Graduate Students from Dominican University in River Forest Begin Internship

Kathleen Matheny of Peoria and Sarah Walstra of Oak Park have joined the Oak Park Arms retirement community as interns. Matheny works in the marketing and leasing department, and Walstra assists with the Adult Day Care program and Home Care.

Matheny earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and certificate in Gerontology from St. Ambrose University in Iowa and is receiving her Master of Social Work from Dominican University in River Forest. Prior to the Oak Park Arms she held a social work internship at the Saint Matthew Center for Health and was a social service designee at Lexington Health Care.

At the Arms her responsibilities include assisting in the recruitment of new residents, developing interviewing techniques for prospective residents to help personnel assess their quality of life and creating individual profiles of ancillary services and recreational programming that will enrich the life and overall wellness of prospective residents.

In addition, Matheny will develop a family and resident support group as well as a dementia support group for participants of the Adult Day Care program, residents of The Arms and the external community.

“I have a passion for older adults from spending a lot of time with my grandmother when I was growing up,” Matheny said. “I just can’t imagine doing anything else.”

She hopes to one day be a director of an adult daycare or an Alzheimer’s and dementia unit. She is trained in elder abuse investigation and response, and CPR trained and certified. In her spare time she likes to run in local races, attend concerts and spend time with friends and family.

Sarah Walstra received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Drake University in Des Moines, IA, is currently a social work graduate student at Dominican University and is working on her Gerontology certificate.

“As a resident of Oak Park, I have always had an interest in the Oak Park Arms,” Walstra said. “I am so excited to have joined the family.”

Prior to the Oak Park Arms, she held a year-long internship at the Oak Park Healthcare Center. She has volunteered at retirement homes and adult day care programs and has participated in various mission trips for which she volunteered with the homeless, in soup kitchens and with children on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Before starting at Dominican, she lived for a year in Sydney, Australia.

In addition to their respective duties, both Matheny and Walstra will develop and administer quality assurance and improvement satisfaction surveys for residents and program participants to better meet their needs.

For more information call 708-386-4040 or visit

About the Oak Park Arms
The Oak Park Arms is a rental retirement community which provides senior housing in the form of independent living and assisted living apartments. Additional services include short-term stays, a transitional care program, and an adult day care. “The Arms” opened as a luxurious hotel in 1922 and for decades, it was the scene of wedding receptions, proms and ballroom dances. In the mid-1970s, two friends bought the hotel and created an active retirement community that was – and remains – full of life, service and spirit. Today, the same two friends remain involved and committed to excellence, ensuring that The Arms continues as an industry leader with a legacy of eminence and distinction.


Media Contact: Andy Richardson
Ginny Richardson Public Relations
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