SHE GIVES BACK

enAble helps adults with developmental disabilities thrive

Photo provided by enAble of Georgia Foundation, Inc.
enAble gets a visit from Santa.
Photo provided by enAble of Georgia Foundation, Inc.
Seth B., and April Olsen, Development Manager enAble of Georgia Foundation, Inc.
Photo provided by enAble of Georgia Foundation, Inc.
enAble walking club.
Photo provided by enAble of Georgia Foundation, Inc.
Photo provided by enAble of Georgia Foundation, Inc.
Photo provided by enAble of Georgia Foundation, Inc.
enAble on outing to zoo.
Photo
By KATHLEEN STURGEON
Posted

April Olsen has a passion for her job, mainly because of the people she gets to help.

Every day she gets to help the 125 adults with developmental disabilities who use enAble of Georgia, a nonprofit agency.

The group was founded in 1979 by a group of concerned parents seeking a place in their community that could provide a nurturing home and quality support services for children. Now, the 125 adults are supported with residential services including 18 group homes, day services and supported employment.

Olsen was hired in 2014 while interning with the organization during her senior year at Kennesaw State University studying human services — nonprofit administration.

“I have a passion for the individuals we support,” Olsen said. “The development team fundraises year round to help support the folks that we serve. Ninety-nine percent of our individuals are on Medicaid waivers and anything ‘extra’ they might need comes from the funds raised by development.”

With the increasing numbers of people affected by autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and other developmental disabilities rising, Olsen said the need for these programs is huge.

“There are thousands of Georgians on the waiting lists for waivers,” she said. “Often after high school these individuals sit at home dreaming of the support and services needed to live a fulfilled life, something that many of us take for granted. By offering the services we do, it gives the individuals the opportunity to live, work and play in their community.”

The adults take educational classes to teach skills in home management, communications, socialization, advocacy, rights, self-preservation and community living.

Support is also provided to help them participate in leisure activities of interest. Community inclusion activities vary from participating in volunteer work, attending a local senior center to maintaining health and fitness at a local gym.
Pre-vocational services are geared toward preparing individuals to join the work force. Support consists of teaching skills needed to find and maintain employment.

Community Living Support Services are provided to those either living at home with their family or in the community in their own homes. In either case, the goal is to support people to live as independently as possible by providing coaching and assistance in the areas requested by the person and/or the family.

Areas of training include meal preparation, bill paying, grocery shopping, personal hygiene and using public transportation.

Additionally, enAble offers residential services within group homes located in typical neighborhoods. These homes consist of no more than five people living together who have similar interests and/or support needs. Trained professionals provide 24-hour support to coach and mentor in all areas of daily living activities such as personal grooming and outward appearance, health and safety, communication and socialization, and home management skills such as meal preparation.

Olsen said she often jokes the adults have a bigger social life than anyone in the office.

“They’re very active in the community playing softball, bowling, doing arts and crafts or enjoying a meal out with friends,” she said. “The local parks and recreation have added great events for our folks. Many churches have adopted our homes and make monthly or annual volunteering events possible. We are lucky to have many supporters who embrace our individuals and donate throughout the year.”

The group is currently planning its 30th annual gala for next spring, potentially held at the new hotel at Avalon. To learn more, visit enablega.ord. ■

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