They range in age from 18 to their seventies and come from across Tama County. They are the Genesis Development “Discovery Family” who take part in the what is formally described as a “day habilitation program for people with disabilities.” It has been provided in Toledo for the past year. Phil Harms, the program supervisor, stresses much of what happens is based upon choices made by the participants. To provide a better understanding of the services offered an open house is set for next Wednesday, Sept. 24 from 5-7 p.m. at the center located at 1001 C South County Rd. (U.S. Highway 63) in the Professional Building just north of The State Bank of Toledo south location. Terry Johnson, CEO of Genesis Development, will be on hand to speak and answer questions. Genesis Development is also responsible for the operation of Pheasant Ridge, the former Tama County care facility located north of Toledo and group homes in Toledo as well as many similar facilities and programs across Iowa. Staff Phil Harms, a 20-year Genesis employee, and native of Gladbrook, took over the Discovery Day Program as the supervisor June 30 and has seen participation nearly double in just a couple of months. “I have a passion to serve people,” Harms says. “I’m nearing 50 and was looking for a new challenge...to get this program up and going.” He is assisted by Bailey Thompson, a Community Support specialist, who has been with the Discovery Family since it was formed last year. “I think the people here give me much more every day
than I give them. i love helping people and don’t feel like this is a job (I do).” Bailey has been associated with Genesis Development for 3 1/2 years and served in various roles at Pheasant Ridge, her last being as activity director until moving on to Discovery when it opened last year. Both Bailey and Harms agree “If the clients leave Discovery and are tired, they have had a full, fulfilled day at Discovery.” What they do is a list which provides everyone with activities to them busy and truly be “fulfilled.” The participants play a big role in deciding what these daily undertakings will be. Among the activities are community involvement: at Premier Estates of Toledo they water flowers and gardens, fill bird feeders and interact with the residents; Toledo Family Development Center- help serve meals and deliver Meals on Wheels in Tama and Toledo and bake cookies for special events; participate in Special Olympics at the regional and state level; participate in special event walks. New volunteer services include washing neighboring business windows, volunteering at the Marshalltown Animal Rescue League, pick up teach along the South Tama Recreation Trail and volunteer at Spanky and Sons Auction House. The Discovery center in Toledo features a full kitchen, a family area and areas for crafts, games and other projects. It’s not all work and activities. there are also fun events. Participants really enjoy playing cards, Harms and Thompson say. They also enjoy table games. Discovery Family members also shop at local stores in Toledo and Tama, eat out together monthly have “Library Days” at both Toledo and Tama public libraries attend the Tama county Fair at Gladbrook and take part in fishing days and picnic at Otter Creek Lake and Park. Harms says the Genesis discovery goal is “One hundred percent involvement - integration into the community by the last quarter of the year 2015.” Additional program information provided by Phil Harms, Discovery Day Program supervisor: •each client at Discovery will have an Individual Program Plan (IPP) developed for them that will include goals our clients want to work on to improve their quality of life through participation, interaction, recreation and leisure. •the Discovery Program requires a lot of planning and preparation. We schedule activities and events based upon clients input of choices, preferences and interest. •we do a lot of coaching / teaching with out clients. Vocational, coping, safety and social skills are completed by verbal supervision, prompts and hands-on coaching / teaching.
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