The Simon-Edmonson Center is a center-based Day Support program that supports adults with intellectual disabilities. The goal of the program is to prepare participants to transition from a center-based day support program into a community-based experience.
Through their daily activities, participants learn the soft skills they will need in the community: How to focus on a task, see a project through from start to finish, dress appropriately, greet someone in a friendly manner, wait in line and much more. They also practice functional skills like counting money, writing their names and making decisions about what they want to do during their leisure time. While Day Support is not a sheltered workshop or vocational program, some individuals choose to earn small amounts of money by shredding paper, folding pizza boxes and other activities.
SpArc, is a Community Engagement Program that places individuals with intellectual disabilities in volunteer positions in community settings. The goal of SpArc is to introduce participants to a variety of community experiences that help them discover their interests and talents. With staff support, serve the community through volunteering at churches, nonprofit organizations, and local businesses. They also have the chance to develop skills that may lead to supported employment opportunities in the future.
Individuals have many opportunities to use and develop their skills in real world situations. Whether it’s ordering their own lunch, counting their change, waiting patiently in line, or visiting a place they’ve never been before, individuals learn what participation and inclusion in the community looks and feels like.
Spotlight on Charlie
Ask anyone who has met him. Charlie is a charmer who knows no strangers. In a group, he’ll introduce himself to anyone he meets. “How are you?” he’ll ask, holding out his hand to shake yours.
Charlie hasn’t always had the freedom he has today. He hasn’t always been able to decide what he wants to do and have someone listen to him. He hasn’t always been invited to throw out the first pitch at a baseball game or get his picture taken with beauty queens. He hasn’t even always been allowed to keep his own money in his own wallet.
Charlie’s life is good today and as he continues to become more involved in the community, it will only get better.