Dare to Dream Program

Dare to Dream Program

Emery Place staff works closely with residents’ and families to fulfill meaningful dreams for each resident.  The dreams can be as small as country drives to visit a childhood farm or to taking piano lessons for the first time.  Or as big as taking a hot air balloon ride, flying above the clouds in an airplane, or driving that tractor or crane one more time.  Our community works together with families and our residents to learn what their dream is and we work together to accomplish this.  It’s our dream to make those dreams a reality and watch the pleasure that it brings to our residents, their families and loved ones.

Lottie loves a hot air balloon ride!

As Emery Place Community Relations Coordinator, Sarah Zimmerman, was driving home one night after work. She saw the Guaranty Bank and Trust hot air balloon soaring over the Marion/Robins area and thought “how fun would that be!” That’s how this “Dream” came about. Sarah asked an Emery Place family if their mother would enjoy a hot air balloon ride and they said absolutely!

Lottie is a 93-year-old lady, who has resided at Emery Place for a little over a year now. She has enjoyed roller coaster rides and flying all over the world in airplanes… that’s how Sarah knew she would love a hot air balloon ride! On a beautiful Sunday evening in late July, Lottie and her daughter Linda, warmly known as “Rusty,” soared above southeast Cedar Rapids.

Getting the balloon aired up!

Hot air inflating balloon.

Almost full!

While on the ride, Sarah received a phone call from Susan Stamats, the balloon operator. At first, Sarah was concerned that something had happened. Sarah said, “Hello?” and Lottie replied, “This is awesome! The trees are so green and everything is so very beautiful from up here!”

Lottie listens as balloon operator, Susan, talks about upcoming flight.

Sarah commented, “This is why we do the Dare to Dream program! The joy that it brings our residents is heartwarming and truly makes a difference in their lives. Everyone becomes family to us and we enjoy sharing these experiences with each and every resident of Emery Place.”

Up, up and away!

Emery Place would like to send out a special thank you to Guaranty Bank and Trust and to Buzzards Glory Balloon Company for helping make this dream come true!

Susan and Lottie selfies from the air!

To see the KCRG video clip, go to: http://www.kcrg.com/content/news/93-year-old-gets-dream-hot-air-balloon-ride-437567723.html


Beth Enjoys Outdoor Dueling Piano Concert

Beth is a retired music teacher and joined our community just over a year ago. Beth enjoys playing piano and often practices on the piano in our front family room. When Misty, Life Enrichment Coordinator, came across the posting of a concert at Lowe Park in Marion, she invited Beth to join her.

Midwest Dueling Pianos held an outdoor concert on Saturday, July 15th at the Klopfenstein Amphitheater. It was 85 degrees with a nice breeze, a perfect night for a concert. Misty and Beth stopped by Subway for supper and then headed to Lowe Park and picked out a spot. Beth enjoyed singing along with the large crowd and had a great time.

Beth and Misty’s view of the Midwest Dueling Pianos outdoor concert at the Klopfenstein Amphitheater.

Beth and Misty’s view of the Midwest Dueling Pianos outdoor concert at the Klopfenstein Amphitheater.

Carol Joins Emery Place in Summer Parades!

Carol is a new resident at Emery Place is always on the go!  Carol enjoys bike riding and staying busy.  She participates in Live 2 B Healthy and attends all activities at Emery Place.  Carol is an “early bird” and greets Misty, Life Enrichment Coordinator, each morning. Misty mentioned getting ready for a parade and Carol expressed that she had never been “in” a parade. Carol always watched parades from the sidelines and missed out on the experience of tossing candy to excited children.

We knew we had to bring Carol on her first ever parade route! Carol joined us for the Center Point “Pork Days” parade. She tossed out candy along the entire parade route and made sure the adults watching the parade got a few pieces of candy too!  She wore a pink Emery Place shirt and represented Emery Place with a smile!

Carol had such a wonderful time that we invited her to join us for one more parade this summer!  She will receive an additional parade shirt matching the theme for each parade and will assist Misty, Life Enrichment Coordinator, and Sarah, Community Relations Coordinator, with passing out brochures and candy!  In Carols words. “Emery Place is like Heaven on Earth.”

Community Relations Coordinator, Sarah, (and granddaughter, Amaryllis), Life Enrichment Coordinator, Misty, and Carol pose for picture before the Center Point “Pork Days” Parade.

All decorated and ready for the Cedar Rapids “Freedom Festival” Parade! Pictured are Community Relations Coordinator, Sarah, Carol and Life Enrichment Coordinator, Misty.

Cubs Fans Don & Lorene See the World Series Trophy!

Don and Lorene made Emery Place their home in 2015. Upon their move in, they placed a Cubs rock at their door to let all of their new neighbors know that they are HUGE Cubs fans.Don has been following the Cubs since he was a young boy and Lorene helps keep track of the schedule so they never miss a televised game.

When the Cubs won the World Series, Life Enrichment Coordinator, Misty, made sure to find out when the trophy would be on display in Cedar Rapids. Misty and Sarah, Community Relations Coordinator,  surprised the couple with t-shirts and balloons the day before the trophy visit.

Misty worked closely with the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena to make sure Don and Lorene got the VIP treatment. Don and Lorene were escorted right to the front of long lines and had their picture taken with the beautiful trophy before the event opened!

Misty and Sarah helped Lorene send the pictures to all of her family via email.  It was a wonderful moment and we are so blessed to be a part of it.

Lorene and Don are surprised with Cubs balloons, t-shirts and the news that they will be going to see the Cubs World Series Trophy!

Lorene and Don stand beside the big trophy!

Emery Place D2D Warren_2

Robins Fire Chief Brian and Warren discuss “how it works!”

Warren Enjoys Fire Truck Ride

After finding out that Warren had been a fireman, Life Enrichment Coordinator, Misty, started planning for a day that he could ride in a fire truck again! The Robins Fire Department and Fire Chief, Brian Boots, were very courteous to make this dream come true.

So one Friday morning, Misty and Community Relations Coordinator, Sarah, took Warren for a surprise ride and ended up at the Robins Fire Department! After arriving, Brian and Captain, Neil, showed Warren several of the Robins Fire Trucks. Warren shared his knowledge of how the hoses and water discharge worked and what it was like “in his day” as a fireman. Then Warren had fun “turning on the siren” and riding around Robins!

When arriving back at Emery Place (with full sirens) Warren was treated to his favorite meal… BBQ ribs!

Emery Place D2D Warren _1

Robins Fire Chief Brian Boots, Misty, Warren and Captain Neil prepare to go for a ride around Robins in the fire truck.

Emery Place D2D Warren_3

Warren gives a “thumbs up” for his ride in the Robins Fire Truck!

Emery Place D2D Ardy_1

Ardy having a little fun trying on glitzy, paper sunglasses!

Jewelry Party for Ardy!

When Life Enrichment Coordinator, Misty, found out that Ardy loves jewelry we just had to have a party! Misty sent out invitations and decorated. Culinary Coordinator, Janene, made goodies to eat. Ardy, family, friends and residents enjoyed shopping for pretty necklaces, earrings, rings and bracelets!

Everyone had a great time and requested to have another party late this fall! With all the sales of the afternoon, Ardy received several free pieces of jewelry of her own!

Emery Place D2D Ardy_2

Ardy checking out the pretty merchandise!


Emery Place D2D Ardy_3

Ardy (right) and great-granddaughter and daughter, Daveeta.

Emery Place Marlene D2D

Marlene (far right) and friends enjoying a day of Bridge and fellowship!

Marlene Enjoys Bridge Club

Marlene made Emery Place her home last fall and missed attending her monthly Bridge Club. Life Enrichment Coordinator, Misty, invited Marlene and her friends tohold their monthly Bridge Club at Emery Place.

Emery Place made cookies and drinks for the group. Marlene was excited to play Bridge with her longtime friends and they filled the library with smiles and laughter. It was great to see Marlene so happy.

Emery Place D2D Edna

Edna was brought to “happy” tears about receiving her Excellence in Nursing certificate.

Honoring Edna and Mary K. with Special Nurse’s Week Luncheon

Mary K. and Edna made Emery Place their home last spring. Both of these wonderful ladies were nurses and take great pride in that part of their lives.

Emery Place D2D Mary K.

Mary K. seems very pleased with her certificate of Excellence in Nursing.

Emery Place celebrated Nurse’s Week with an indoor picnic in the Gardens. Misty, Life Enrichment Coordinator, honored Mary K. and Edna with a certificate of Excellence in Nursing.

Following the picnic, everyone enjoyed a bus ride through Noelridge Park to view the gardens.




Don meets Kernels catcher, Nelson Molina, after Don threw out the first pitch.

Don meets Kernels catcher, Nelson Molina, after Don threw out the first pitch.

Emery Place Surprises Don with a Day at the Ballpark!

Don and Sarah, Community Relations Coordinator, have often talked about playing softball and enjoying the sport. Don pitched for several teams in California when he and Sherilyn lived there.

Don has been a longtime White Sox and Dodgers fan, so when Sarah received an email from the Kernels that Robins Day at the Ballpark would be June 26, she knew Don would love to go!

Misty, Life Enrichment Coordinator, and Sarah worked with Don’s family to arrange to have several family members surprise him at the game. Don was invited on the field to throw out the first pitch and to top it off, Kernels Marketing Manager, Ryne George, arranged to have their picture on the big screen in center field!

Emery Place Don D2D_2

Mr. Shucks stops by to say “hi!” to Don and family!

Emery Place Don D2D_1

Don throws the first pitch! (Check out the big screen in center field behind him!)

Beth, Marilyn and Willis watching Red Cedar Chamber Music performance at the Marion Library.

Beth, Marilyn and Willis watching Red Cedar Chamber Music performance at the Marion Library.

Marilyn Enjoys Music at the Marion Library

Marilyn is a wonderful lady. She loves interior design, music, art and reading! Marilyn brought to Misty’s attention that Red Cedar Chamber Music was performing at the Marion Public Library. So Misty Cottrell, Life Enrichment Coordinator, invited Marilyn and Emery Place friends to attend the performance.

During the performance, they also displayed Magic Lanterns. Magic Lanterns are hand painted glass slides preserved from hundreds of years ago. It was a beautiful performance and Marilyn was so excited to meet the group and chat with several individuals that she has volunteered with at the library.

Diane PixDiane’s Day at the Movies

Diane lived with us at Emery Place for eight months and recently went back to her home. Because she enjoyed activities and spending time with other Emery Place residents, Life Enrichment Coordinator, Misty Cottrell, invited her to an afternoon at the movies with Beth. They enjoyed the movie, “Miracles From Heaven.”

Mary, Darlene, Marilyn, Beth and Ardy.

Mary, Darlene, Marilyn, Beth and Ardy.

Friends Visit Darlene

What a surprise when Darlene received a visit from a few of her many friends from Emery Place! It was just what she needed to lift her spirits after a short recovery at a nearby rehabilitation facility. Everyone was excited to hear that she would be returning soon to Emery Place!

Charlie Pix

Charlie Spends Afternoon at Culver’s Greenhouse

Charlie loves to garden. So when Misty, Life Enrichment Coordinator saw that Culver’s Greenhouse was having an open house on April 22, she thought of Charlie!

After giving Charlie the full tour of the Culver’s greenhouses, the Culver’s manager donated 16 geraniums to Emery Place and Charlie picked the colors he thought would look beautiful around our community!

Friends at the party



Surprise 80th!

Gladys turned 80 recently and her daughter, Sheryl, threw her a surprise birthday party at Lowe Park in Marion. Emery Place passed out invitations to her friends and they were all very excited to help her celebrate. We kept the secret from Gladys for two weeks! Emery Place had Lori style her hair and give her a manicure, that she showed off to everyone, so she looked extra good for her party. She was very surprised to see many family members from out of state as well as her friends from Emery. We had a wonderful meal and had a great time visiting with one another. Everyone had fun celebrating!

Birthday Cake      Gladys showing her manicure


Nelda playing her grand piano.


In Nelda’s previous home, she was unable to have her baby grand piano with her because there was no room for it anywhere. She loves to play the piano and had not been able to enjoy it for many years. We rearranged the common area in the Gardens so that she could have her piano once again. She plays every day and she encourages residents and staff to sing along to the music. She truly loves to share her gift with everyone.


Charlie digging in the dirt and gently caring for his tomato plants.

Charlie had started growing his tomato plants before moving to Emery Place. When he  got here, he really missed gardening so we decided to till up some of the land here for him. He was then able to plant his tomatoes. He has taught our staff and other residents about growing tomatoes and he has been taking good care of them. They continue to grow and Charlie is very happy with his plants here.


Charlie’s tomatoes!


Mary looking over Robins as plane approaches Emery Place.

Mary is an 89 year old pilot that hadn’t flown in 30+ years but on July 29 she took to the skies like no time had passed. After taking off, she helped navigate to Robins and flew over Emery Place where all of the other residents were waiting outside to watch her and wave! Emery Place extends a huge “Thank You” to the Marion Airport: Jan, Sarah and Cole for helping us make Mary’s dream come true!


Sarah, Mary, Cole and Jan at the Marion Airport after the “ride!”

Sue, Les Etscheidt, Susan O’Connor and Nina share some memories of Mercy.

Sue, Les Etscheidt, Susan O’Connor and Nina share some memories of Mercy.

Nina & Sue

During a tour of Emery Place, Sue met Nina. Sue remembered Nina from Mercy Hospital where they both worked many years ago! After some conversation, both had been employed for 25 years! During employment, Nina had even received “Best Housekeeper of the Year” and proudly displays the picture and medal in her apartment.

Nina, Les Etscheidt, Susan O’Connor and Sue enjoy cake!

Nina, Les Etscheidt, Susan O’Connor and Sue enjoy cake!

Emery Place staff thought it would be awesome if both could be recognized again. Susan O’Connor, RSM, and Les Etscheidt with Mercy Hospital agreed to do the honors! (Les was just a “kid,” as Nina put it, when she worked with him!)

The two ladies were treated with a trip to the beauty shop, yellow rose corsages and cake. Susan and Les showered them with gifts from Mercy and kind words honoring them for their service to the Mercy Hospital organization.

Emery Place cook, Audra, helps display Sue and Nina’s cake

Emery Place cook, Audra, helps display Sue and Nina’s cake


Arriving at Riverside-webBetty goes to Riverside

Emery Place wanted to treat Betty to a day at the casino with her two daughters. Hannah drove the three of them in the bus down to Riverside Casino. Emery Place treated them all to the lunch buffet and gave Betty some gambling money. After lunch, Betty hit the slots! She sat at the same machine all afternoon and after Betty playing slots-webabout two hours, Betty left with $64! She had such a wonderful time and was smiling the whole ride home!

Big Win-web

The Big Win!

Ike and the new Buck Knife

Ike Gets a NEW Buck Knife.

“Ike” recently moved to Emery Place with his wife Dorothy. He takes great pride in his skill of wood working and the many homes he has built over the years. Ike and his son set up a wood working shop in his apartment. During his move he lost his “Buck Knife” and wanted to get a new one. Misty accompanied Ike on a shopping trip to find the Complete Projectperfect knife. Ike found exactly what he was looking for at Menards. Ike has made several bird houses for other residents to paint and display.