By Ariana Estes

We’ve reached the final weeks of 2018, and what a year it’s been! Lutheran Family Services of Virginia has had so many wonderful things happen this year it would be impossible to recap it all, so here are a few of our biggest moments.

Purchasing the Pine Street Group Home

The purchase of the new Pine Street Group home was an exciting move for LFSVA. This purchase marked the first agency-owned property for our group homes and our first group home in Roanoke.

A year of transition

The retirement of Julie Swanson was bittersweet for leadership and staff of LFSVA. While the agency was sad to see her go, her hard work and dedication throughout the years were recognized at the celebration of her retirement. Ray Ratke’s move from Chief Operating Officer to Chief Executive Officer allowed for a smooth transition for the direction of the agency. These changes also presented the opportunity for employees Lisa Morgan and Tresha Lafon to take the next step in their leadership journeys. Morgan was named Chief Operating Officer and Lafon stepped into a newly created Chief Quality Officer position.


The launch of Julie’s Abundance Project

Julie Swanson’s impact on LFSVA was a significant one, so the board and leadership teamed up to create a way to preserve her legacy for years to come. Julie’s Abundance Project was created in the spirit of her belief of bringing abundance to the lives of the individuals served by LFSVA. The project aims to identify and fulfill aspirations beyond the day-to-day services offered by teaming up with the community to make these opportunities available. In the first year, LFSVA was able to gift a trombone to an enthusiastic Minnick School Student, send two brothers on a trip of a lifetime to learn all about NASA, and surprise Garth Brooks’ number one fan with a personalized video message. You can learn more about the project here.


Celebrating 130 years of service

This year marked LFSVA’s 130th year of service! Alumni of The Lutheran Children’s Home of the South reunited to catch up and reminisce about their memories of living together in the group home. LFSVA also recognized the outstanding community service of Lutherans through its Hearts & Hands Awards.

Looking ahead

Moving into the 131st year of service, new initiatives were introduced such as Job Club for Roanoke Minnick School Vocational Campus students. Grants were awarded to provide services such as dietician-directed menus for the residents of our Bedford Group Homes, and 17 new families completed training on their journey to become foster parents. The future is bright, and we are grateful to have your support for the road forward.