Our Place targets personal growth through skills development and immersion in community life so that participants can be full members of their community. We do this by focusing on the skills needed for successful social interactions in all aspects of a full life. Our participants learn and practice these skills at work, with each other in social settings, with typical peers and community members, in classes and clubs, with service projects that improve the community and in recreational activities.
We help participants develop intensive relationships with staff, peers, mentors and community volunteers; we have found this to be the most effective way to attain personal objectives. Activities address the components of a rich life: work, socializing, volunteer service and lifelong learning.
We provide direct service nine hours every weekday and three hours on Saturday evenings. Participants choose from 40 distinct programs to meet their personal goals and interests in the areas of vocational, life, and social skills, as well as enrichment and recreation. Over 70% of programs occur in community settings. In each of the last five years, over 80 percent of participants showed improvement in social skills. Eighty-five percent of families reported improvement in the social skills of their participants outside of program hours. One hundred percent of families express satisfaction with programs. More than 100 community volunteers provide peer mentoring and personal assistance.