OUR LEGACY: 50 Years of Caring


Because Everyone Needs a Friend

In 2017, Friends of St. Catherine Residence (SCR) proudly celebrated its 50th milestone anniversary -- indeed, a long run for a volunteer organization. For five decades, Friends played vital supporting roles for SCR and its residents.

According to outgoing President Rita Larsen, the group served as a reliable funding source through cash contributions, and as a volunteer resource pool for a variety of projects. In recent years alone, Friends of SCR raised over $90,000 for building improvement projects in keeping with its vision: To "contribute to the development of residents' physical well being, self respect, confidence, independence and peer interdependence."

A Bittersweet Moment

But spring 2017 became a bittersweet moment for Friends. The small volunteer organization started by a handful of women in 1967, and which had grown to be a force of hundreds, announced that it was dissolving its Friends Board and 501C3 fundraising. Many of Friends' most active volunteers and board members were no longer able to continue their vigorous fundraising roles. But their legacy lives on. Over the years Friends established traditions like social events and health programs for residents (see partial list below).

In fact, Friends of SCR took great pride in the following programs they helped initiate and support:

Annual Events for SCR Residents

  • SPRING CLOTHING GIVEAWAY (for residents)

  • 3rd OF JULY ANNUAL PICNIC

  • FALL CLOTHING GIVEAWAY (for residents)

  • THANKSGIVING DINNER

  • HOLIDAY PARTY AT CHRISTMAS (gifts for residents program)


Programs for Residents:

  • Health Initiative --
    to provide a Visiting Nurse, flu shots, glasses and dental assistance

  • Education Program --
    to help residents gain GED, return to complete college; new computer purchase program.

  • "Right-Start"--
    created by a community nurse and social worker to work with new mothers on help-planning for both mother and baby.

  • Building Improvements --
    to provide funds for remodeling and improvement projects


Larsen was quick to point out, however, that although Friends of SCR is standing back, it is not completely stepping away. "As part of our exit plan, we will proudly continue funding to Mercy Housing for the health initiative 'on site' nurse for the next five years (through 2022)," she said. "Our intention has always been to leave a legacy that would be carried well into the future."

To that end, a small group of board members and volunteers will continue the "Special Social Events" that give residents a sense of community. This new group, called the Service Club of SCR, is being led by Barbara Scheibe. Those interested in helping can contact her at bscheibe@wi.twcbc.com

"All members of SCR Friends can take great pride in the positive impact we have had on the residents of St. Catherine over so many years, Larsen said. "Indeed, our legacy is "50 years of Caring -- Because Everybody Needs a Friend." Friends of SCR made it so.