The CPCH Board brings a strong combination of community and professional experience to the project. Directors’ backgrounds include senior housing management, medical and health care services, community initiatives, and construction.
WHO WE ARE :
Kirsten Schreiber, Chair
Kirsten was licensed in Germany as a Psychotherapist. While there, she also trained as a nurse’s aid and home caregiver, as well as working in hospice. She has always had a deep passion for the elderly and has observed first hand both the beneficial as well as the dysfunctional aspects of nursing home conditions. Isolation is the most challenging part of aging - both living alone and being in physical danger as well as mentally and emotionally. Having lost extended family in our culture has left many elderly with depression and angst. This is where her passion is with this project - housing in walking distance to town. Hopefully the people needing to live in an affordable space will be stepping up to help each other in many ways forming a little community.
Kirsten has been a key caregiver in the Crestone community for years. In addition, her work in the field of Non-Violent-Communication (NVC) makes her an invaluable member of the Board. Kirsten is a talented designer-builder with her husband Steven Elliott (also a CPCH director), and owns and operates Schiki Pulse Warmers & Other Good Ideas, a local cottage industry.
Barbara Hoeppner, BA, Vice-Chair
Barbara has lived in Crestone for over 20 years and is a founder of Living Wisdom Village, Elders Creating Community. Barbara’s background includes serving as an Activity Director in nursing homes. She also was Recreational Director and Property Manager of a multi-million dollar retirement community for many years in Florida.
Her ongoing engagement in community and artistic projects include helping to create the Crestone Music Festival, the Odyssey Children and Youth Program, and the Crestone/Baca (C/B) Village. She was instrumental in establishing the core philosophy of the LWV Project, and is our ‘Keeper of the Vision’.
Tom deMers, Secretary
Tom served in the Peace Corps (Turkey) after graduating from the University of Connecticut with honors in English. He left a graduate program in English to pursue a career as a creative writer. That led him to produce a play he wrote, “Deal with a Dead Man,” that had a successful run in Denver. An artist’s life led unfailingly into poverty, so his writing turned increasingly to jobs that paid, eventually to a job as an editor and writer at the University of Colorado in Boulder. All the while he had been a property manager in order to support his writing habit. That turned into a full-time position with the City of Boulder Housing Authority. In that position he came to know the realities of housing folks who live on the margins of society. For five years he worked with elderly and disabled residents in public housing, many of whom had been homeless. They told him of their lives and disabling conditions. He was astounded by their stories and by the courage required for many of them to simply make it through a day. Many of these stories made their way into Living in the HUD, the amazing and perilous lives of people in public housing. This book has not been published, but many of the chapters appeared in Denver Voice, a newspaper sold on the street by homeless people trying to accumulate rent money. In his personal life, Tom has assisted two friends in their passing, one an elderly gentleman who made mistakes with his finances and with a choice of surgery that left him unable to recover. Tom’s best friend Mark died at his house in Longmont after his colon cancer became inoperable. An elder himself, Tom has acquired an appreciation for the array of challenges the elderly face and for the support they need to meet them successfully.
Richard Sanderson, MA, Treasurer
Richard is a practicing psychotherapist in Crestone and southern Colorado. He has extensive experience in human services as a clinician, program developer, administrator for community-based counseling organizations and advocate for patient rights. Since 2010, Richard has worked as a consultant on projects to improve access to mental health services, integrate screenings and follow-up counseling services into primary care settings and increase collaboration among healthcare professionals providing services to the same person.
He is a national consultant for the US Department of Aging, providing technical assistance to states focused on eliminating premature or unnecessary admissions to nursing facilities and unwarranted retention of residents.
This experience affords Richard opportunities to advance the need for alternative approaches to aging, especially as it relates to affordable housing and comprehensive community-based services. He is encouraged by the proliferation of “aging in place” initiatives that may delay or eliminate an individual’s need for institutional care and enhance opportunities for elders to age in communities of choice.
Steven Elliott, Director
Steven graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in Education. He came to Crestone in 1990, and has been a land developer and custom home builder in the Baca for over 25 years. Longevity in this economy requires an unprecedented level of ingenuity and perseverance, coupled with a broad range of construction skills and good relationships with area suppliers and subcontractors. This expertise is an enormous asset to the Living Wisdom Project going forward.
On a more personal note, in 2015 Steven brought his mother, Vera, to his home in Crestone. He cared for her with a close-knit team of local caregivers until her death, exemplifying the core principle of Living Wisdom - that the goal that matters most as we are approaching the end, is Quality of life and being surrounded by the things and people we care most about.