IMPACT 100 Dream Wheels for New Beginnings
Horizons of Okaloosa County, Inc. dba The Arc of the Emerald Coast, Inc.
The mission of the organization is to provide a path from disability to capability. Horizons of Okaloosa County (Horizons) was founded in 1992 and is an affiliate of The Arc of the United States, the world’s largest grassroots advocacy organization for citizens of all ages with cognitive, intellectual, and developmental disabilities and their families. In June 2015, Horizons changed its name to The Arc of the Emerald Coast (Arc). Arc provides services in Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, and Walton Counties. The organization began offering services in Santa Rosa County in 2015 at the request of The Arc of Florida to take over the Santa Rosa County facility. The Arc of the Emerald Coast provides services through two adult day training centers located in Milton and Ft. Walton Beach; five group homes offering 24/7 care; one foster home; a children's center offering day care and after-school care in an inclusive environment; an aquatic/education center; early intervention services for ages 0-3; job training, placement, and supported employment; behavior analysis and behavior assistance; supported living; work crews and enclaves; a residential habilitation; and advocacy services.
IMPACT 100 funds will be used to purchase two handicapped accessible vans to transport adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, such as Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and Autism, to and from the adult day training center in Milton, Florida. These individuals normally range in age from 20 to 70. The Milton location is a large facility and has room to serve twenty-two more persons with disabilities on a daily basis if transportation is available. Families in the south end of Santa Rosa County (Navarre, Munson, Garcon Point, etc.) currently have no professional agencies offering day-to-day services in their area. The vans will be wheelchair accessible to provide services to clients who are completely non-ambulatory and also will provide seating for other disabled persons who are capable of transferring to the seats. This needed transportation will provide Arc’s clients the opportunity for education and vocation training, as well as participation in recreation and community outings.
This project will provide immense help and emotional relief to families who will now have daily transportation for their family members with disabilities to a facility that is equipped to take care of their loved one. The target population for this project consists of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families in South Santa Rosa County. Many of these families are of middle to low income and some in poverty income levels, many utilizing Medicaid for insurance and SSI for support of their disabled family member. The family members who care for their adult disabled family member either work full time and hire care, or stay home and provide care. Based on the data received by zip code for active clients (waiver, wait list, and other active) there are a total of 118 clients of needy families in this area. By providing transportation to a well-run, well-known adult day training facility for these adults with developmental disabilities, the families will receive desperately needed respite care, day care while they work, and the ability to live their own life for a few hours per day. The adults with disabilities will be able to spend their weekdays making friends, learning new skills, socializing and learning to be productive members of the community. By increasing the number of clients served, more attention can be brought to The Arc of the Emerald Coast in Santa Rosa County, which would result in more support for the needs of these individuals. With more support, The Arc of the Emerald Coast could eventually put a facility in southern Santa Rosa County.