Award celebrates Serenity Garden’s imprint on community

Award celebrates Serenity Garden’s imprint on community

Valparaiso | The Serenity Garden at St. Agnes Adult Day Service Center continues to enhance the daily lives of its guests and now the garden team has been recognized for creating this special space.

St. Agnes was among the nine recipients of this year’s Community Improvement Awards, which have been honoring innovation and enrichment through structure and property changes since 1967. The Valparaiso Greater Chamber of Commerce hosts the annual event to spotlight businesses and organizations making an impact.

“The committee is looking for those who have done something unique,” said Valpo Chamber President Rex Richards. “The improvements update the visual appearance of not only the building itself, but also the neighborhood and area.”

Pat McGinley, commercial loan officer at Teachers Credit Union, said the event centers on the award recipients’ efforts to support the continued growth and development of Valparaiso.

“The event highlights how we are an evolving community,” said McGinley, who also handed out the awards. “This is a great place to live, work and play and it is important to recognize the efforts of those who are supporting our community through new structures and improvements.”

St. Agnes’ Serenity Garden was created as a unique spot for those who face the daily challenges of living with Alzheimer’s and dementia. It includes a gazebo, sitting areas, putting green, mosaic posts, greenery and water feature.

“We now have an outdoor facility that is secure and very interactive where they can spend some time at the end of the day when they may begin to feel anxious,” said St. Agnes Director Barb Kubiszak. “There is a sense of peace and calm that is gained from spending time in nature.”

Kubiszak said the seed for the garden was planted more than 21 years ago.

“It has been a dream of Terri Dickus (St. Agnes activity director) and myself for many years,” she said. “We couldn’t have done this without help from Rob Szrom on landscaping and Mike Finley on design.

“We are very proud and honored to offer this to the community.”

Additional honorees of the 2019 Community Improvement Awards include: Brick Street Burrito, Grand Trunk Train Depot project, Hilltop Food Neighborhood House food pantry, Jordy ‘N Jax BBQ, McMahon Associates Inc., Porter County Expo Center, the building at 1703 Calumet and Valparaiso High School.

St. Agnes Adult Day Service Center offers a nurturing and structured environment for adults who are facing Alzheimer’s or dementia or who are not able to remain at home alone. St. Agnes provides health services, activities, exercise classes, daily chores and a comforting space while allowing family members to work or run errands during day hours Monday through Friday. For more information, visit