In the 1950s, Jacob J. Klassen, Jacob P. Martens and Abram J. Friesen had a vision to care for elderly people in Abbotsford, B.C. With support from members of Mennonite Brethren churches in Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Yarrow, they founded Tabor Home Society in 1959. With provincial government support, the society built a 39-bed personal care home, turning sod July 18, 1960.
Today, 280 seniors call Tabor Village home. Eleven participating Mennonite Brethren churches, whose thousands of members are also members of the Tabor Home Society, have inspired the mission of Tabor Village to be a seniors’ living community where more than 400 staff members and volunteers provide “care from the heart” with Christian compassion, dignity and respect.
On June 20, 2015, Tabor Village marks its 55th anniversary with a community celebration. The afternoon event held at the Clearbrook campus of care will include a farmer’s market, children’s fun area, English high tea and musical entertainment.
“The 55th anniversary is an opportunity for the community to come together and rejoice in the way seniors’ lives are transformed through meeting the changing needs of an aging population,” says Hildegard Bandsmer, Tabor Home Society chair. “The increased support of volunteers and additional revenue generation through fundraising has only enhanced the lives of seniors with new dignified spaces creating better opportunities for families and friends to spend meaningful time together.”
Over Tabor Village’s 55-year story, it has touched thousands of lives. Seniors have married and been baptized – a testament to the transformative life experience created at Tabor Village.
“Since the 50th anniversary, Tabor Village has received accolades for creating a culture of safety, excellence and continuous improvement with much of this success credited to the workplace environment where people can excel and achieve their personal best,” says Dan Levitt, executive director.
“Looking ahead to the future, Tabor Village is exploring how new programs and services within a state-of-the-art Christian living environment will be created to meet the needs of the growing demand as the elderly population increases and the cases of Alzheimer’s disease escalate in the decades ahead.”
Tabor Village has always paid attention to nurturing the spiritual health of residents and tenants. Tabor Village believes that the values and virtues promoted by the Christian faith greatly enhance the quality of care.
“Seeking to make advances through innovation, and to gain insight into the senior care sector, Tabor Home Society will continue to focus on strategic priorities that will empower us to meet our commitment to ‘care from the heart,’” says Bandsmer.
- Abram Friesen was appointed the first house father.
- Katie, his wife, supervised the work of the staff and helped out in the laundry.
- Abe was responsible for the business and daily management and was the chaplain, counsellor and nurse as required.
- New additions were built in 1963 and in 1972, providing a total of 118 complex care beds.
- In 1987, Tabor Manor, a 38-unit apartment building for independent living was constructed.
- In 2006, Tabor Court, a 104-unit assisted living facility, opened.