Since Shellie Sullivan came on board as community life manager about seven years ago, residents at Lakeview Village have come to expect a full schedule of fun, even fantastic events. Armed with a hospitality background, the former teacher and Lakeview volunteer puts her experience and energy to work orchestrating events that range from wine tasting to casino parties.
“Anything that goes on here, Shellie helps with and you know it will be fun,” said resident Barbara Joiner. “You can’t be bored at Lakeview unless you want to!”
A resident since 2005, Joiner is one of Lakeview’s most involved residents. She serves on the Catlett Scholarship Committee, the board of the Lakeview Village Foundation and chairs the High Tea fundraiser for the Centerpointe Care Center. She has worked with Sullivan for years and appreciates her commitment, creativity and work ethic.
“Shellie is a neat gal and we are blessed to have her,” said Joiner, who observed Sullivan’s ability to work hard, behind-the-scenes. “She never complains, always listens, offers suggestions and works like a Trojan!”
Organizing amazing events is only one component of Sullivan’s job description. She also oversees the volunteer and activities coordinators, transportation, the three beauty salons and the reception desks. She sometimes even drives a bus.
But developing incredible events and nurturing resident participation are what Sullivan is most famous for around Lakeview. Working within a tight budget, her team manages to offer these free and fun events with amazing reliability.
A quick rundown of events includes the Wine Tasting in July, “Trunk or Treat” in October, the Holiday Craft Market in November, High Tea in January and the Super Bowl Party in February. Sullivan and her dedicated, two-person staff also coordinate and execute every detail of the most popular, annual “super” events, the What-Not Shop Fashion Show in April and Casino Night in November.
Last year, 275 residents packed the big activity room for the Fashion Show themed “The Last 50 Years” in honor of Lakeview’s 50th anniversary. The models, master of ceremonies and other participants hailed from the 70-volunteer cadre of the What-Not Shop. But Sullivan and her team did all the planning, prop-making, producing and clean-up.
“We had fun with giant boot props we made to represent the 1970s to the music, ‘These Boots Were Made for Walking,’” recalled Sullivan, who noted the team probably puts in more than 100 hours on the event. “But the high point of the show was when a 90-year-old male resident, costumed in a red dress and wig, danced to Roy Orbison’s ‘Pretty Woman’!”
Casino Night is the other big Sullivan blow-out. Formally known as “Resident Appreciation Night,” Casino Night fills the house with blackjack, poker, roulette and craps, cash bar and snack food. But what residents really love are the Mouse Races. Yes, mouse races!
“Everybody gets to play and bet on a mouse,” explained Joiner. “My mouse turned around and ran back into his cage!”
Why do Sullivan and her cohorts go above and beyond to create over-the-top entertainment for the residents? Her simple, straightforward answer is, “We do it for the residents. We like them to have fun – it’s all for them!”
“It brings them joy; we want people to feel at home and to join in the fun,” continued Sullivan, musing about how residents benefit from all this extra effort. “Also, if they participate in the events, there’s no way they can be bored!”