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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Mental Health, Residential Mental Health Treatment

Mission: Our mission is to promote independence and freedom of choice for people we serve.

Results: We are innovative and operate with outcome measures in all areas of our work. This allows us to document success in our supports to people. In addition it promotes better use of our funding and utilization of our time. One example of this system is in our day/community support programs. We determined that people wanted to experience better health and wanted to be in their community more often. To increase their value as contributing members of their community and to enhance their chances of full integration we embarked on two goals: physical fitness and volunteerism. People now (2009) volunteer over 50% of their time and spend 25% of their time on fitness. This happens in a variety of ways from gym membership to trail hiking. As innovators we began a couple of projects this year to address our needs for employment and the area need for a community kitchen. In 2010 we will enter our third year of our famer’s food collaborative, an innovative food purchasing and delivery business. The Oxford Hills Food Collaborative supports local food producers and allows for over 12 local farms and food producers to sell their products through our marketing and delivery services. The collaborative also offers employment and volunteer opportunities to people we support in fully integrated settings within our community. We began a program called the Community Table, Helping Hands - Helping Others. This is a program to feed those in need. Currently we provide meals out of a local church however we are in the midst of a building project at our Cottage Street address; we are building a fully licensed commercial kitchen. This addition will not only support our Community Table project but will meet an identified community need for a certified kitchen to support farmers and food producers. The rental of this multi-purpose licensed commercial kitchen will help to support our projects. We support over 150 people. It is our hope that these highlights of the past year will encourage you to visit our web site to view our annual results of surveys and outcomes.

Geographic areas served: Western/Central Maine

Community Stories

1 Story from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

10

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

I have worked with people living with developmental disabilites for twelve years at The Progress Center. My primary role has been as the maintenance supervisor. This has been a unique role in that I have had the opportunity to get to know the people we support not as a staff person but just as Larry the guy who fixes things. This has been a great opportunity for me and I have learned that people are just people, whether we've been diagnosed or not. We all have dreams, desires and the same basic needs. The biggest and most positive change that I have seen is the move towards community inclusion for the people we support. When I started at The Progress Center we were a typical agency, to " protect " the people we should have allowed to grow we kept them isolated from the general public. We bused them to and from Day Program , kept them in the building doing mundane, often childish activities, herded them on a bus and took them to community activites in large groups, which scared the hell out of people in general and highlighted the disabilites of the people we support. About five years ago we started to adopt the principles of inclusion. That all people flourish doing what they are interested in and in being part of the fabric of the community. Everyone has a gift and to be encouraged to develop that gift and become engaged in the community allows people to develop. I have seen tremendous growth and progress in people's confidence and self worth by being treated with respect and dignity. One person living with a disability sharing their life with us as a classmate, team member, club member,friend, neighbor or coworker is just anouther person and has as much to offer society as anyone. There is no need and it's a great injustice for us in our ignorance and showing our disabilities and need for control to segregate our fellow human beings in special dances, seperate housing , special classes, clubs or sporting events and steal from them the chance to make mistakes and develop naturally that we all take for granted. I am very proud of the development in our attitudes and the fact the we encourage community involvement. It's not easy and requires a commitment in actions not words. There is always a choice between concience and conveinence and I'm proud of the direction The Progress Center has been moving in. L.J.