A Valparaiso Parks Department Employee Spotlight: LaDonna Trapp

A Valparaiso Parks Department Employee Spotlight: LaDonna Trapp

When LaDonna Trapp asked to volunteer at the Banta Center, she never imagined it would lead to a permanent position and a new sense of fulfillment, purpose, and passion. 

After becoming a personal trainer with a specialization in senior fitness, Trapp approached the Banta Center with the idea of leading 30-minute Q&A talks with the seniors about the importance of their health and fitness. She quickly grew the talks into workout classes. Seeing her passion and commitment, the outgoing director suggested that LaDonna apply to take over the position.

“I never turn down an opportunity. You should never close a door, but always look at all of your options,” Trapp said.

In the short time that she has been at the helm of the Banta Center, Trapp has already made some great changes by encouraging new programs and new members.

“I’m excited about where we’re headed with growth,” she said. “We’re continually, nearly every week, adding on new members. I want us to be the place to go in the tri-county area. I want it to be a place where people know they can come in, get warm, enjoy our facility, or even take a nap!”

From a Silver Sneakers fitness program to partnering with local universities for Lunch and Learns, Trapp has set the wheels in motion for programs that will encourage wellness and a fuller life for seniors. With an eye on the future, she is full of plenty of ideas and dreams. 

“The one thing that I would love to develop, besides a well-sustained fitness and social center, is something to assist with Alzheimers and dementia,” she said. “Yes, there are places that you can pay to take your loved one while you shop or run errands, but that’s kind of hefty for some people to do for more than two hours and more than a couple of times I month. I would love to help with that somehow.”

Focusing on a holistic approach of body, mind, and soul, Trapp has taken the time to make the Banta Center a welcoming second home for seniors through her warm and friendly demeanor.

“I love the people. I love visiting with them and getting to know them,” she said. “I’ve enjoyed making connections and letting [members] know that I’m not going to hide behind my door. I’ve welcomed everyone that comes into my office with cares or concerns. I want to let them know that I care and make sure that they know I’m here to stay.”

Helping others is nothing new to Trapp. After graduating with a degree in Psychology in 2011 from Valparaiso University, where she attended classes at the same time as her daughter, she went on to work within the social services field for several years, helping families and others in need.

The Banta Center was a natural fit, and while the desire to work with the senior population was a newer idea, it’s not something that came as a surprise.

“I always had in my mind’s eye somewhere that I would be helping a senior get well, get them on a treadmill and get some exercise,” Trapp said.

In her spare time, Trapp runs her own personal fitness company and enjoys spending time outside gardening, going hiking, or bicycling with her husband. She also enjoys art and taking time out to paint. 

It is clear that Trapp has a passion for seniors and the Banta Center. No matter the project, she is sure to put her whole self into the work. It’s just who she is.

“I really enjoy being around seniors. They need love, attention, care, understanding, and more than that, they need to know that they’re valued,” she said. “Personally, I’m here as a servant, and my hope is that they see my faith and servitude towards them through all that I do.”
For more information about the Banta Center, visit their website http://valpoparks.org/196/Banta-Senior-Center.