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Make Your Mark: Kari Johnson, a Shining Beacon of God's Love

Kari JohnsonThe mission of Presbyterian Homes & Services (PHS), “to honor God by enriching the lives and touching the hearts of older adults,” is fulfilled when the actions of our employees demonstrate our stated values. In doing so, they “make their mark” upon those we serve. In our continuing series, “Make your Mark,” we introduce you to PHS employees who are living out these values.

“Kari shines like a beacon of love, embracing all our residents, family and staff,” says the Rev. Robert Lundberg, Campus Pastor at Castle Ridge. “Be it her warm hugs, her inviting smile, her joyous energy or her compassionate caring, Kari infuses God’s love in all she does.”

This week we celebrate Kari Johnson for the mark she’s made by living out the PHS value of Christian Ministry. Just 18 months ago, she joined the Castle Ridge community in Eden Prairie, MN, as a Life Enrichment Director and Volunteer Director. “I haven’t worked a day since,” she quips.

As a Life Enrichment Director, Kari helps bring engaging activities that connect others in meaningful relationships. Robert continues, “Kari gets to know the life history of each resident and works to match activities with residents. Our residents say that Kari has given them a purpose as she has an amazing ability to make everyone feel special – staff included.” 

Last August she helped resident Lester Rupp, an accomplished artist, realize a Liberty Dream. “I believe Lester was created to create!” Kari says. “From the moment he was born through his 80th birthday last July, Lester has had this remarkable connection with nature and has been blessed with the incredible talent to capture and share that marvel and beauty of nature with others.”

So, after organizing an art exhibit in his honor — with the help of Lester’s family from across Minnesota — Kari simply delighted in taking a step back. Lester took center stage as a relevant and respected contributor in the company of family, staff and residents. Kari exclaims, “It proves that a person’s relevance and purpose doesn’t stop, even when their life changes!”

More recently, Kari paired Lester with an art therapist who introduced him to acrylic paint. Lester painted a beautiful waterfall landscape, and Kari entered it in the Carver County Fair where, not surprisingly, Lester was awarded the blue ribbon.
 
Another Castle Ridge colleague, noting the breadth of Kari’s impact, says, “She opened up the creative gifts of our residents by entering many of their craft activities into the Carver County Fair. Together they took home over 100 prize ribbons! It is the love of God that engages Kari to conduct such activities — the end result being the joy the residents feel by their success achieved through Kari’s unconditional love.” 

A special thanks to Kari and all the PHS employees who radiate God’s love and uphold PHS values every day.

Do you know someone looking for more purpose in their work? Share the good news and the many opportunities to make a mark at www.preshomes.org/careers.

See more of Kari's creative work with Castle Ridge residents on YouTube:

Castle Ridge Radio Drama Players Present 'The Fairest of Them All'
Castle Ridge Radio Drama Players: 'O Holy Night'
Festive Fitness at Castle Ridge
Our Memories With Elvis: Castle Ridge Celebrates Elvis' 85th

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