This past year has been filled with many changes. Staffing for the program has been difficult. We have had a shortage of staff for about 2 years. We need at least six (6) staff to fill our current open positions.
The Supported Living consumers made some physical moves last summer and it has worked out well for them. They individually determined what house they would like to move into and who they wanted to live with. Some of them wanted a change of housemates; others were interested in a different more accessible home, so it worked out well for everyone involved.
MSDC sold our supported living site in Rochester last fall and purchased a duplex in Rochester instead. The duplex was renovated and turned into a single family home for our Rochester consumers. It is four (4) bedrooms, 2 handicapped accessible bathrooms, 3 living areas and large kitchen. Consumers moved after the first of the year.
We had six (6) consumers attend different summer camps this past year. All our consumers attended MSDC CAMPOUT at Camp Millhouse last September. This is the first time we used this facility and it was wonderful! Everyone had comfortable sleeping arrangements, great food and activities. Many consumers swam in the pool, enjoyed the campfires and we had community volunteers offering motorcycle rides to anyone interested.
This past year our consumers had a lot of fun doing the things they love. Special Olympics bowling, concerts in the park, Niles Scream Park, Hall of Heroes Comic Con, cookouts, fishing, holiday parties, Theatre, Turkey Tracks Hunt, Shipshewana Ice Sculpture Show, Popcorn Festival, 4H Fairs, MSDC Prom, Night to Shine Prom, Fall Dance, Firemen’s Festival in Bremen, Bingo, Showland Theatre, celebrating birthdays, going on dates, Blueberry Festival, Cupcakes and Canvas class at the library, church, touring museums and shopping at the Mall.
Next year we hope to grow as a program and find many more exciting things to do!
Community Crossroads has had a an amazing year in the new Pod setting. Currently, 243 consumers are being served. There does seem to be a trend with individuals choosing part-time group schedules and electing to have one-on-one services in their plans. We are happy to offer our consumers a variety of options to meet to the consumer’s individual needs. Our consumers enjoy Group Community outings, which is a great time to volunteer and give back to the communities in which they live as well as participation in meaningful social outings with peers. Our year of extra-curricular events included the Annual Camping Trip in August, the fall party in October and our annual prom in May. These events are very important to the consumers that we serve. Facility Based Groups are provided daily by 5 trainers. Each day, consumers have approximately 16 Facility Based choices of groups which they may attend. Facility based groups are learning opportunities that assist our consumers in developing new skills as well as retaining old skills. In Plymouth, our transportation routes have increased.
Our Senior Program has been a big success. It has been open for nearly two years! The consumers that have chosen to be placed in the program have been very happy and if any openings have arisen, they have been quickly filled by consumers wishing to increase days in that classroom.
COMMUNITY EMPLOYMENT SERVICES
It has been a year of changes for Employment Services. With funds from the Establishment Project, we were able to hire a new full-time Employment Consultant. We are ready and waiting for the influx of consumers that is expected in the fall of 2017 with the Vocational Rehabilitation changes to serve people with the most significant disabilities. The influx did not materialize the way it was expected and VR referrals have trickled in. We are grateful that the Establishment Project has helped fund our program through this slower time for referrals.
In Fiscal Year 2017, 57 individuals were served in Marshall-Starke Development Center’s Community Employment Services. The majority of individuals were residents of Marshall and Starke Counties, followed by Fulton County. The majority of program participants were in their teens or early twenties, while a small percentage were in their thirties and forties. There was even one in his seventies!
There were 15 individuals placed in jobs this year. Of those individuals twelve ended in successful closures through Vocational Rehabilitation. The three not ending in successful closures either quit or were terminated, one found other employment. Of the fifteen placements this fiscal year thirteen of them were at businesses that had never hired from MSDC’s Community Employment Services.