It was an exciting day for the 27 program individuals served by the Community Service Board’s Day Health and Rehabilitation Program. It was the opening of a new library!
When the ribbon was cut, program individuals opened the door to a great treat – several shelves of new books and another wall dedicated to DVDs. Whether they chose a book to read or were more drawn to a movie, everyone was excited.
The CSB’s Day Health and Rehabilitation program serves Hanover County residents who have varying degrees of intellectual and developmental disabilities and needs. Individuals can access a variety of offerings on a daily basis, work on skill building and take advantage of social interactions with their peers.
“I’ve come a long ways,” says Amy, who has been with the program for three years. She recently lost a close family member. “Just being around people…has helped me get over the sadness,” she says.
“I love helping my friends cut with the scissors,” Amy added. “I love helping with Meals on Wheels. I like going to the stores.”
Justin is at the Center, which is located in the old Mechanicsville Library on Stonewall Parkway in Mechanicsville, five days a week. What does he love most? “Going out,” he replies. The Center has a pavilion with picnic tables where the clients can sit. “Shopping. Being outside.” He also loves to cook, and staff helps him.
The program sees that individuals are given opportunities to enjoy getting out into the community, whether it’s simply walking over at the adjacent shopping center, participating in a book club at the local library, going to the gym, going to a museum or doing volunteer work. Some help with Meals on Wheels and they volunteer with CARITAS once a month as well providing bagging assistance to MCEF (Mechanicsville Churches Emergency Functions) which assists families in need.
“Our biggest goal is that they interact with the community,” says Torrie R. Goodman, BSW, the program coordinator. She has been doing this for 24 years. “I tell people I started here when I was 12,” she jokes.
“The people that we serve here deserve to lead full lives just like you and I,” Torrie says. “That’s why we are all here, to help them experience that.”
The program operates Monday-Friday. During the remainder of the week, the individuals live at various residential settings. Each day starts with an 8:30 “coffee time” in which they can socialize with other members. Beginning at 9:30, they can get to other activities, such as catching up on the news and exercising. At 10:30, those who wish to do so can head out into the community, with staff support.
There is very little turnover with the individuals, Goodman says. Many have been with the program 20 years or more. Ages of those served currently ranges from the 20s to 70-plus.
Goodman’s staff includes Pam Barrafato and Dorothy Gibson, Training Specialist Supervisors; Kelly Blankenship; Shera Glasco; Veronica Gregory; Clarence Hart; Shavonne Jefferson; Patty Reel; Sharon Walker-Oliver; and Donnetta Whitfield. Dorothy has been with the program for 32 years and Pam for 28 and a half years.
It’s a great local government service and we are proud to recognize them during National Local Government Month, which is April.