St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care added three new members to its Hall of Friends on Friday, May 21. James Mazzulla M.D., Cynthia Wiktorek and Leigh Peterson were recognized at a 10 a.m. ceremony and reception at St. Ann Center’s Stein Campus, 2801 E. Morgan Ave.
Established in 2014, the Hall of Friends Award recognizes people who have dedicated their time and talent to helping the nonprofit center provide health and educational services for children, frail elders and adults with disabilities—all under one caring roof.
“These talented people are an integral part of St. Ann Center,” said Sr. Edna Lonergan, president and founder of the unique day services center. “We rely on their caring and compassion to bring our mission to life.”
Meet the 2021 honorees:
James Mazzulla, M.D. practices at Primary Care of Milwaukee and is certified in geriatric and internal medicine. He is also the medical director for St. Ann Center’s Stein Campus. “Dr. Mazzulla has been an invaluable source of knowledge and support during the challenging months of the pandemic,” Lonergan said. “He is a key advisor and helped create COVID-19 safety guidelines that are keeping everyone here healthy and informed.”
Cynthia Wiktorek started looking into volunteering at St. Ann Center a week after she retired. She’s spent the last five years serving clients with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, including volunteering almost daily throughout the pandemic. “I enjoy getting to know all the unique personalities and working beside such a compassionate staff,” she said. Along with feeding and playing games with clients, Wiktorek has found, “the best way to connect with them is simply to be present and listen.”
Leigh Peterson is a longtime St. Ann Center supporter, overseeing her family’s foundation that was responsible for building a wing to house the center’s first 24-hour overnight respite. In 2019, Peterson and her friends volunteered to decorate all nine bedrooms in the center’s second overnight respite at its Bucyrus Campus. Sr. Edna added, “They also created life skills stations in our Dementia Care Wing, set up with props to look like places where people enjoyed spending time in their past.” The stations—an old-fashioned kitchen, sewing nook, workbench and nursery—give clients with dementia a stimulating environment that encourages them to remember life experiences and stay engaged mentally and physically.
St. Ann Center staff and clients presented the awardees with special gifts made by the day care youngsters and adults. Plaques with the names of the new Hall of Friends members were added to a wall above the grand staircase.