Peak Community Services (PCS), headquartered in Logansport, recently celebrated the grand opening of a new supported group living (SGL) home in Winamac.

Peak officials and other agency representatives were in attendance for the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new complex, which will provide an ADA-accessible home for low-income adults with developmental disabilities.

Chris Nabors, chief executive officer of PCS, said that it’s important their group homes are built directly within the community.

“In meeting the definition of inclusion in the community, we build our group homes within the community,” Nabors said. “We want our clients to be part of the community and live in a traditional home.”

The group homes through PCS are made available for men and women who meet State Medicaid Level of Care requirements and have support needs that require 24-hour supervision and intense active treatment.

Nabors noted there are currently four group homes in Logansport (two for men and two for women) and two group homes in Winamac (one co-ed and one for men).

PCS provides community living services throughout north-central Indiana. According to Nabors, they support men and women as they choose a place to live and continue working with them as they learn how to maintain their own homes.

Industry professionals provide needed support as these individuals learn to do the everyday things that come with living in their own homes.

Kaitlyn Aughinbaugh, residential program manager at PCS, said that like anyone, men and women with developmental disabilities have goals and aspirations. Through individual and group education, Peak’s habilitation program helps them achieve those goals.

“Some of our courses include healthy living, computer skills, budgeting, basic academics, community volunteering, social skills and more,” said Aughinbaugh.

Additionally, PCS provides support and respite services to families who have children or adults with developmental disabilities. These services are provided as temporary relief for the primary caregiver. Other similar services are available through state and federal-funded programs.

PCS director of day services and marketing, Harrison Smith, said that support is provided for residents to participate in community activities like going to the park, bowling, swimming, horseback riding, involvement in social clubs, sporting events and shopping. He said they have an underlying minimum of one event per month, however they often have as many as five or six events per month.

“We have all kinds of events designed to help include our residents into the community,” Smith said. “There are two different types of community involvement: there’s being in the community and there’s being a part of the community. We want residents to be a part of the community.”

Smith added that one thing they are trying to advertise more is getting volunteer groups to come in and work with the residents.

“We have a group that comes in and teaches fishing classes and we have a group that comes in to teach religion classes,” Smith said. “We also have a gentleman who is starting a woodworking class. All of these things help our residents’ vocational skills.”

PCS helps men and women with developmental disabilities discover their interests and skills. They work with many businesses in the community to develop and maintain competitive jobs. In partnership with these businesses, jobs are developed and a job coach is assigned to teach specific job skills and to support individuals along the way.

According to Smith, employment for people with disabilities means greater economic independence, an opportunity to use their skills and more active participation in community life.

“Doing a real job, in a real work environment, helps build dignity and self-respect,” he said.

Businesses that employ adults with developmental disabilities provide a valuable service to the community by reducing the cost of support services, saving tax dollars, encouraging self-sufficiency and providing vocational rehabilitation.

Reach Quentin Blount at quentin.blount@pharostribune.com or 574-732-5130.

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