It takes a unique individual to dedicate her life to ensuring the betterment and well-being of those around her. Florence Kramer, a resident of The Legacy Willow Bend, has such a passion, as she continues enhancing the lives of others even in retirement. From a young age Kramer helped others, most notably by pursuing a career as a teacher for special needs students at a time when there were not many teachers entering that area of education. When she chose to take on a career in special education, she did so knowing that it would allow her to give back some of the blessings she received over the years. In retirement she continued her mission to change lives by starting the volunteer program for The Legacy Senior Communities, the not-for-profit parent company of The Legacy Willow Bend. Kramer led the program for four years, building a solid foundation for a program that now consists of over 350 volunteers donating their time to help seniors. After Kramer’s husband, Larry, passed away she decided to move into The Legacy Willow Bend.
“I feel extremely fortunate for everything I have experienced, and I am happy to have the opportunity to share my blessings with others,” said Kramer. “I began working in special education at a time when schools did not focus on it, and interestingly enough I was only one of six graduates with that degree when I graduated from Penn State. Teaching impacted my life in a tremendous way and allowed me to love my special needs students. I have a passion for giving back to others, and I think we all need to stay open minded by focusing on each other’s’ strengths, not weaknesses. When I was approached to begin the volunteer program for The Legacy Senior Communities, I knew it would allow me to continue giving back in a different way. The four years I spent with the organization were wonderful, and I loved seeing how we positively impacted the lives of those served by the organization. Now that I am a resident of The Legacy Willow Bend, it’s great to see the other side of the work that I nurtured. Watching the volunteers of today serve the residents and staff brings a smile to my face and reminds me that I built something lasting.”
Looking back on her time as volunteer coordinator, Kramer is most proud of the intergenerational bonds formed between residents and student volunteers. The relationships reminded her of what it means to care for others and realize the impact we have on one another’s lives. In addition to her work with The Legacy Senior Communities, Kramer has also served in various capacities as a volunteer in the Jewish community. Her service activities include a position as a past board chair for CHAI, the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas and other local organizations.
Today, Kramer is busy finding new ways to build a better world. While she may no longer have an active presence in the volunteer program, she actively encourages others to volunteer and serve the greater community. She attends the various programs and activities at the senior living community, urging her fellow neighbors to try new things, and she enjoys visiting with her friends who sometimes need a friendly face. It’s the little things that mean so much.
“We’re proud to have individuals in our community like Florence Kramer who remind us how even the smallest acts of kindness can leave a lasting impression,” said Laura Levy, executive director of The Legacy Willow Bend. “At The Legacy Senior Communities, we provide quality and compassionate care to those we serve, and Florence is a testament to that ideal as she continues to live by that standard every day. Having a former member of our Legacy team living in our community reminds us of the importance of our mission and inspires us to maintain our high standards. We hope that by sharing her story of kindness and selflessness, others are encouraged to serve their neighbors and the Greater Dallas community.”