In April we hired a new staff. Her title is Residential Habilitation Services (RHS) Evening Supervisor. This supervisor will work some evenings every week to observe at the Residential sites. She will be able to troubleshoot for consumers and Direct Support Professional (DSP) staff. She will also be completing monthly environmental checks for safety, observe medication passes to be sure DSP staff are following procedure, check smoke alarms and address any issues that need attention. RHS Evening Supervisor is also responsible for staffing scheduling shifts and is on call 24/7.
We have had three (3) new consumers join our Supported Living Program in the last year. We are happy to have current openings available.
In August we began transferring RHS consumers from Day Services to our Residential/Supported Living Program. This brought our numbers to 27. Our consumers live in residential sites either alone, sharing a house with peers or in the family home. We offer staff support to meet the consumers needs and budget. We will continue to transfer RHS consumers to this program.
We have also been looking forward to some reorganization in our Supported Living sites. There have been a few consumer changes in the last year and we want to be sure each consumer is living in a home that best suits their needs and also gives them the opportunity to live with different peers if they don’t currently have a good match.
We have been struggling to hire and obtain DSP staff for several months. Recently we have hired several new staff and have been able to fill numerous shifts.
We were able to have our Summer Camp again this year. The location was at Tippecanoe State Park. Most of our RHS and Supported Living consumers attend this and spend a couple of nights in the cabins we rent. This is always a highlight of our summer. Other campers attend camps such as Camp Millhouse, ReYoAd and Camp Red Cedar. New friends are made and old relationships rekindled.
We work hard to give our consumers many different opportunities. In the past year, consumers have attended the following events: Turkey Tracks Hunt, Colts Game, Niles Scream Park, Cupcakes and Canvas class, News Boys Concert at Morris Civic, Cavalcade of Wheels, toured a Brewery, Potawatomi Zoo, MSDC/FOP Prom at the Moose, Residential Christmas Dinner Party, attended the Blueberry Festival, Fireman’s Festival, Wizard of Oz play, Apple Orchard tour, 42nd Street play at the Century Center, Red Bud Trail event, Mentone Egg Festival, and saw Great White and Dokken Concert.
We look forward to another eventful year!
A grant application was submitted to the Community Foundation in June, 2016 by an advocate for Manitou Training Center, with the focus on lowering the ceilings and upgrading the lighting in the workshop and break room.
It is the hope that if this project were approved, it would greatly improve the quality of programming provided by reducing the noise level, providing more even heating/cooling, and just adding an aesthetic quality which would serve to make present consumers proud, and future consumers drawn to a more attractive environment. We will be notified by late summer if the grant is approved.
Manitou staff determined there were some projects that could be completed without a great deal of expense, with a little help from our friends in the community. A “paint day” was organized. Letters were sent out to various community members, and the response was very positive. Twenty-eight volunteers from the Grass Creek Lions Club, the Whipporwill Church Youth Group, Fowler Finishes, and other friends and staff came together on February 27th to paint the workshop and consumer break room. Both rooms received two coats of paint. The Rochester VFW furnished pizza lunches for all volunteers. It was a great day.
At the end of June, 2016, Manitou Training Center was serving 27 clients in day services. Four individuals were receiving Follow-Along Services.
The year has flown by. Many changes have been experienced in the Community Crossroads Program. Real Products created a unique training opportunity for our consumers, providing a wide range of jobs in an integrated setting. It was sad to see Real Products close, and we will be forever grateful for Christie Rice’s hard work and dedication in overseeing Real Products and the Industrial Track. With the closing of Real Products, emerged our new “Rice Pod”. The Pod was named after Christie Rice and our “gym” crowd was moved into the renovated Industrial Track room. The Community Crossroads space is now much larger than previously, better accommodating our growing consumer population. The acoustics are much improved in the Rice Pod and the larger area allows better movement and flow.
We are proud to be able to offer our consumers many program choices, as well as a large variety of community and facility based activities. The old “gym” space will become a new gross motor area, coming full circle and will be again utilized for it’s original purpose.
Another big change was the opening of the new Senior Program on May 1. Many of our senior citizens had requested “retirement”, thus the Senior Program was born! The Senior Program option is a more comfortable, laid-back setting for our consumers to have choices and activities of their choosing, but in a more relaxed environment. This program has been popular and evolving nicely.
Our annual prom commenced in May, with a large and beautiful crowd. It is so satisfying to see the consumers we serve happy and carefree. The summer was busy as usual, with community outings and facility based activities, as well as the choice to earn a paycheck in the Pod. Our annual camping trip was held at Tippecanoe State Park in September. It was an amazing few days, with many fun activities to offer our consumers. These kind of events are what make us stop and think about the things that are really meaningful to our consumers and remind us why our staff love working with this population. Fall brought to us another party that was a big success as well. The winter rolled in and brought with it some severe weather! We are grateful that our fleet of vehicles has improved with the addition of at least two brand-new vehicles each year for the past several years, with many thanks to INDOT grants combined with our fundraising dollars. The newer variety of vehicles are meeting the transportation needs of those we serve in a safer, more effective way.
Looking forward, the ability to use the gym will be an exciting opportunity for our consumers. We continue to focus on the future needs and desires of our consumers and I believe the coming year will be chock-full of new innovations, as well as some old traditions and perhaps challenges. We are poised and ready for the future!
COMMUNITY EMPLOYMENT SERVICES
In Fiscal Year 2015, 52 individuals were served in Marshall-Starke Development Center’s Community Employment Services. The majority of individuals were residents of Marshall and Fulton Counties, followed closely by Starke County. There were a small number of St Joseph and LaPorte County residents served. The majority of program participants were in either their twenties or forties, while a smaller percentage were in their thirties. There was an even smaller number of individuals in the age ranges of fifties, sixties, and seventies.
There were 15 individuals placed in jobs this year. Of those individuals, eleven ended in successful closures through Vocational Rehabilitation. The four not ending in successful closures either quit their jobs or were terminated. Of the fifteen placements this fiscal year, seven of them were at businesses that had never hired from MSDC’s Community Employment Services. Staff are always excited when a new door is opened to them.