2009-07-01 / Business

Longtime advocate retires from Cornerstone Manor

Warkentin Warkentin Amherst resident Lora Warkentin, an advocate for homeless women and children, will retire as director of Buffalo City Mission's Cornerstone Manor after 15 years of service.

Under her tenure as director, The Buffalo City Mission expanded its outreach to women with a new 61,000-square-foot building constructed in 2006 following the successful "Turning the Corner Capital Campaign."

"Lora's legacy will live in the many women and children she has touched throughout the years," said Executive Director Stuart Harper. "She practices tough love and cares deeply for women and children in our comm unity." He said Warkentin poured her heart into her ministry, advocating, teaching and mentoring those who desired to make enduring life changes.

Warkentin became director in August 1994. Coming from a childhood of homelessness herself, she spent eight years fleeing through the war-torn Crimea in the Soviet Union. Prior to coming to Buffalo, her professional achievements included upgrading the standards of a hospital in Ulysses, Kan., to obtain national accreditation; advancing the care of handicapped youth from a medical model to a community based behavior model in Toledo, Ohio; and developing an alternate living model for persons who were relocated from mental hospitals in Ontario.

Warkentin moved to Buffalo in 1989 to begin her graduate studies at the University at Buffalo. She is a 2002 Leadership Buffalo graduate and the recent recipient of the Woman of the Year Award from Business & Professional Women of Buffalo and the 2009 YWCA Leader - Professional Service Award.

She is a member of the Buffalo/ Amherst Business and Professional Women, Sigma Theta Tau, the District 2 New York State Nurses Association and Zonta Club of Buffalo.

"It has been my greatest honor and my life's work to serve the women and children of Cornerstone," Warkentin said. "We have come such a long way, but there is still a great journey ahead. With all we've done, there are still so many women — abandoned, abused and broken. I will carry them in my heart and remember them in my prayers."

Warkentin will vacate the post in late June but will continue in a part-time status in which she will continue to mentor the staff and the women in the recovery programs and work with a search committee in canvassing for her successor.

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