From left, Kaleidoscope program participant John Lilley, employees Darlene Cannon and Jeanna Sitton and participant Chris Williams at Thursday’s Dade First-Family Connection collaborative luncheon. The participants told the audience about their jobs in the community. Kaleidoscope is eager to find more employers in Dade County–see contact information below.

 Focus at the April Dade First-Family Connection collaborative luncheon meeting last week was on Lookout Mountain Community Services’ Kaleidoscope program. LMCS partners with Kaleidoscope Family Solutions to provide support for children and adults with intellectual developmental disabilities, autism, behavioral disorders or any chronic disability such as spinal bifida or muscular dystrophy. 

Specifically, presenters stressed what Kaleidoscope can do for such individuals and their families after they age out of the public school system. Kaleidoscope aims to integrate them into the community and to provide them fulfilling and meaningful life opportunities. The program helps out with dental, medical and vision care as well as home modification, and it has a day program that takes participants bowling, to movies, local attractions and recreations of all kinds. 

Additionally, Kaleidoscope offers “supported employment,” helping participants find jobs in their neighborhoods they can do and staying with them as they learn to perform the work. John Lilley, one of the program participants pictured above, told luncheon attendees about his work at Roper Corp. in Walker County, where he is a dishwasher in the cafeteria. The other participant, Chris Williams, works at a Walgreen’s in Fort Oglethorpe but is about to begin at Uncle Lar’s here in Dade.

 Kaleidoscope and Lookout Mountain Community Services are eager to recruit more employers in Dade County and urge local businesses to call local program coordinator Katie Russell to see what Kaleidoscope can do for them. “We have so many individuals who want to work in their community and would benefit themselves and their employers,” said Ms. Russell (right).

 Another  local need is foster homes for adult Kaleidoscope participants. Ms. Russell explained that group homes for the developmentally disabled are being phased out–the goal these days is to place clients in nurturing households that will allow them to participate in family life. “We are always looking for homes that are willing to open up,” she said.

 If you have a job for a Kaleidoscope participant, a home that is “willing to open up” or, for that matter, a family member or friend who would benefit from the program, you can call Ms. Russell at (423) 280-7754. 

Dade First’s collaborative luncheons are at 12:30 p.m. the fourth Thursday of the month in the Dade County Public Library. Lunch is provided, representatives from many area social, educational, church and civic organizations attend, so it is always a great opportunity to meet the local community and learn what it has to offer.

Reprinted with permission. See original article here: Kaleidoscope helps Disabled Work and Play in their Communities