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Create, Be Social & Have FUN! Activities at St. Francis Manor and the Hammond Center

January 27, 2023

Create, Be Social & Have FUN! Activities at St. Francis Manor and the Hammond Center

It’s the smell of popcorn on Thursdays, laughter coming from the activity areas, colorful door decorations, or a special movie playing in the theater… The halls of St. Francis Manor and the Hammond Center are filled with weekly themes, holidays, and birthdays hosted by the activities departments! Each week is full of crafts, food, and social engagements which helps provide our residents/tenants with good quality-of-life experiences.

As National Activity Professionals Day is January 27, we’d like to recognize and honor our talented and creative Activities Directors who care and provide active experiences for our residents/tenants, so we sat down with the activities staff to learn what this job is like for them.

“I love to do crafts with our residents. I love to see them so happy about what they’ve created. They are always so surprised with the outcome,” says Katie Shaw, Activities Director at St. Francis Manor. Katie worked as an aide for 5 years before applying for the activities position and is so happy to get to know the residents in a different way. “I love watching residents create, socialize, laugh, and try new things with each other. I’m very thankful for the job I have!”

It was particularly hard for activities during COVID and this year, St. Francis Manor celebrated Christmas in style with special parties for St. Francis Manor residents, Hammond Center for Assisted Living tenants, and Seeland Park residents!

“I was so looking forward to having our annual Christmas parties this year since this was the first year we were able to include family members again since COVID!” says Miranda Anderson, Activities Director for St. Francis Manor. “Speaking of family, I’m thankful that my mom Melissa Mendoza who also works at St. Francis encouraged me to apply for this position since it has led me to a job I take pride in and love doing.”

Over the cold months, there have been all sorts of winter-themed activities. “I love to see where the residents’ creative minds take them during crafts. Games are fun too and seeing their competitive sides come out,” says Callie Shaw, Activities Director at both St. Francis Manor and the Hammond Center.

Callie found activities through a suggestion from Dion when she was still studying in college. “I had about one semester of college left and was unsure what I wanted to do next. Now, I couldn’t imagine loving a job more,” says Callie. “The satisfaction I get from making the tenants feel involved and have confidence when doing activities gives me so much joy.”

St. Francis Manor has a way of bringing people together, but also welcoming people back home to Grinnell.  “I lived in various places around the country and globe for about 20 years and recently moved back to Grinnell to be closer to family. I enjoy doing activities because I believe it contributes to the overall health and well-being of the tenants,” says Laura Hendrickson, activities and universal worker at the Hammond Center. “Here are wonderful people taking care of physical needs, but activities are great for engaging the residents’ social and emotional needs.”

As we celebrate National Activity Professionals Day, we want to say THANK YOU to all of our activities staff for inspiring, engaging, enriching, and helping to make the lives of our residents/tenants so much better and more interesting! 


Katie Shaw

“I’m 22 and live in the country with my husband Kaden, our son Wade, and our 5 dogs. We have a little bit of a funny farm with goats, chickens, and pigs. I enjoy spending time outside, with friends and family, ranger rides, reading, and going on walks when the weather is nice.” 







Miranda Anderson

“I live on an acreage just outside of Grinnell with my husband Landen and 6-month-old daughter Charlotte. I like being outside and enjoying the sunshine. I love doing home improvement projects and spending quality time with my family and friends”









Callie Shaw

“I am 22 years old. I graduated from DMACC with a Human Services Degree. I am engaged and getting married this June! Reece (my fiancé) and were high school sweethearts. I am very lucky to have such an amazing partner to support me through this crazy life. We have two dogs, Luci and Cash. I enjoy spending my free time, with my family, gardening, riding my bike, reading, and being outdoors.”






Laura Hendrickson

“I grew up in Grinnell in a farming family. After college, I taught English in Moscow, Russia for 6 years, returned to the states to do a master’s degree in education in Illinois and then lived in Boston for 6 years doing academic administrative work and activity planning in a long-term care facility. I got to do a certificate program in Gerontology while in Boston and enjoy working with older adults.” - Laura


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