Press Releases

Hope Residence names Megan Schmitz as Therapeutic Recreation Director

Posted on Aug 01, 2019

Belle Plaine, MN (July 23, 2019) –  Hope Residence, a ministry of The Lutheran Home Association (TLHA), named Megan Schmitz as Therapeutic Recreation Director.  Hope Residence provides an extensive array of services to support and enhance the lives of residents dealing with disabilities such as Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism, ataxia and epilepsy. As Therapeutic Recreation Director, Schmitz will manage the in house activities for residents as well as focus on community activity programs including Magnified Abilities, Special Olympics, Rider’s With Disabilities and more.

megan intern2 - CopySchmitz has been a team member since 2013. Her various roles included Food Service Team Member, Certified Nursing Assistant, Home Health Aide and more recently, Life Enrichment Specialist at Kingsway Retirement Living.  Megan obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation, Parks and Leisure Services with an emphasis in Therapeutic Recreation from Minnesota State University, Mankato.

“With her experience, Megan has a great working relationship across our entire campus. She is professional, goal-oriented and demonstrates a clear passion for providing recreation for our residents. Our Hope family is looking forward to working with Megan,” said Debra Wilbright, Regional Director of Disability Services for TLHA.

Schmitz is currently completing an internship for her degree throughout The Lutheran Home: Belle Plaine Campus with the Therapeutic Recreation Departments. Upon completion of her internship, Schmitz will make the transition to join the team at Hope.

“I am excited to be part of the team at Hope Residence and feel welcomed already. I am looking forward to working with the residents and enriching their quality of life through recreational programming,” explained Schmitz. “I am happy to be able to bring my knowledge and experience forward to positively impact the lives of those who live at Hope Residence.”

In the role of Therapeutic Recreation Director, Schmitz is filling the shoes of Deb Wirt. After more than 20 years of caring for souls within TLHA organization, Wirt is retiring.

 “Working at Hope has been awesome; I have met so many wonderful people including residents, team members, family members, volunteers and community members,” explained Wirt. “I am 100 percent vested in the importance of the therapeutic recreation field and its benefits to others.  I enjoyed providing opportunities for our residents that allowed them to feel good about themselves.”

Deb has served in the role of Therapeutic Recreation Director at Hope from December 2009 to August 2019. Throughout her career, she has shared her knowledge and worked with 11 interns. Prior to serving in this role, Deb served different positions within The Lutheran Home Association. Starting in 1997, she worked as Therapeutic Recreation Director at The Lutheran Home: Belle Plaine. In 2006, she transferred to Program Manager at Hope Residence.

“Deb has been extremely dedicated to the residents and our team at Hope,” said Debra Wilbright. “She brought enjoyment to the individuals we serve through a wide variety of community activities. Our residents and team members will miss her very much.” 

About Hope Residence                                                                        
Hope Residence provides an extensive array of services to support and enhance the lives of residents dealing with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The care community offers four home-like living areas, a sensory room and on-site recreational programs designed to encourage social engagement and promote self-sufficiency—all supervised by team members committed to delivering the highest standard of care. Hope Residence is looking for caring, compassionate and dedicated team members. Visit to apply today. As a ministry of The Lutheran Home Association, Hope Residence provides for the spiritual, physical, mental and emotional needs of those entrusted to their care. For more information, visit For real-time updates, follow @TLHAword on Twitter or “Like” TLHA Belle Plaine Campus on Facebook.


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