Wilsons Fulfilled by Participation in Community
Mar 02, 2014 07:41PM
● By Laura Ustanovska
Photo by Heart & Soul Photography
Wilson Photos [14 Images] Click Any Image To Expand
Two years after moving from Waukesha to Delafield, Laurie joined the club and began working on the art festival, giving her the opportunity to get to know many of the wonderful, giving women in our community. She quickly pulled her family into the festival as well. “I managed the children's activities booth, while my kids (Kristen, 23, and Bradley, 20) helped sell drinks or work with the crafts, and my husband, Rich, grilled brats,” remembers Laurie.
Laurie, along with help from Kristen, has since moved on to chairing the silent auction tent, which alone raises about $2,300 each summer. In the fall of 2005, Laurie and a friend from the women's club started a fall fashion show. The purpose of the show is to bring women together for a social connection and has become a significant fundraiser, with all the proceeds returned to the community through various organizations and scholarships for graduating Kettle Moraine School District (KMSD) seniors.
Shortly after Rich and Laurie married, they began looking for a community and neighborhood they could raise their family in. “We fell in love with the feel of the small community of Delafield that was growing and vibrant,” says Laurie. “We purchased a lot in Valley Road in 1993 and started building that fall. We knew we wanted to move to an area where our children would have neighborhood playmates and families.”
The location is perfect for Rich, who loves to fish, golf and travel with his family. Rich is a sales engineer for the spectroscopy product line of PerkinElmer; his territory includes Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota. “Rich is known for his life-long interest in weather,” comments Laurie, “and he loves to share his thoughts about the latest extreme event.”
Kristen is a 2008 Kettle Moraine High School (KMHS) graduate, who, in 2012, also received a degree in actuarial science and finance from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Upon graduation, she moved to Chicago and is working for Aon Hewitt in Lincolnshire as a consulting actuary. “Kristen is taking advantage of all the activities the city has to offer,” reports Laurie, “and last fall she got her own cat, Nox (named after the spell in the Harry Potter books).”
Kristen began piano lessons at a young age and continued studying throughout high school. During her high school years, she also composed several piano pieces, which were published and professionally recorded.
Brad graduated from KMHS in 2011 and went on to study engineering at the University of Illinois. “During all four years of high school, he was very active in the high school robotics team,” explains Laurie, “and was able to attend various competitions, including contests in Atlanta, GA, and Washington, DC. He has worked at Kurt's Steakhouse in Delafield since he was 14 as a busser, host and also a waiter. Brad is highly inquisitive and resourceful, with a passion for science.”
Laurie adores the family's two cats, Biscuit and Melody, who both love to be around their family. “Biscuit is our cat that is more like a dog as he absolutely loves to beg for food,” says Laurie. “Being so motivated by food, we’ve taught him to play dead. When we say 'Bang!' he lays down and rolls to his back with his paws up. He then gets rewarded with some of his favorite cat treats.”
The whole family loves to travel and has enjoyed many family vacations together. Rich and Laurie have visited all 50 states through various road trips, flights and cruises. Together, the Wilsons have enjoyed cruises to Alaska and the Caribbean and a trip to Germany, Austria and Prague, Czech Republic, where they appreciated the culture and cuisine. Just this past December, Rich and Laurie had the chance to go to Maui, celebrating 25 years of marriage at the same location they honeymooned. “We have also enjoyed traveling with Rich's brothers and their families to various places, including Breckenridge, CO, San Antonio, TX, Charleston, SC, and Ireland,” adds Laurie.
The Wilsons belong to Christ the King Lutheran Church - Delafield, WI. One of Laurie's favorite activities there is the gingerbread house building program for families. “A local baker brings all of the pieces, candies and materials and teaches everyone how to assemble their houses,” explains Laurie. “I have been coordinating this for the last 10 years, and it has become a tradition for so many families.”
Perhaps Laurie is best known around Delafield for her position at All God's Children Inc - Delafield, WI(AGC). Back in the fall of 1999, she started working in the Froggy Five classroom shortly after both of her children graduated from AGC. A few years later, Laurie moved into a position in the office, and, in the fall of 2006, she took over as the director/administrator. “I absolutely love where I work!” exclaims Laurie.
“Our preschool offers a very loving environment, where children can learn through a play-based curriculum,” explains Laurie. The preschool, located in Christ the King, offers half day classes that meet two or three times each week for children who are 2 ½ and older as of September 1. The school also hosts a KMSD 4K program that meets five days a week.
“This is such a special place to me for so many reasons,” elaborates Laurie. “Watching these preschoolers grow over the months and years is so rewarding – from those first times in fall when they may have a hard time separating from their parents, and then to see them run inside their classrooms filled with excitement; it always puts a smile on my face. Through this position, I have been able to meet so many families when their children are ready to start preschool or when they first move to Delafield. It is so rewarding to get to know the families and watch their children grow. Additionally, many families have become good friends because of their time at All God's.”
Laurie confesses that one of the biggest challenges she faces is continually adjusting to change. “With the adoption of the 4K programs by local school districts, we had to adapt some of our programs.” AGC students are welcome to stay for lunch bunch, extended enrichments and Jump Start, which focuses on numeracy and literacy for 4-year-olds. “We have just installed and implemented a new security system for our center,” adds Laurie. “We are always open and willing to change to serve the interests of our families at AGC.”
AGC likes to be connected to the community, and you will find Laurie participating in Lake Country Community Fest, Kids Fest and Trick-or-Treating in downtown Delafield through her position as administrator. The artwork of the students from AGC is on display at Tadpoles - Delafield, WI and the Delafield Public Library - Delafield, WI – another way the preschool stays connected to the community.
The Wilsons love living in Delafield, and their neighborhood in particular. “I remember the very day we moved into our new home; four neighbors stopped to welcome us!” recalls Laurie. “From that moment, I knew this would be the home we wanted for our family. The neighbors have been welcoming, caring and connected. As our kids were growing up, there were neighborhood pool parties, play groups, babysitters nearby, subdivision parties and picnics and, of course, many, many friends!”
“Several months after moving into the neighborhood, I joined a bunko group,” remembers Laurie, “and I continue to play monthly with the same group. We’ve had couples bunko, Halloween costume bunko and this Christmas we sponsored a family, donating presents and spending the evening wrapping gifts.”
One of the Wilson's favorite neighborhood traditions is the annual lighting of luminaries lining the streets of the neighborhood on Christmas Eve. “This tradition, allowing all to enjoy the beauty of this special night, has become one of our favorites,” concludes Laurie.