Options of Linn County has recently expanded its day habilitation program for adults with developmental disabilities. The expanded program offers more choices in daily activities, including community-based volunteer opportunities as well as group activities in the community. The launch of the new program demonstrates Options’ commitment to offering quality programming now and into the future.
“People served by the program will actively participate in the selection of their daily activities, which can include going out into the community,” said Reggie Ancelet, associate director of Options. “The frequency that community outings are offered to the people we serve and the level of interaction is dependent upon their needs and interests.”
Staff members from Options’ expanded day habilitation program have developed integrated community activities at approximately 200 different locations. Activities include touring the Cedar Rapids Fire Station, picnicking at Prairie Farm Fishery during warm weather and visiting the Cedar Rapids Library.
Options is also currently partnering with more than 20 community organizations for volunteer opportunities including the Cops ’n Kids book program, sponsored by Quota International; Meals on Wheels, sponsored by Horizons; Backpack Project at Taylor and Kenwood Elementary Schools; Christ Episcopal Church garden; Catherine McAuley Center; Mt. Mercy University; Linn County Veterans Affairs; Deafinitely Dogs; HACAP; Catholic Charities; and West Ridge Care Center.
“People served are really excited about the volunteer opportunities offered by the expanded day hab program,” said Judy Monk, Program Coordinator. “We’re always exploring additional volunteer opportunities. It’s a great way to make an impact on the community, both for the adults with disabilities who are contributing through volunteer work and also for the organizations that benefit from their time and skills.”
Feedback from the people participating in the volunteer programs, their families and the partner agencies has been very positive. One person noted that “it gives me a sense of purpose again since I lost my job. I feel I am giving back.”
A parent indicated that participation in the Meals on Wheels Program is the reason her son gets up in the morning.
In another instance, community staff from the Backpack Project provided Options with a garden site, located near Christ Episcopal Church on the Northeast side of Cedar Rapids, to show appreciation for the volunteer work. People served by Options plant and maintain the garden and use the produce from the garden to develop their cooking skills.
Options of Linn County was recognized by the Cedar Rapids Community School District in November for volunteer contributions at Kenwood and Taylor Elementary Schools.
Even with the community-based activities, people will continue to be served in the Options facility. Skill building activities, such as folding laundry or cooking, crafts, games, exercises, and discussing current events are also offered. Presentations from community organizations, including pet therapy staff and pets, artists, the fire department and various music groups, are scheduled many times throughout the month. Opportunities to work on volunteer projects are also offered in the Options facility.
Changes in the day habilitation program were prompted by the interests of the people served and changes in Medicaid requirements. Medicaid provides reimbursement to Linn County for a large portion of the Options programs.
Options of Linn County is one of several providers offering day habilitation services in Linn County. People seeking services will review day habilitation programs offered by all area providers to determine which program best meets their needs. Factors considered in the selection of a provider include location, staff, hours of operation, duration of activities, interest in the recreational opportunities offered and types of volunteer activities that are available.