Lisa Titus of Diakon's Office of Development with Charlotte Staton.
Senior living community resident sees varying needs, steps in to help
Allentown, Pennsylvania Wednesday July 31, 2019
Thinking of others comes easily for Charlotte Staton.
“I like the idea that maybe I can be of help to someone,” says the resident of Luther Crest, a Diakon Senior Living Community in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
She prefers, she says, to focus her help on a specific problem others face and to know her support produces results. She was inspired, for example, by a couple she met at Luther Crest to provide funding for memory-support programming.
“The husband had dementia and always wanted his wife at his side,” Staton explains. “She never had a minute’s rest. My idea was to create a haven for patients so caregivers could have a break.”
Her idea led to the 2017 establishment of the Charlotte M. Staton Center for Holistic Health at Luther Crest. The center develops activities, programs and support services for residents with memory-related issues.
Staton also has been generous in supporting Diakon’s benevolent care funding, which helps to underwrite care and services for residents whose financial resources have dwindled through no fault of their own. She is drawn, she says, to the notion that she could help make a difference for someone in those circumstances.
“To help someone whose money has run out—that’s something I believe in,” she says.
Her unwavering commitment to help others has resulted in her receipt of a Servant Heart Award and a Distinguished Patron Award (given to a few donors who have made exceptional contributions to Diakon over the course of a lifetime). The two Diakon awards acknowledge “gracious support for helping others in need.”
“They were a surprise to me,” Staton says. “I am sure there are many others who give and are deserving of the award, but it is nice to be honored.”
Staton has called Luther Crest home for 13 years. A native of Bethlehem and a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University, she had early aspirations to turn her journalism education into a career in advertising and “make it big in New York City.”
“It turns out I loved teaching. I loved the kids!”
Instead, she married after graduation and settled with her husband into a 100-year-old historic brick home in Mertztown, known for the beautiful iron fence, adorned with a pattern of bunches of grapes, surrounding the one-acre property. She lovingly tended her home and grounds, was active in the American Association of University Women and in forming the alumnae group of her college sorority; she also served as president of the Junior section of the Allentown Women’s Club.
Then a career opportunity presented itself—one she had vowed not to pursue.
“If you had told me I would go to college and become a teacher, I never would have gone,” Staton explains, smiling. “Everyone in my family was a teacher!”
A guidance-counselor friend told her the local school needed substitute teachers. At that time, anyone with a college degree could sub, so Staton signed on.
A short time later, she was told there was an opening for a fourth-grade teacher and the job was hers, as long as she pursued a degree in elementary education. She obtained the degree.
The year was 1963 and she remained in that role for 33 more years.
“I loved taking courses, so getting my master’s degree was no problem,” she explains. “And it turns out that I loved teaching. I loved the kids. Of course, there were changes through the years with both students and families. But fourth grade was just right for me.”
Charlotte Staton in front of art depicting her home. Two former students of hers painted the iron fence.
Staton believes Luther Crest was right for her, too.
After her husband passed away in 1985, she remained in the home she loved for as long as she could. But she also had known people who lived at Luther Crest so when the time came for a move to senior living, Luther Crest was her natural choice.
At the community you may find her playing cards, sharing a meal, enjoying a glass of wine with other residents and taking part in different activities.
But you may also find her lending a hand, as she always does when she identifies a way to help make someone’s life a little better.
Click here to read about other Servant Heart award winners.