening filled with decadent hors d’oeuvres and chocolate creations from the finest local chefs such as Scholar’s Inn, Peacetree Mountain Truffles, Underground Cupcakes and Cafe, The Rail, Big Woods Brewery, Joan’s Caramels, Rainbow Bakery, IMU, and more! Beverages from Oliver Winery, KRC, Angles Cafe and Malibu Grill will also be served. Entertainment provided by IU Jacobs School Vocal Performance Alumnus Rusty Shields will fill the air and entertain guests as they browse the silent auction. The Art of Chocolate’s unique silent auction has an art theme! Along with more traditional silent auction items (i.e. vacation packages, event tickets and restaurant gift certificates), the evening will feature a variety of visual artwork by local artists. The sale of all artwork in the Art of Chocolate silent auction will benefit both LIFEDesigns (40% of the sale) and the artist (60% of the sale). This is a great way to help support local artists in our community and LIFEDesigns! Artwork is on display for sale throughout Bloomington NOW at the Showers Building, Lennie’s restaurant, all Bloomingfoods locations, local salons, various medical offices, and other locations around town. Want to buy art you have seen around town? Contact Leslie Abshier at LIFEDesigns at or 812-332-9615 ext: 218 to discuss your purchasing interests. The world famous IU Art Museum galleries are also open for viewing that evening. Votes for People’s Choice for chefs and artwork will take place as well as many other new surprises this year! Maybe there will even be a model this year…but you’ll have to come and see! Come join us at the Art of Chocolate Gala 2014! Learn more about LIFEDesigns at or by calling 800-875-9615

Chocolate Bingo
Monday, January 27th 2013 at 6:00pm to 10:00pm
Benefiting the Bloomington Moose Lodge #1081
Held at the Bloomington Moose Lodge #1081 – 840 S. Cory Ln., Bloomington, IN 47403
Basic package was $20

The Moose Lodge is having it’s annual special night of bingo, with a chocolate theme! With each winning bingo, the lucky players will be rewarded with cash and a delicious chocolate treat. As always, Bingo players enjoyed a scrumptious meal with drinks made to order. Friends and family, people of all ages are invited to come out to the Moose to experience Moose hospitality and play bingo to help a good cause! The Moose donates proceeds to charity. Learn more about the Bloomington Moose Lodge at

 Posh Ganache
Wednesday, January 29th 2013 at 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Benefiting Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard
Held at Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard – 1100 W. Allen St. Suite A, Bloomington, IN 47403
Admission fee is $45.00 per person

Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard is a new participating agency in the line up for the Week of Chocolate in 2014! To add a wonderful dimension to the week’s events the agency will host a class called “Posh Ganache”. The class includes preparing, dipping, and rolling truffles. Participants will take home samples of each and enjoy appetizers and sip Oliver wine while learning the art of truffle making! Learn more about Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard at

Chocolate Prom: A Prom for Everyone
Friday, January 31st 2014 at 8:00pm to 11:00pm
Benefiting Rhino’s
Held at Rhino’s Youth Center and All-Ages Club – 331 S. Walnut St., Bloomington, IN 47401
Admission is $10 per person or $15 per couple

Put on your best threads, grab your dancing shoes , invite all your friends, and bring your sweetheart to an event made especially for you. Enjoy a variety of free chocolate treats and dance the night away to live music (formal dress is optional). Learn more about Rhino’s at

Year End Gifts

Year-End Gift

Only a short amount of time left to get your end of the year gift to LIFEDesigns!

To receive a tax deduction for 2013, your gift must be postmarked by 12/31/13. Otherwise, it will be deductible for 2014. If you give online, the gift must come in by 11:59pm on 12/31/13 to receive a tax deduction for 2013. Otherwise, you will have to claim it for 2014.

DONATE today to make a difference!

Thank you for your gift! Your gift matters!