Feed the Need – A Population in Need Helps Others
Story by Tiffany Burns | Mar 21, 2017
Meet Chris and Caleb, just two of twenty-three clients at Day Solutions, Inc., a day habilitation program for adults with developmental disabilities. When not working on their own individual goals at the facility, these two enjoy spending their time on community outings. The outings are paid for by the Day Solutions Foundation, a nonprofit organization, and include things like trips to popular city locations such as the Runge Nature Center, our beautiful state Capitol, restaurants, and shopping centers. When they are not busy exploring our city, Day Solutions clients also enjoy donating their time to other organizations and local businesses in need of volunteer services. Being able to volunteer allows Day Solutions clients the opportunity to implement the goals they are working to achieve like social skills, independent living, and employment skills; all the while giving back to their community.
Chris is a regular volunteer for the Buddy Pack program at Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri, an organization that provides nutritional foods to families relying on subsidized meal plans at school, on the weekends, and over holidays. Chris’s work includes picking the Buddy Packs up at the Food Bank, loading and unloading them as well as delivering them to West School. Chris’s mom Cindy says, “Being involved with the Buddy Pack program makes Chris feel like he has a purpose and that he’s helping others with the work he’s doing.” The men are not the only ones at Day Solutions who are busy volunteering.
There are several ladies from the facility that donate their time as well. Each week on Tuesday, Jackie and Jocelyn go to Cedar Hill school and spend time with Mrs. Lindsey Clark’s second grade class. The volunteers take turns reading to students, helping them work through their books, and allowing students to read to them. “Partnering with Day Solutions has had such a positive impact on my classroom. Our volunteers have helped boost confidence in my second-grade readers, and have given them yet another opportunity to practice and show off their skills,” says Mrs. Clark. Jackie also helps out, alongside Jean, the primary Day Solutions volunteer for the Fresh Start Market. The market is located inside of The First United Methodist Church of Jefferson City, and provides household necessities and personal hygiene products that are not covered by government programs to families in need. Every week, Jean helps to get the Fresh Start Market ready by unloading boxes in the supply room, stocking the shelves and breaking down boxes. Jean and her mother Lucy, were recently featured in a KRCG TV 13 story about the Day Solutions Facility. Jean’s mom says that stocking shelves at the pantry is a job that Jean is so proud of. Jackie also helps at Fresh Start by passing snacks to, and cleaning up after, the families that are waiting for their turn at the market.
In late 2016, Day Solutions, Inc. along with Day Solutions Foundation, became Certifying Organizations for the President’s Volunteer Service Award, which provides presidential recognition to American volunteers making a positive impact on their communities and their world. Over the last year, the client volunteers of Day Solutions have donated an average of 50 or more hours to local organizations each month. In an effort to promote inclusion of adults with developmental disabilities, this year, Day Solutions clients will be eligible recipients of the award.
The Buddy Pack program, Cedar Hill school, and the Fresh Start Market’s partnerships with Day Solutions volunteers are leading examples of our community opening its doors and minds to differences, and benefiting not only the lives of these volunteers, but also their own programs. Day Solutions is always looking for new, local business partners who wish to become involved in the volunteer program. For more information, please contact Executive Director, Danielle Schwartz, at 573-659-0624.