Blood Donation: As Easy As Walking Outside The Office

OK, so the title of this blog is a little misleading. Giving blood isn’t easy… but the cool part is that almost anyone can do it–and possibly save a life. Now THAT’S pretty awesome to think about.

Steinhafels wants to say thanks to all of our employees who took the time to donate blood today. We know that it’s no small task, and we truly appreciate it.

The statistics are staggering. Every 3 seconds someone needs blood. EVERY 3 SECONDS!!

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The BloodCenter of Wisconsin is dedicated to gathering life-saving blood daily… both at the center’s offices on Wisconsin Ave, and through community events like the annual blood drive at the Steinhafels Corporate store.

As we mentioned before, MOST people can give blood. Some of the reasons you may not be able to donate are Medication, Travel, Pregnancy, and Tattoos–but even those have exceptions! Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns or questions.

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We spoke to a couple employees about why they decided to give blood. Accent Furniture Buyer Jenny Kordus is a long-time donor, and always takes part in the Steinhafels Blood Drive. She explains, “It’s easy to do and hopefully someone benefits from it. There’s no reason not to when it’s right in the parking lot!”

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Merchandise Planner Amy Bullermann is a little newer to the blood-giving game. She makes a very good point. “You just think at one point you might need blood or someone in your family, so it feels good to help someone else.”

We hope everyone has a wonderful weekend, and thanks again for making Steinhafels such a great place to work. It truly is the people who make it great.

Check out Jimmy, one of our featured blood donors from last year… back at it!

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Behind the Scenes: Salvation Army’s “Toy Shop”

Steinhafels has been partnering with the Salvation Army for years to help collect donations for the organization’s annual “Toy Shop” holiday toy distribution event.  CBS 58 has also come onboard, and it’s been a great way for all of our organizations to band together to help kids in Milwaukee’s inner city have new toys for the holidays.

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We got the chance to actually walk through the Toy Shop at the Salvation Army’s Distribution Center on N. 60th Street in Milwaukee.  We got a behind the scenes look at what it’s like for local parents to walk through and pick out some truly awesome toys!

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The toy shop is a well-oiled machine:  “Sorters” organize the toys that come in, “Stockers” man the toy stations and keep them overflowing with items throughout the event, and personal “Shoppers” actually walk around with the parents and help them pick the best toys for their kids.

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The event runs three days:  Friday 12/16, Monday 12/19, and Tuesday 12/20.  Over the course of three days, about 3,000 families will walk through, getting toys for about 9,000 kids!!  Of course, this doesn’t happen without a massive staff of dedicated volunteers.  About 1,100 volunteers will work the event.  If you are interested, they are still seeking volunteers for the Tuesday morning shift.  You can find more information ONLINE.

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This was Berenice Aguayo’s first time at the Toy Shop.  She has three kids ages 6, 5, and 2.  She couldn’t believe the great selection at the Shop.  A little something for all kids.  She said, “My kids like everything.  My boy likes mathematics, and my little girl likes anything with bright colors.”

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Linda Chaplin was Berenice’s personal shopper.  This was her first time volunteering at the Shop.  The local mom explains, “I think it’s always good to step out of your comfort zone and help others.  The more you step out of your comfort zone and help others, the smaller your problems seem.”

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And the shopping experience wouldn’t be complete without dedicated Stockers like Ann Michaels.  This is her second year working the Toy Shop.  She learned about it through work, and says she’ll definitely do it again next year.  “It is fun.  It’s really great to see the faces of everybody, and the toys they get for their children.”

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Isn’t that truly what the holidays are all about?  While it’s great to receive gifts–it’s the smiles on kids’ faces and people giving of their time to help others that exemplifies the reason for the season.  Thank you so much to all of our Steinhafels shoppers who have donated toys and coats over the past few weeks, and all of our employees who make sure these various outreach projects go smoothly.

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Happy Holidays from our Steinhafels Family to Yours!

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Fun fact:  This is the 81st year for “Toy Shop.”  The Salvation Army has been doing a toy distribution since 1935!!

Food and a Flag: Spreading the Holiday Spirit

Steinhafels has always valued the importance of the Holidays, and time with family.  That’s why we are always closed on Thanksgiving, and we are always proud of our employees who go above and beyond to help the community during this time.

This Thanksgiving, Steinhafels wants to recognize our employees and their holiday spirit on two different occasions.

GRAND CHUTE FIRE DEPARTMENT HONORS FALLEN FIREFIGHTER

On November 1, 2016, Town of Oneida Volunteer Firefighter John Brocker died in the line of duty.  The Grand Chute Fire Department was asked to take care of the funeral detail, including the fire service procession from the church to the final resting place.  As part of the procession, it is tradition to have a flag displayed over the procession route for each vehicle to pass under.

A local flag that is usually used for these processions was not available.  As the department was scrambling to finalize the details of the procession, Grand Chute Fire Assistant Chief of Operations Michael DeBruler took a chance and stopped by our Appleton store to see if our flag could be used.

Thanks to a proactive employee, use of the flag was quickly approved, and we were proud to have it displayed in honor of a local hero.  Thank you Grand Chute Fire and Rescue for thinking of us.

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ANNUAL HEBRON HOUSE FOOD DRIVE

Our employees work hard to give customers the best experience possible–so we are especially impressed when they take the extra time to give back to the community, in addition to their “regular” jobs.  That’s the case at our Corporate Store in Waukesha, where the Sales and Support staff banded together for the second year in a row for a food drive for Hebron House.

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For over 30 years, Hebron House of Hospitality has been the largest nonprofit provider of services to the homeless men, women, and children in Waukesha County.

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Steinhafels employees collected money and food, and made the special delivery the night before Thanksgiving.  Check out those colossal turkeys!!

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Thank you to all of our staff for not only being the best in the business, but being good-hearted people.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!!

Design for a Difference 2016: The Rainbow Project

Steinhafels has been taking part in Design For a Difference-Madison for a couple years now. Steinhafels is often thought of as a Milwaukee company, but we are proud to serve the Madison, Appleton, and Vernon Hills communities as well.

Design For a Difference is a national campaign focused on design makeovers for charities.  Thanks to organizers like FLOOR360 and BRAVA Magazine, Madison has been a staple city for the project for the past two years.  This year, the charity chosen was The Rainbow Project, which helps children and families in crisis.  Our designers oversaw a complete redesign of the center’s “Observation Room.”

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Steinhafels Decorating Solutions designers Mari Johnson and Patti Stindt were asked if they would like to donate their time, and take part in the project this year.  They hit the ground running!!  Designer Michelle Kahl, who is a newer addition to our design team, also helped out.  And of course, Steinhafels was so proud to donate a large portion of the facility’s new furniture.

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Sharyl Kato is a Child and Family Therapist, and Director of The Rainbow Project. Kato and her staff worked tirelessly to make sure this redesign was a success.

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We talked to Mari, Patti, and Sharyl about the overall experience.  Check out their reflections below!

MARI JOHNSON, Steinhafels Decorating Solutions Interior Designer

-What has been the best part about being involved in the DFAD redesign this year?

MARI:  The best thing about being part of the DFAD this year was working with a very talented group of designers.  We may be “competition,” but we came together and the result is unbelievable. Also, it took me completely by surprise that just by asking people in the community for help how many of them stepped up. In particular Tom Colby from the Elks, who connected me with The Carlson Company and the electrician, Jon Potter.  Target Corporation gave me a $100 gift card to buy a kid’s table and storage bins, and Cindy from Cindy’s Custom Interiors donated fabric and labor. In addition, when I went to purchase rope lighting at Menards, Becky Zahn, a Zone manager gave me her Menards card to make the purchase.  Just wow! Not to mention all the donations of toys which was the idea of our sales associate, Laurie Krueger.

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-Has this experience helped you use your design skills in a new way?

MARI:  This opportunity helped me use my design skills to make a different space than someone’s home, beautiful!  It’s very unfortunate that there is a need for a place like The Rainbow Project, but they do such a important job in our community. So if we can make it somewhat easier for the therapists to perform their jobs, how great is that.

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-Why is it important that businesses and employees give back to the communities they serve?

MARI:  It is important for everyone to give back to the community.  We all live here.

PATTI STINDT, Steinhafels Decorating Solutions Interior Designer

-What has been the best part about being involved in the DFAD redesign this year?

PATTI:  The best part Is to help provide a healthy and positive environment to encourage the feeling of safety, support, and healing for those that have been traumatized.

-Has this experience helped you use your design skills in a new way?

PATTI: It has been a great pleasure to partner with other designers that have different specialties to provide a cohesive space.

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-Why is it important that businesses and employees give back to the communities they serve?

PATTI:  We all should feel a sense of ownership to help those in our community that need it most.

Sharyl Kato, Director, The Rainbow Project

-How did you first feel when you found out Rainbow Project was chosen for this year’s Design for a Difference?

SHARYL:  I was shocked and elated and jumping up & down & hugging everyone & screaming!!  I was so elated because you have no idea how much our clinic needed repair.

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-Describe what The Rainbow Project does, and why it’s so vital to the Madison community.

SHARYL:  We offer a wide range of prevention, early intervention, treatment, & crisis services, specializing in trauma recovery for young children (infants through 10 years of age) and their families.  We work with families who have experienced child abuse, neglect, domestic violence, community violence, victims of crime such as break-ins, severe accidents, fires, natural disasters, grief/separation & loss, drug endangered children, child sex trafficking & victims of pornography as well as medical trauma.  We provide best-practice, evidence based approaches working with children, caregivers, families & other agencies, service providers including schools, early childhood programs, hospitals/physicians, homeless shelters, substance abuse programs, first offenders, substance abuse programs & other sources.  We have been providing effective,  innovative, state-of-the-art services for 36 years & were ahead of our time, doing work that research is finally validating as valid science.  We are proud of our service model involving play therapy, family therapy, parent education, in home work, children’s & parent groups, community networking  & collaboration as well as community education & consultation services.  We have served over 10,800 children and 10,500 adult caregivers.  We focus on younger children because they are at highest risk for developing post-traumatic stress disorder increasing their risks for criminal behavior, poor academic performance, substance abuse, mental illness, violent behavior, unemployment & homelessness.  Trauma can negatively impact brain development & neuroscience, yet research indicates that specialized positive consistent interactions such that Rainbow staff provide & promote in the community, can reverse that damage.  And we observe these successes every day.

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What has the process been like watching the building be transformed over the last few months?

SHARYL:  The process has been so very amazing.  The Design 4 A Difference volunteer team embraced Rainbow so totally.  The focus, attention, & appreciation for our work, our environment, what we do, the caring for our mission and the population we are devoted to serving–was so deeply moving and appreciated.  We involved the children and families we serve early on to provide input on what they already liked about our space & what they would like to see added or changed so that they were a part of the planning process too.  The process and anticipation was building with every day!  The well-planned, thoughtful meetings & the caring and concern to get our input was so consistent throughout.  Over time, the initial exhilaration & excitement has transformed and actually deepened as we “live and work” in our new space!  We see clients both children and adults be so in awe of the space.  Squeals of laughter & delight, so many ‘Wows’ and ‘Ohhhs’ and ‘Ahhhs’  as they tour the new space & discover the changes.  A child who normally does not express himself kept repeating & exclaiming with amazement….’this is shocking, this is shocking!’  And another child jumped into the huge pillows exclaiming he wanted to stay in the room forever.  The children & families are careful & respectful of the awesome toys & furniture.  They are aware that this was done for them & they are grateful.  As victims of trauma, our clients may view the world as mostly not safe & caring so when folks do something so incredible voluntarily, it alters their view of the world and of themselves as valued.  Nothing can substitute that in their healing process.

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Describe the feeling you had when you first saw the project all finished?

SHARYL:  Shock, Excitement, Overwhelmed, but mostly Grateful. It is the intensity and magnitude of those feelings that were most meaningful.

Steinhafels was so honored to be a part of this project.  Can you tell us a little bit about the room our designers remodeled, and what you love about it most?  

SHARYL:  The room Steinhafels remodeled is one of the most important because after the waiting area,  it is the first room they come in for their initial consultation.  We are aware of how stressful it is to come to ask for help.  To make something private very public.  It takes courage to seek help when they are in such pain and stress from trauma.  So we want to be sure we are as sensitive as possible to that apprehension.  The lighting, the playhouse, the warmth and welcoming feeling is so perfect!  The interior designers truly understood.  We appreciate every item, object & thought that went behind everything.  It was so very touching and healing for all of us.  The gifts that will continue giving include the beautiful & irresistible toys that were given to the children here.

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Finally, how is this project going to help you serve families even better?

SHARYL:  For one thing, the magnitude of this magical transformation that was given to the Rainbow Project makes us more determined than ever to continue our work to make you all proud of your investment in time, energy, resources, labor, & heart.  The impact on staff is multi-fold.  When surrounded by creative stimulating environments, it makes us all more energetic, motivated, creative & definitely more positive, efficient, organized!!  The attention to self-care products in the break room & OUR ROOMS!!!!  The results way surpassed our expectations.  We do not feel alone in the tough work we do.  We are not used to the attention & appreciation as we do our work every day!  It was challenging to get used to that.  We feel we can conquer the world!!!  Thank you does not seem adequate enough.  We have all observed progress with our clients.  A child I work with has made more gains this month than in over a year.  The environment is peaceful, welcoming, inviting, nurturing.  It is their place, it is our place.

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Purple Survivor Couch: One Woman’s Story

Steinhafels is constantly looking for new and unique ways to partner with the community for various projects and events.  While we donate money to a variety of causes, we also like when our wonderful furniture can serve a higher purpose.  After all, furniture helps to bring families together, and a good piece of furniture can last for generations!

That was the case with the American Cancer Society of Southeast Wisconsin.  They approached us and asked if we could help with their Relay For Life events this summer.  Steinhafels and ACS brainstormed, and we came up with the “Purple Survivor Couch” idea.  The purple couch traveled to several relays, and served as a symbol of survival and hope.

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Check out our PURPLE COUCH SURVIVOR STORIES if you haven’t seen it!

In addition to being a comfy place to pop a squat during relays, the purple couch was also part of a Giveaway to help raise money for Relay.  Many survivors and other relayers entered the contest.

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The lucky winner was announced at the big Kenosha Relay for Life event.  Cancer survivor Nancy Brey is now the proud owner of the purple couch!

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Nancy lives in Twin Lakes and is a retired nurse.  As you will learn, her cancer journey is a very unique one.

NANCY’S STORY

Nancy is 65 years old.  She’s a wife to husband Steve for 45 years, a loving mother to 3 sons, and doting grandma to 13 grandkids!  She’s a retired nurse, and says she has lived a very blessed life… but things could have been very different for Nancy.  You see, she is also a 54-year cancer survivor!!!

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The oldest of 6 children, Nancy grew up on a dairy farm in Paris Township in Kenosha County.  She was a typical kid…until she turned 11, and everything changed.

”This was towards the end of my school year.  Everything I ate came back up, and I knew something was wrong,” Nancy recalls.

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A tumor had formed in Nancy’s small intestine.  She was diagnosed with sarcoma of the small intestine, now commonly known as colon cancer.  Nancy admits, ”It was scary.  I didn’t find out I had the cancer until I was older.  You didn’t say the ‘C word’ to people back in that day.”

Nancy’s parents chose surgery only, and no cobalt therapy.  Although Nancy doesn’t remember much about that time, she is thankful to her parents and the medical staff that took care of her.

In fact, Nancy was so thankful, she decided to pursue a career in the medical field.  She started as a medical assistant, and eventually became a Registered Nurse.  Nancy’s primary role was managing the Hospice House in Kenosha.  ”To see all those people go what they go through, and being able to be there… the greatest reward is being able to help the families and patients go through this journey they are going through.  That has been the most rewarding of all my career,” she says.

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Nancy has also taken part in the Kenosha Relay For Life for many years.  She wants to support fellow cancer survivors, and honor those who have lost their battle, like her cousin’s son who died of leukemia.  She is honored to see the thousands of people who come out for Relay events.  “This is out here, we have to cure this.  That’s why it’s so important.”

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She is excited to be the new owner of the Steinhafels Purple Couch!  She says it’ll be helpful when the family comes over.  Nancy and her husband recently hosted a big sleepover for the grandkids, and the purple couch came in handy!  ”Steve said this is very cozy, and the grandkids think it’s cool.  We had a ball–had a good time.”

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The local chapter of the American Cancer Society is proud to share stories like Nancy’s…and there are so many more amazing stories to tell!

“If you’ve ever heard the words, ‘You have cancer,’ you are a cancer survivor. The American Cancer Society Relay For Life movement celebrates every cancer survivor in every community,” said Kelly Candotti, Corporate Relations for the American Cancer Society. “We’re grateful to Steinhafels for joining with the American Cancer Society to celebrate 1,325 survivors at 40 Relay For Life events this year in southeast Wisconsin.”

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Nancy knows we still have a long way to go in the fight against cancer, but she hopes as her grandchildren get older we get closer and closer to finding a cure, thanks to events like American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

Nancy gets a little emotional as we finish our conversation, and says simply, ”I’m just blessed I’m here.  That’s all I can say.”

Relay For Life events in Southeastern Wisconsin raised $1,715,299 this year.

See more inspiring Relay For Life pictures HERE!

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