Donations and the Impact of Kind Gestures

Abilities Services, Inc. assists people with disabilities, or similar disadvantages, with living and working in their local communities. Our goal is to help individuals with developmental disabilities, our consumers, achieve their highest potential and enjoy life where they live, learn, work, and play.

In early September we received a most welcome phone call. A gentleman, who requested to remain anonymous, was calling to inform us that he would like to donate a car to Abilities Services and to our consumers. The generous donation was significant in both size and impact; vehicles play a key role in quality of life for our consumers.

We commit a large amount of time and resources to keep our consumers engaged in a variety of activities, both in our facilities through our Day Services Program and in the local community through our Supported Living and Residential Programs. We schedule daily outings for our consumers and provide round-trip transportation for medical appointments, jobs, and volunteer opportunities across the community. ASI staff frequently use their personal vehicles to provide this service when agency-owned vehicles are not available. Unfortunately, staff vehicles are often unreliable and are not always available when needed, which can limit opportunities for consumers to get out and about. This hampers consumers’ ability to participate in programming and engage in Montgomery County.

The donated vehicle will be used to improve staff and consumer flexibility, and to provide more opportunities to get our consumers and staff out into the community. It will allow our consumers to have more meaningful and active days out, and more flexible schedules for medical appointments, jobs, and the like. The generous donation will allow Abilities Services, Inc. to provide more reliable transportation to and from Adult Day Services, Employment Services, Home by Choice, Protective Services, Recreation, Recreational Therapy, Residential Services, and Supported Living. It will have a direct and significant impact on the lives of our consumers, and we could not be more grateful for the support.

Donations are essential to the success of our mission, and the mission of other non-profits supporting people with disabilities. While the State of Indiana provides significant funding for the care of people with disabilities, these funds are often insufficient in covering costs that improve the quality of life for our consumers.

As a non-profit organization, ASI is always appreciative of donations that assist us in delivering the highest quality of care. Donations contribute to effectively managing our programs and services. They also fund activities such as birthday parties for our consumers, summer barbeques, and other special occasions for our consumers.

Monetary contributions can be designated for special projects or events at the donor’s discretion. Abilities Services can also make use of items that many people discard, such as furniture, household and hygiene supplies, and equipment (such as cooking supplies) for our Day Services Programs. If you would like to donate to Abilities Services, please visit asipages.com. If you are interested in learning more about the direct impact of potential donations to the lives of our consumers, please contact Michelle Leonard-Smith at Michelle.Smith@asipages.com.

Creative Expression Through Creative Abundance

In July 2016, Abilities Services, Inc. hosted a Creative Abundance arts programming workshop at our Clinton County day services location in Frankfort. The Creative Abundance program assists organizations that support people with intellectual disabilities with transforming their services to be more inclusive and community-centered.

The program, which catered to each of our Frankfort consumers on an individual basis, transformed the day services space and our consumers at that location. Consumers blossomed during the two-week program and have continued to express themselves and find fulfillment through art projects. Through the program, ASI has also connected with the local community through art displays, open houses, and more. “To say that changing our program over to Creative Abundance has been life changing sounds cheesy – but it’s true!” ASI’s Executive Director Michelle Smith is a strong advocate for the Creative Abundance program following its success in Frankfort.

“The excitement and enthusiasm that they brought to the program has transformed the way our consumers feel about their day program.  Watching the interaction, creativity, and talents grow on a daily basis is amazing.  People who have been known in the past to be a wall flower are now out in the community spreading the message about the new and exciting things that we are working on.”

The program empowered and inspired our consumers to express themselves and find pride in their work through art projects. Each and every one of the Frankfort consumers was involved in the program at their personal level of comfort. Our consumers began bringing new creations to life and the work they have produced in only a few short months is, in a word, stunning. They are happier, healthier, and more at home while participating in our day services than ever before.

The encouragement of creative expression for mental and developmental disabilities is unconventional, but it is proving to be effective and is beginning to be viewed as a best practice by care organizations throughout the country. Art offers creators an outlet, and opportunity to explore, and the chance to create something that can be appreciated and enjoyed by people they will never meet. “Without fear of judgment or interference of ego, [these] artists can simply explore the way lines emerge when they put pen to paper, and marvel at the singular beauty of each and every mark,” says art writer Priscilla Frank.

To help raise funds for the continuation of the arts programming at Frankfort, ASI will be hosting its first ever fundraiser on November 3rd. The event, which will take place at 7:00 p.m. at 110 S. Prairie Avenue in Frankfort, will be an art auction where attendees can purchase original works of art created by ASI’s Frankfort consumers. Of proceeds collected from the sale of each piece, 40% will go to the artist, 40% will support future ASI programming, and 20% will go towards the purchase of additional art supplies.

ASI has also partnered with the Journal Review print shop to print note card stationary featuring the work of some of our artists. These note cards, pictured below, are available for sale and can be purchased by contacting ASI at (765) 362-4020.

Based on the demonstrated success of the program in Frankfort, ASI is currently working to bring the Creative Abundance Group to Crawfordsville, where they will facilitate the arts programming and build artworks with our Montgomery County consumers and staff for a ten-day workshop. An ASI employed artist-in-residence will continue to offer arts programming following the conclusion of the workshop.  The success of the Creative Abundance has been transformative to the way we care for our consumers, and it is something that we intend to carry into the future for years to come.

Abilities Services, Inc. Is Looking For Your “Trash”

In early December, the Montgomery County Community Foundation awarded $20,000 to Abilities Services Inc. to implement the Creative Abundance program at its Crawfordsville location. Creative Abundance will train all administrators, staff, and consumers to create an atmosphere that encourages creativity and self-expression. The program includes art instruction and up cycling materials to create art which is then sold, with proceeds going to the artist, ASI, and to the continuation of the arts program.

The Creative Abundance program, which was previously hosted at ASI’s Frankfort location, has a significant impact upon ASI’s consumers and staff. At the Frankfort location, ASI’s consumers have had the opportunity to share their artwork with the public through an Open House event and an Art Auction Fundraiser. Through Creative Abundance, ASI’s consumers have learned to channel their energies and emotions into artwork. As a result, the agency has recorded a significant decrease in behavioral issues, and the quality of life of the Frankfort consumers has improved. ASI is excited to bring this innovative and inspiring program to Crawfordsville and looks forward to sharing consumer creations with the community.

To celebrate our consumers and the success of the Creative Abundance program, Abilities Services will be hosting an Open House (more details to come!!). The event, which will be open to the public, will be an art show and culminating capstone event that will celebrate our consumers and their artwork as the Creative Abundance program draws to a close.

To prepare for the Creative Abundance program, which will take place in January 2017, ASI is seeking donations of items of little to no value that are often discarded after the holidays. As you’re cleaning up from your holiday celebrations this year, please consider donating any of the following to support the innovative arts program:

  • Fabrics: Prom dresses, sparkly clothing, and 100% wool sweaters can all be repurposed for costumes and other crafts. Yards of cotton, upholstery fabric, velvet, bed sheets, spare curtains, and bedspreads can be especially useful, as they often serve as the canvas for larger than life art pieces created by participants. And, of course, with all of the painting going on, smocks and lab coats are always welcome.

  • Thread: Thread, yarn, and embroidery thread can be used in sewing projects or as accents for paintings.

  • Embroidery Hoops and Needles: Embroidery hoops 10” or smaller and blunt end, plastic and sharp needles will be used for sewing projects

  • Plastic Containers: Large and small yogurt containers, margarine tubs, hummus tubs, other plastic containers, and old cupcake tins serve as paint containers

  • Paper Mache Materials: Brown grocery bags, heavy paper (ex. craft paper, card stock, rolls, or sheets), colored paper, wrapping paper, tissue construction paper

  • Odds and Ends: Buttons, beads, costume jewelry, foam balls, lace, ribbon, rope, CDs, wooden objects of any kind, wooden chairs, tables, old desks, lampshades