Sunshine Communities: new Allen Street home thrives

Katie Siebenaller

        It has been almost two months since Sunshine Communities and St. Jerome Catholic Parish dedicated the Sunshine home in Walbridge.
        A cookout was held Sept. 21 in celebration of Sunshine Communities’ 403 Allen St. home, where representatives from Sunshine, St. Jerome and the Village of Walbridge were present.
        The Allen Street home is approximately 6,000 sq. ft. with eight bedrooms — six of which are currently occupied.
        “This particular home on Allen Street is our newest home — and is the most state-of-the-art facility as far as our homes go,” says Kendahl Plank, communications manager for Sunshine Communities. “We have ceiling lifts and roll-in showers — whereas with some of our homes we have purchased and adapted to be accessible — this home was built with our individuals and their accessibility in mind,”
        Residents of the home enjoy putting up seasonal decorations, watching movies, making crafts, assisting with meals and helping complete household chores to the best of their abilities.
        Through their staff, Sunshine provides the residents with the support they need to live as independently as they can. Staff members are present in the home to help with various aspects of daily life — like meal prepping, eating, bathing, medical and personal care.
        Volunteers assist with chores such as laundry and clean-up, as well as indoor activities like music and reading. Additionally, volunteers aid residents with community engagement and social events, and join them for recreational activities like neighborhood walks.
        The Allen Street home also has a Venture Group, which goes out and participates in community-building activities. These activities include local social programs, such as helping with Meals on Wheels and cleaning at area Metroparks. A few young residents take a bus to school as well.
        Closer to home, Allen Street residents have found community at St. Jerome Church.
        “The relationship with St. Jerome’s has been supportive and inclusive,” Plank said.
        Residents are invited to church activities, and the parish has a ministry team dedicated to growing their relationship. The team keeps in contact with the home, collaborating on ways to include residents in the parish community.
        Overall, the future is looking bright at Sunshine’s Allen Street home, Plank said.
        “We as an organization are so excited to be able to expand into Wood County, and we hope to support these individuals in having meaningful relationships with people beyond their paid staff,” she said. “We want that integration to grow naturally, especially in the parish and eventually take its own shape.”
        For more information about Sunshine Communities or volunteering, visit, call 419-865-0251 or email


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