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Newton Presbyterian Manor provides fresh start for new Independent Living resident

When Melody Leavitt and her husband decided to separate at the beginning of the year, it signified two major life changes—the end of her marriage and the end of her time on the family farm she had called home for the past 41 years.

Untethered to a specific location for the first time in decades, Melody found herself exploring new parts of the state before eventually deciding on Newton.

“I looked at several places, but Newton had a strong pull because my sister lives here,” said Melody.

The next challenge was finding a place to live that would meet her needs and feel like home. Luckily, she found both at Newton Presbyterian Manor.

“I knew I’d miss the farm and nature, but as soon as I walked down the hallways of the garden rooms and saw all of the plants, I knew I was in a good place,” said Melody.

And now, three months in, Melody says her transition to her new home has been made easier thanks to the people she has found herself surrounded by.

“Wonderful staff, wonderful people—just a very welcoming environment,” said Melody.

That said, she says she’s still in the process of getting settled in.

“I’m a crafter—I make jewelry, do macrame, scrapbook and do some quilting—so I brought my craft supplies with me and I’m setting up a craft room,” said Melody.

Once she does, Melody would like to share her love of art with others at the community.

“I’m hoping to teach some craft classes here,” said Melody.

Those who have already gotten to know Melody have probably picked up on another fact about her—she loves her family.

“I like to brag on my kids,” said Melody. “My oldest daughter is an aerospace engineer and recently led a team that built a weather satellite for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. My other daughter is an environmentalist working for the Nature Conservancy and works with international teams on forest preservation. My son is a hotel manager in Topeka.”

Some other things to know about Melody is that she was a mental health clinician, a college professor, created social services organizations and is passionate about the environment and does what she can to ensure a sustainable future.

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