Today, Iowa Focus is making their way back to its former location, 105 W. Adams St., in uptown Creston.
As its lease agreement came to an end in 2012, staff at Iowa Focus moved from the building on Adams Street. They later found out Department of Human Services (DHS) was going to move in, but that agreement fell through.
Unfortunately, Iowa Focus’ lease was already signed for its new locaton on Sumner Avenue when they heard DHS’s agreement fell through.
“We would have stayed,” said Summer Murdock, Iowa Focus regional director, this week.
A move back uptown brings a fresh start and new program to Creston for disabled individuals.
“We are calling it Connect,” said Melissa Zellmer, Iowa Focus program coordinator.
Zellmer said the program is called Connect because it is a program for disabled adults as young as 16 years old to draw a connection between home and community.
“Many of the individuals we provide services for have found their routine in their home,” said Zellmer. “They have found their routine in everything that they do, but they don’t have a lot of community integration.”
Zellmer said many individuals with disabilities are higher-functioning individuals that can not necessarily find work, so Connect helps these individuals find meaning and a sense of self worth through community engagement.
“We are looking ... to build healthy friendships, good socialization and work on individual goals,” said Zellmer.
One of the services Connect participants will be providing to the community is volunteer work.
“We can help other organizations and give back to the community,” said Zellmer.
Zellmer said Connect participants can help from folding flyers for other community organizations, changing out flowers at the hospital or nursing homes or cleaning up local parks.
Murdock said some companies do hire individuals with disabilities, but there is just more need.
As for what the group can do and the services they can provide, Zellmer said “the options are endless.”
As of now, Iowa Focus plans to hold the Connect day habilitation program at 105 W. Adams St., and keep its office on 906 Sumner Ave., which serves their residential program.
“They have not made a decision, but are looking at allowing day hab (Connect) to get started and transtion (remaining office) to uptown in late August,” said Murdock.
Murdock said the uptown location is more accessible for individuals with disabilities.
“To be accessible to everyone, it makes sense for us to be uptown,” she said.
For more information on services provided by Iowa Focus, go to www.iowafocus.com or call the toll-free number 1-877-50-FOCUS.