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WINTER 2014 / 2015

Friendship and Flowers
Delivering bundles of care!


Visits with Karlyne help volunteer Agnes Jensen fill the void she feels by living so far from her extended family..

The Friendship and Flowers program is a cherished tradition at Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly. Through this program, 88 volunteer families deliver flowers and homemade cookies each month to approximately 200 elders who have few, if any, loved ones. Most of those we serve through the program are homebound or in nursing homes. 


Our elder friend Karlyne lives in a Minneapolis nursing home and receives Friendship and Flowers. In her own words, she has lived a colorful life with her share of hardship that included the loss of an infant daughter, as well as a granddaughter at the same age. In between those losses, she had two divorces, and one of her girls ran away from home for three months. "We don't always have control in our lives," Karlyne said. "But if you're resilient, happiness will come again."

Agnes Jensen, her LBFE volunteer, knows loneliness and resilience, too. A successful woman in mid-career, she moved to the Twin Cities in 2008 with her husband and two boys, but otherwise had no family or friends anywhere in the state.

Karlyne and Agnes found each other after Agnes read about LBFE in the Star Tribune soon after arriving in town, prompting her to become a Friendship and Flowers volunteer. "It was a special day when Agnes walked into my life," laughed Karlyne. Agnes and Karlyne hit it off right away because they're both fashion lovers, but they soon discovered there was much more than clothes and accessories to talk about.

"Karlyne is great fun and brings joy into my life," Agnes said. "She shares her wisdom and makes me think about how I want to live out my own elder years. She says you can look back on your life, but you can never live it backward." "We have a special bond because we both know how hard feeling alone can be," Karlyne added.

Even though Agnes is a busy mom and a graduate student with a full-time job, she says she wouldn't miss Friendship and Flowers for the world. "I can honestly say in all my years delivering Friendship and Flowers, I've always been glad I made the effort."

For Karlyne, too, the visits are irreplaceable. "Sure, I love the flowers and the treats that come with Friendship and Flowers," she said. "But Agnes' companionship lasts long after the flowers are gone."

LBFE will have said "I care" with deliveries of more than 5,700 flowers to elders in 2014. If you are interested in bringing joy to elders as a Friendship and Flowers volunteer, or by sponsoring the purchase of flowers for elders, please contact Josh at or 612.746.0732 

Ensure that elders know
you care through
Not Alone! 2014 

Last year, Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly impacted the lives of more than 900 Twin Cities elders who would otherwise have been isolated and lonely, providing 15,000 visits, phone calls and other welcomed points of friendly contact. Our work is possible thanks to the generosity of donors like you.
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and put your dollars to work today to erase elder loneliness in our community.
Thank you!

From the Interim Executive Director

You provide elders the key to discovering self-worth

LuAnne Speeter 
Interim Executive Director

What makes you get out of bed in the morning? When the alarm goes off, chances are you get up knowing you have an agenda for the day. People are counting on you to get the kids off to school, or arrive in time for a staff meeting, or unlock the door to the restaurant, or meet your friends for coffee.


If we don't follow through with our commitments, we let ourselves and others down. But when we follow through, and better still, strive to improve on the day we've planned, we're tapping a valuable internal resource: a healthy self-esteem.


Recognizing our impact -- the potential to make a difference in the world around us -- requires a positive self-image. Sadly, low self-esteem is one of the more common traits that we find among isolated elders. Many have had a poor image of themselves most of their lives, and this often accounts for their isolation; it's difficult to form healthy relationships when you don't believe you have something of value to contribute.


An important facet of LBFE's mission is to show elders they are valued. Through visits, friendly phone calls, and welcoming invitations to events, we let elders know they are special and irreplaceable.

By supporting the Not Alone! 2014 campaign, you can help us provide the human touch that changes elders' lives. Through your generosity, you enable staff and volunteers to make connections, spend time listening, offer words of encouragement, share an embrace, and advocate for their well-being. Your support ensures programs such as Friendship and Flowers (see above), birthday parties and holiday dinners, intergenerational events, plus our new Path to Better Living initiative and other holistic programming, not only relieve elders' loneliness, but forge relationships and build self-esteem.

Thank you for the many different ways you help older adults find a tomorrow filled with hope. 


LuAnne Speeter

Interim Executive Director

Ames Lake Neighborhood Afterschool Program

Partnership bridges cultures and generations 

Many Twin Cities elders and children alike lack the support of extended family. Adult children scatter and settle far away, raising kids who grow up without the loving support of grandparents or other older relatives. Many children who live in the metro area are immigrants or first-generation Americans whose grandparents live overseas. Compounding the effect of geographic mobility, many elders simply never had families of their own or -- through one hardship or another -- lost them.


For these and other socioeconomic reasons, large numbers of elders in our community are growing old alone without the warmth and connection of children in their lives. Likewise, large numbers of children are growing up without the wisdom, closeness and guidance of elder family members. Seeking to address this, LBFE

Ames Lake
Elders and youth from Eastside St. Paul hone their problem-solving skills through activities that help them appreciate their uniqueness and common int

partnered with the Ames Lake Neighborhood Afterschool Program in St. Paul in 2011 for the purpose of not only bringing different generations, but also different cultures, together.


"While LBFE serves elders over the age of 60, Ames Lake serves students ages five to 15, who are enrolled in 20-plus St. Paul schools," said Kelly Farrell, LBFE Program Manager. "This ongoing partnership has allowed us to expand our presence in St. Paul, while at the same time give our elders a unique multi-cultural experience." The elders involved in the program are predominantly "Eastsiders" of European American descent; the children are mostly of Somali, Hispanic/Latino and African American origin.

Coming together in a warm, fun and safe environment, the elders and students learn to interact respectfully and to connect, communicate and problem-solve effectively with each other. "Our hope is that these interactions will have a long-term positive effect on both our elders and the Ames Lake youth," said Kelly. Promoting such bonds not only supports LBFE's mission to relieve elder isolation and loneliness, it also moves forward our strategic goal to enhance the diversity of our programming, among both our elder participant and volunteer bases.

On a recent visit to the afterschool program, our elders received a warm welcome from the children before activities got under way. A relationship-building exercise in the form of a game of 20 questions quickly broke the ice as the elders and students exchanged interesting facts about their lives. Next, hot chocolate and treats made the rounds. Then, our elder friend Robert amused the children with his magic tricks, before everyone's attention turned to a spirited game of bingo. With multiple ways to score, everyone was a winner. Students and elders selected prizes for each other and enjoyed sharing their winnings.


In 2015, we look forward to building on the success of our partnership with the Ames Lake Neighborhood Afterschool Program. Each event will incorporate a three-part format: an educational activity linked with an intentional exercise and a take-away challenge. As the year unfolds, we will keep you up-to-date on our progress toward helping bridge the generational and cultural divide in our community.

Card sharks! LuAnne and Mary Ford

LBFE Interim Executive Director LuAnne Speeter (right) ate cookies with elder friend Mary during October's Cards, Crafts and Coffee group. Elders and volunteers gather at LBFE on the third Thursday morning of every month to play cribbage and other card games, crochet or tackle another favorite hobby, and visit with the friends they've made here. Oh, yes -- and eat cookies!

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Friendship and Flowers: delivering bundles of care
Erase elder isolation: Not Alone! 2014
From the Interim Executive Director
Partnership bridges cultures and generations
Card sharks!
Activities calendar
Recent grants awarded
Holiday dinner sponsors
In memory
Fall photo gallery



Become a vibrant part of Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly!


Our heartfelt thanks are offered to the following organizations that have recently awarded grants or gifts to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Chapter of Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly: 

Elmer L. and Eleanor J. Andersen Foundation

Charity, Inc.

Leonette M. and Fred T. Lanners Foundation

MAHADH Fund of HRK Foundation

North Suburban Community Foundation

The Casey Albert T. O'Neil Foundation

Poehler-Stremel Charitable Trust

Stevens Square Foundation

David J. Sutton Fund of the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund


H.E. and Helen R. Warren Foundation

Wells Fargo Foundation Minnesota


More than 200 Twin Cities elders who would otherwise spend the holidays alone will have been treated to turkey dinners with all the trimmings, thanks to these generous individuals and organizations:

Richard and Katherine Braun

John and Kristin Joseph

Jerome and Clara Madsen

The Murphy Family

Michele Olson

The Prom Center

Southwest Hennepin Chapter of Thrivent Financial



Central Minneapolis Chapter of Thrivent Financial

Jerome and Clara Madsen




 The following elder friends we served were remembered at our October memorial services:


Joe Albert

Lorrene Chlian

Delores Franzwa

Don Harwell

Lavinia Murray

Bill Nordin

Judy Ross 


Our next memorial services are 

Monday December 15, and Monday, February 16, 

4-5 p.m. at 1845 East Lake Street in Minneapolis. 

We encourage anyone whose life has been touched by an elder we served to attend our memorial service. Please contact Josh Windham at 612.746.0732 or jwindham@

if you wish to attend. Open to all. 


 A DAY TO HONOR ELDERS. LBFE Program Manager Kelly Farrell offered fresh red roses to passers-by in a St. Paul skyway in honor of International Day of Older Persons on October 1. 

"GREASE" IN OUR BACK LOT! LBFE elders were treated to a classic car show and pizza lunch sponsored by the Twin Cities Roadsters. 

FRIENDS FOR LIFE. LBFE had a Little Free Library installed at the home of elder friend Jim Whitcomb. Jim had been a loyal volunteer for LBFE for many years, and we're thrilled that he is still a part of our family.

Roseville Rotary Picnic

ROSEVILLE ROTARY BIRTHDAY PICNIC. Despite the chill in the September air, the Rotary Club of Roseville provided warmth, hospitality and fantastic food for our elders. 




Musician Loren Wolfe entertained our elders and volunteers, singing the greatest hits of Johnny Cash to a packed house.