Monday, June 29, 2015

LifeROOTS Announces Three New Board Members

Lewis Reade, Jill Tatz and Susan Iliff Join Board of Not-for-Profit Serving Individuals with Disabilities

LifeROOTS (, the central New Mexico-based not-for-profit organization serving the needs of children and adults with physical, developmental and/or behavioral challenges, has appointed three new members to the organization’s Board of Directors. The organization has announced that Lewis Reade, Jill Tatz and Susan Iliff have been named to the Board – bringing a wide range of both professional and personal experience to the Board of Directors of the growing not-for-profit organization.

The appointment of Mr. Reade, Ms. Tatz and Ms. Iliff to the LifeROOTS Board of Directors continues to strengthen the role of LifeROOTS in providing important programs and services to help those with disabilities throughout the community. Members of the LifeROOTS Board of Directors provide guidance and oversight of the organization’s strategic initiatives, work to ensure that the organization meets its mission and objectives, and help in fundraising initiatives.

Mr. Reade, Ms. Tatz and Ms. Iliff each bring extensive experience to the LifeROOTS Board of Directors:

Lewis Reade brings a wealth of business expertise and valuable experience in the not-for-profit sector to his position on the LifeROOTS Board of Directors. An International Development Professional with decades of experience in private business, government and non-profit organizations, Mr. Reade has held senior career positions in the U.S. and overseas toward national economic growth promotion in the Middle East, Caribbean and Southeast Asia, and has led programs in economic development throughout the world. He has held executive positions through Chairman of the Board and CEO in a variety of high tech and services businesses, and has twice served as the CEO of major non-government organizations. His work in the U.S. includes having spearheaded and directed many important initiatives in the non-profit arena, including merging Big Brothers of America and Big Sisters International in the first merger of national youth servicing programs.

Mr. Reade’s work in the non-profit sector also included creating and managing programs for families, including child development, mentoring, single parent support, delinquency, prevention and court diversion. He has been named to the National Board of American Humanics, Inc., the national oversight group for all countrywide youth-serving organizations, and has a life-long history of volunteering at all levels in major national organizations, including Boy Scouts of America, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Junior Chamber of Commerce, INTEL International Engineering and Science Fair-2007 in New Mexico, as well as numerous local groups (including Placitas Artists Series, Albuquerque Council for International Visitors, Sandoval County CIVITAN Club, Rebuilding Together Sandoval County and KUPR Community Radio Station.) He was named to the Big Brothers Big Sisters “Hall of Fame” in 2004 as part of its first "Class", and, in addition to his role on the LifeROOTS Board of Directors, continues to be active in numerous not-for-profit organizations throughout the region. He is a former Electrical/Electronics Engineer with the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps, and also served as Adjunct Assistant Professor of Business Development at Whittemore School of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire.

Jill Tatz, MA not only brings more than 30 years of experience in education to the LifeROOTS Board, but also brings the important perspective of the mother of four children, two who have significant disabilities. She is currently the Director of Congregation B’nai Israel Preschool, and is also Family Faculty for the LEND Scholars Program at the Center for Development and Disability. Ms. Tatz has served as Disabilities Coordinator for the Pueblo of Isleta Early Head Start/Head Start Program, as well as served as Instructor and Clinical Supervisor at the University of New Mexico, where she taught various classes in the departments of Early Childhood and Special Education. She has held Adjunct Faculty positions at the University of New Mexico and Southwest Indian Polytechnic Institute in Albuquerque, as well as Northeastern Illinois University and Erickson Institute in Chicago, IL and National Lewis University in Evanston, IL and Harper College in Palatine, IL. In her role as an advocate for children with disabilities, she is very involved in Special Olympics, City of Albuquerque Therapeutic Recreation Services and Advocacy in the area of Disability and Special Education.

Susan Iliff, MA, OTR/L brings a great deal of direct experience in healthcare and occupational therapy to her role on the board, and has worked as an OT in several settings for more than 15 years. She is an Academic Fieldwork Coordinator and Lecturer for the UNM Occupational Therapy Graduate Program, and serves as a liaison for the OT community and university. Ms. Iliff, who is currently pursuing a PhD in Occupational Therapy at Texas Woman’s University, teaches and facilitates Problem-Based Learning groups with students, in addition to her work doing site visits in her role as OT. She has more than a decade of teaching experience; in addition to serving as a Faculty Leader/Instructor at the lecturing at the Occupational Therapy Graduate Program at UNM, she also served as Adjunct Faculty, Lab Facilitator and Lecturer for at a UNM/Albuquerque Public Schools Collaborative Program and a Clinical Fieldwork Educator for Albuquerque Public Schools. In addition to her role as a new Board member at LifeROOTS, she is a Fieldwork Advisory Board Director, where she leads monthly meetings with Fieldwork Educators from the Albuquerque community.

“We are thrilled to welcome Lewis, Jill and Susan to our Board, and welcome their valuable experience in business, education, healthcare and not-for-profits as we continue to work to help those with disabilities in our community,” says Kathleen Cates, LifeROOTS CEO. “Each of our Board members brings a unique perspective to their role on the Board, and we look forward to working with them at this important time for LifeROOTS as we continue our mission to empower the lives and shape the futures of those with disabilities.”

For more information about LifeROOTS, including a complete listing of the organization’s programs and services to help children and adults with disabilities, visit

Monday, April 13, 2015

We Got Creamed … While Raising Awareness And Funds!

On March 26th, LifeROOTS gave the community the opportunity to have some fun, and to show "management" how they really feel ... by throwing a pie in the face of several different LifeROOTS Managers, CEOs and even an attorney, who all volunteered to be part of the first ever "Throw a Pie In The Face of Management Event" held at Village Inn on San Mateo. 

Paul DiPaola, Regional President of US Bank and Cristin Heyns, Corporate Counsel and Director of Human Resources at Blake's Lotaburger, were great sports as they "got creamed" for a great cause ... helping to raise money, and raise awareness, of the work LifeROOTS is doing in the community.  In addition to Paul and Cristin, the event also featured members of the LifeROOTS Board of Directors, managers of different divisions within LifeROOTS and our very own LifeROOTS CEO, Kathleen Cates. 

In conjunction with the day's "Throw a Pie in the Face of Management" event, customers who visited the Village Inn that evening had the opportunity to have a percentage of their bill donated to LifeROOTS.  For each customer who mentioned that they support LifeROOTS, the Village Inn donated 10% of their bill directly to LifeROOTS.

"We came up with this idea as a really fun way to engage both our employees and the community as we work to raise money for LifeROOTS to help us enhance our programs and services that we provide to those with disabilities throughout central New Mexico," said Kathleen Cates.  "The concept of throwing a pie in the face of management is something that we think takes on a very timely angle in today's workforce and a fundraiser that has never been done with local companies here in Albuquerque. We thought it would not only be an event that all will enjoy, but a very successful way for us to raise money for LifeROOTS."

The event also featured a variety of other activities for employees and attendees at the fundraiser; including a pie-eating contest, and special relay races where participants make and carry pie boxes around the restaurant.  We also arranged for an on-site LifeROOTS information booth providing information to customers about LifeROOTS programs and services.

This first-ever event was a success in many ways ... and we're looking forward to building on this successful event as we begin thinking about next year's "Throw a Pie in the Face of Management" Event.   We've already received interest from local business leaders in the community eager to get involved in helping to raise money for LifeROOTS through this fun and unique event ... and we have a feeling that even more pies are going to fly in 2016!

Mother’s Day Plant Sale At LifeROOTS

We have an upcoming fundraiser that is sure to bring smiles both to all the moms out there, as well as our LifeROOTS clients! 

Our clients are busy at work in decorating beautiful Mother’s Day Flower Pots – a perfect gift for moms, grandmothers, aunts, sisters and all of the special people in your life.  Each one of these handcrafted flower pots – made with love from clients in our Day Habilitation program –are individual and unique.  Clients will plant a flower in each decorated pot, and they will be sold for $25.00 each.

For more information about the LifeROOTS Mother’s Day Flower Pot sale, call Lily at 505-255-5501 for more information about how to pre-order.

LifeROOTS Early Intervention Program Recognized by the State!

LifeROOTS Invited to Participate in Two Pilot Programs Over the Next 3 Years

We are thrilled to announce that
LifeROOTS has been recognized by the State for our quality services in our early intervention program, and invited to participate in two exciting pilot programs that will be of value to both our staff and our clients. It is an honor to have been selected for these two pilot programs, and we’re excited to be part of both of them over the next few years.

In the first program, which is training, we are being provided with video cameras and min iPads for five of our providers so that they may learn how to video tape for providers who cannot be sent into the field. Not only is this a great skill to have, but the equipment is a very valuable investment into our organization. For the second program, we are one out of only 8 agencies selected (from 38 in the State) for a pilot program related to IFSP (Individual Family Services Plan) development. In noting why LifeROOTS and the other seven organizations were selected, FIT Program Quality Assurance Manager Patti Ramsey noted each organization’s reliable data and strong leadership - a great testament to the skills and hard work of our early intervention team.

For more information about the LifeROOTS Early Intervention programs and services, click here >>>

How Does Our Garden Grow?

As many of you know, we have been hard at work in creating the LifeROOTS Community Garden - a beautiful outdoor garden where our clients can not only eat and interact with eachother in a communal environment, but will learn nutritional information and absorb practical gardening techniques through hands-on experience working in the garden. We are excited to offer our clients the opportunity to be active participants and work together in the gardening process - where they will learn the skills of planting and cultivating vegetables and learn nutritional benefits and ways to prepare vegetables for healthy consumption .. and even more excited for them to experience the joy we know they will find as they watch the garden grow due to their efforts ... and have the opportunity to eat the fruits of their own labors!

The garden is almost complete and we are excited for our goal of having it ready this Spring ... but we still need some help. Through previous donations from the Anderson Foundation and General Mills, the construction of the community garden has been accomplished. However, in anticipation of completing this project, we still need to purchase handicap accessible furnishings including outdoor tables and chairs and waste disposal units. We are seeking contributions from our supporters to help us complete this last step, and are trying to raise $3,000 to complete this beautiful garden for our clients. LifeROOTS will be recognizing all sponsors with a special tile in their name on the wall of the community garden.  

We hope you will consider joining us in making our LifeROOTS Community Garden a reality for our clients ... who are all eagerly awaiting the opportunity to make a difference in their lives, and the lives of others, through their work in our Garden. For more information about how you can become a supporter of the LifeROOTS Community Garden and donate to this important project, call Kathleen Cates at 505-255-5501, or click here for more information about how you can donate.