Late last year, the New York State Office for People With Development Disabilities awarded the Yonkers-based business the contract to run a program in Mount Vernon that will support 37 men and women with developmental and intellectual disabilities at their location.
The program will be open to those in need throughout the community, who can come to the program during the week to work on life skills that will eventually lead to greater independence. According to Leake and Watts officials, the location at 2 Cortlandt St. underwent sweeping renovations to ensure it “was in line with the person-centered philosophy of their programming.”
“We made it feel like a welcoming clubhouse,” Denise Walsh, the Assistant Director of Intellectual and Developmental Disability Services, said. “It is a place to come together and help our participants plan for a productive day ahead through a menu of engaging activities.”
As part of the “Without Walls” day habilitation program, participants pursue daily activities, such as visiting the library, shopping and exercising in an effort to help them gain independence and learn socialization and communication skills.
“The men and women in our program have some great skills and talents that they would love to share with the community,” Leake and Watts Assistant Director of Community Programs Casheif Belvin said. “We work one-on-one with each adult to help them create goals and chart a path to reach their fullest potential. Whether that’s through supported employment, volunteering or simply being a part of community events, our approach is person-centered and individualized.”
According to Ruth Tokarcyk, the Director of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, the adults with developmental or intellectual disabilities are “very valuable members of the community who have much to contribute.”
“These adults desire opportunities to get involved, and whenever possible, ‘give back’ however they can. This program helps them build confidence, pride and self-worth that allows them to do so.”
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