Julie and Andrew’s son, TJ, is enrolled in Discovery Depot Child Care Center at MRI Independence Pointe. Julie and Andrew’s older son, Landric, is a former Discovery Depot participant and is currently in Kindergarten. Landric’s kindergarten teachers were impressed with how prepared he was when school started. Julie believes, “this is because of lessons and work ethic that was instilled in him through the teachers at Discovery Depot.”
Landric and TJ were able to prepare for the structure of kindergarten with Discovery Depot’s similar daily routine. At 3 years old, the brothers began learning to sit quietly and wait for instruction, line up while keeping bodies and hands to themselves and follow directions. They were also given daily jobs to enhance social skills, like calendar helper, weather watcher and line leader. Landric and TJ have also become accustomed to being away from Mom and Dad all day, which can be an issue when entering Kindergarten. When Landric and TJ first learned to sit up, then crawl, and eventually walk, the staff were just as excited as Julie and Andrew.
“There is no place that we trust more to look after and teach him the lessons and social skills that will be needed throughout his childhood.” –Julie Cox
Discovery Depot Child Care Center serves up to 69 children ages 6 weeks to 6 years full-time and accepts children of ALL abilities. Discovery Depot emphasizes communication with the parents on the child’s daily milestones and growth by preparing journals of their music, play, art, and social activities throughout their time with us. The caring staff creates impacting ways to teach hands on discoveries that promote curiosity, self-help, joyful learning and positive self-esteem.
For more information on MRI’s Discovery Depot Child Care Center, click HERE.
When Ethan was diagnosed with mild to moderate autism just before he turned three, his mother, Melissa, was worried. She wasn’t familiar with many autism resources and was scared of the unknown. She contacted MRI Independence Pointe for support. After learning more about MRI’s Autism Services at Independence Pointe, immediately enrolled Ethan in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and speech therapy.
Since Ethan began receiving speech therapy, he is finally making progress. He has gained the equivalence of two years of speech and language development. With the support of MRI’s Independence Pointe, Melissa has also gained some insight into better ways to help him communicate more effectively at home. When Ethan was first diagnosed with autism, Melissa felt isolated because, “people don’t understand some of the erratic behaviors Ethan has.” ABA therapy has helped reduce and even eliminate many of those behaviors, which makes communicating and socializing easier for Ethan.
‘The changes I have seen in my son are nothing short of amazing.” – Melissa, Ethan’s mother
Independence Pointe provides services to promote the growth of individuals who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Children’s Autism Services at Independence Pointe include Speech and Language Therapy, Child Care for children of all abilities ages 0-18, Social Skills Camp, Social Skills Support, an Autism Resource Room, and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). ABA provides instruction to improve the day-to-day life of children with ASD or other developmental disabilities. ABA instruction, typically offered in a one-on-one setting to meet the needs of each learner, is focused on teaching skills and decreasing behaviors that interfere with learning.
For more information on MRI Autism Services for children, click here.
Decatur, IL- In 2005 Macon Resources, Inc. (MRI) took over operations of Homeward Bound Pet Shelter to meet both a community need to shelter unwanted pets and provide work opportunities for adults with disabilities. At the time, Homeward Bound Pet Shelter was the largest no-kill shelter in the area, operating entirely on donations and adoption fees.
MRI’s primary mission is to provide services to promote the growth, independence and self-worth of children and adults with disabilities. With no cost of living adjustments for human services in ten years and the continued uncertainty of funding in the state of Illinois, the MRI Board of Directors has made the decision to close Homeward Bound Pet Shelter, effective August 31, 2016.
The MRI Board of Directors and staff thank all the donors, volunteers, employees and sponsors whose continued support made Homeward Bound Pet Shelter a valued resource in our community.
Amara, an MRI Day Vocational Training and VISIONS participant, lives in MRI’s apartment-style group home.
Before moving into MRI’s apartment-style group home near downtown Decatur, Amara had experienced multiple types of living situations. As she was growing up, Amara had a great support system that allowed her to live at home and transitioned to living independently when she reached adulthood. However, after many life complications, she moved into a large group home with 15 other individuals.
Amara didn’t cope well living with that many people. She struggles socially and began to lose some of her acquired social and daily living skills. Amara knew she needed a change. She was aware of MRI’s apartment-style group home and knew she had the skills and desire to live independently. Amara advocated for herself and requested she be put on the waitlist for a spot in the apart-style setting.
MRI owns and operates nine group homes in the Decatur area; four to eight people live in each home with full-time daily support staff. These homes are called Community Integrated Living Arrangements (CILA). People with intellectual disabilities build independent living skills like room care, personal care, social skills and community integration with the help of our CILA staff. Each person’s unique needs are met through family-style dining, personalized rooms and individualized services. By living in an MRI CILA home, individuals not only gain skills, but staff ensure that residents know how to use medical support.
Since moving into her own apartment in MRI’s apartment-style group home, Amara has been budgeting her money, decorating, cleaning her apartment and cooking daily meals. Through Amara’s self-advocacy she can now live on her own and also benefit from the safety and support of 24 hour support staff. Amara commutes on the public bus system and goes shopping whenever she wants. Her next goal is to get a job in the community.
Not only did Amara advocate for herself by asking to move into a more fitting living environment, but she also requested a spot in MRI’s VISIONS Mental Health Program. Amara was already in MRI’s Day Vocational Training program, but felt she would do well in a program that focused on mental health.
For more information on MRI’s Residential Services, click here. For more in the VISIONS mental health program, click here.
December 18, 2015 – MRI Bright Start Home Visiting was contacted in early December by an employee from Akorn Pharmaceuticals in Decatur who expressed interest in adopting Bright Start birth to Five as this year’s recipient of Akorn’s giving tree. As part of the charity adoption, stockings were displayed in Akorn’s lobby with each child’s name, age, size and one item that the child needs. Akorn employees picked out a name and purchased a gift.
Gifts were given out by Akorn employees at Bright Start’s Christmas party on Friday, December 18th. At the event Friday evening, MRI Bright Start families and children were so excited to get gifts from Akorn staff. Many parents expressed that they will be saving the present to put under the tree to open Christmas morning.
Bright Start, MRI’s early childhood home visiting and family support program, believes that all children can learn, grow, and develop to reach their full potential. As an evidence-based home visiting program and a Parents as Teachers Affiliate program (LINK), Bright Start services are designed to help families learn more about parenting, support their child’s development and help with the challenges of family life. Services are offered free to eligible families who live in Macon County.
Akorn Pharmaceuticals employees prepare to hand out gifts to families
Cara, Bright Start Parent Educator and Jessica, Bright Start Parent Educator and Kid's Connection Coordinator
handing out gifts
Akorn employees purchased personal gifts for each child based on each child's needs
Facelli and her son, Jason, participate in MRI Bright Start Home Visiting. At 2.5 years old, Jason’s mom, Facelli, noticed that her son was not able to do what other children his age could do. Jason was non-verbal and needed to learn to communicate. He was not reaching developmental milestones. Facelli began searching for resources to help her son. She gave Bright Start Birth to Five Home Visiting a call.
Bright Start Parent Educator Lazetta started Home Visiting Facelli and Jason three times a month. Bright Start provided him with a variety of developmentally appropriate activities that encourage language skills in addition to his mother reading him books.
Parent Educator, Lazetta, meets with Facelli and Jason
Jason’s mom Facelli stated, “Not only was the program [Bright Start} for Jason, but it taught me parenting skills, how to connect and communicate with my little boy. Although I have a busy schedule as I attend school and work part-time, Miss Lazetta came when it was convenient for both of us. I cannot say enough about this program and now that Jason is graduating from the program we are very grateful to MRI for this program. Now Jason is talking like a little bird.”
Jason now knows all his colors, recognizes letters and numbers, and enjoys putting puzzles together. He speaks in complete sentences and expresses himself verbally instead of gesturing.
Danny, an MRI Day Vocational Training participant, works in MRI’s license plate production.
Danny has been working in license plate production since he graduated high school. He performs several different jobs involved in the manufacturing of license plates, such as placing stickers and packaging. However, he prefers to work on the take off line. The take off line is a physically demanding job that requires Danny to be on his feet 8-10 hours a day.
Danny also assists Sandy, the LP Packaging Foreman, with training new staff. In fact, Danny even helped train Sandy when she was first hired 15 years ago! Because of MRI’s job training and placement, Danny is able to live independently by paying for his mortgage and household bills. He has also grown in both his confidence and responsibility. He takes pride in the work he does.
“Danny has a fantastic work ethic and rarely, if ever, calls off. He is adaptable and flexible and accepts any job assignment offered to him.” -Sue, Danny’s Case Manager
Producing the license plates at MRI has given people like Danny a chance to gain independence through a job. Since 1983 MRI has produced all of the license plates for the state of Illinois, meeting state production needs and delivery schedules.
For more information about MRI’s license plate production and other manufacturing and production services MRI engages in to provide job training to adults with disabilities, click here.
Danny participates in the VISIONS Mental Health Program at MRI.
When Danny came to MRI he lived at a nursing home for adults with chronic mental illness. Since coming to MRI and participating in the VISIONS program, Danny was able to transition to a group home and now lives in his own apartment.
When asked how VISIONS has helped him and how his life has changed in the past couple of years Danny stated, “I have more space to myself in my new apartment and earn money for myself. Working makes me feel better about myself. I do the ambassador program through Chicago Williams Bridge – the moving on program. I am an advocate and go to talk to various people at Decatur Manor and the Heritage Behavioral Health drop in center about improving life skills and where it may bring you. Some of the classes I have taken in the VISIONS program have helped me have the confidence to do that.”
MRI’s VISIONS Mental Health Program aims to provide individualized support and training to promote the growth, independence and self-worth of adults with chronic mental illness. the VISIONS Program, more formally known as the Psychosocial Rehabilitation program, provides vocational training, support and other mental health services to adults with chronic mental illness.
Through VISIONS, Danny has been able to schedule his days around activities he enjoys, get a job and earn money, make new friends and even reach out to others.
Kane is an Independence Pointe Speech/Language Therapy, ABA and Discovery Depot Child Care Center (former) & Kid’s Connection (current) participant
“The staff is very accommodating to Kane’s needs and everyone is invested in his successful milestones. He has made great strides and loves all the staff! Our involvement with Independence Pointe has been a life changer for Kane and for our family. This was one of the best decisions we could have made.”
– Kane’s mother
Carl is a Homeward Bound Pet Shelter Job Trainee and Day Vocational Training participant
Carl works at Homeward Bound Pet Shelter a few mornings a week through MRI’s job training program. Through Carl’s job training at MRI Homeward Bound Pet Shelter, he has learned vital job skills such as adapting to change, being on time and following directions. Carl takes great pride in his work at Homeward Bound and he values the dignity that working has brought him.
Hear directly from Carl about how MRI job training at Homeward Bound has impacted his life: