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home : features : features December 17, 2014


12/26/2012 8:06:00 AM
'Ability' offers day program, more for people with disabilities
The Ability choir recently performed at a Mayer Elder’s Center luncheon. Ability consumers also volunteer in the community.
Courtesy Photo
The Ability choir recently performed at a Mayer Elder’s Center luncheon. Ability consumers also volunteer in the community.
Courtesy Photo
Heidi Dahms-Foster
Special to the Tribune

A program started just two years ago has grown into a popular service for youth and adults with mental and physical disabilities from the Highway 69 Corridor area to Chino Valley.

The Dewey-based Ability, LLC was founded two years ago by Kira Williman, who had 20 years of experience in social work for state and private agencies. Today, Ability provides a day program with about 32 consumers that attend eight hours a day, five days a week; in-home care for habilitation (enabling people with disabilities to function more independently); respite care and attendant care.

The day program is housed in a mixed-use building that includes a large climate-controlled warehouse space allowing for sports, games, and exercise equipment, said Program Director Mike Daniel. He said consumers also use the area for safety practice, such as learning to cross roads and recognize signs. The rest of the Dewey facility includes offices, a music room, coffee house, a kitchen and private areas for one-on-one care.

Those who come for the day program work one-on-one on their living skills, and enjoy a number of varied activities, such as visiting a park, playing games or this month, visiting Santa. Recently the Ability choir sang for those attending lunch at the Mayer Elder's Center.

"We have a monthly calendar so our consumers can plan for activities," Daniel said. "We try to be as diverse as we can."

The program provides transportation for its consumers, mostly through employees who live in the surrounding communities and bring them in each day in an Ability van, he said.

Ability's home care program cares for children through adults, but the day program is adults 18 and over.

"It's quite a mix," Daniel said. "We have some 18 and 19, and some people in their 60s."

Ability also has a Saturday program, Kid's Ability, for youth.

He said Ability's consumers have disabilities range from autism, cerebral palsy and cognitive disorders to Downs Syndrome. Overall, Ability now serves 70 consumers.

Daniel's wife Kelly, who is Kira's sister, and Kira's husband, Jack Williman, make up the rest of the Ability management team. Many of the company's employees are people who have a family member or loved one with disabilities.

"They've learned to love the people and love the ministry," Daniel said. "It's almost like 'I've been doing this all my life, I might as well help others.'"

"Others get into the work by accident," he said. "We have a lot of young people, it gets contagious. We say if someone has worked here for two to three weeks, they're here for the long haul. Once you do it, you feel so good about yourself."

Between the Willimans and Daniels and their employees, Daniel said, "We have a lot of people that have been doing this a long time. With everyone, I'd guess we have 200 to 300 years of experience within the company, and we take advantage of all of it."

Daniel said Ability is working to place consumers in jobs throughout the community. A government-funded program allows for one or two people with disabilities to work a job with a staff member to supervise.

"The benefit to the employer is two people for the same cost, and it should result in more productivity in the end," he said.

Daniel invites anyone who would like to know more about Ability to tour the program.

"People who come to tour are so amazed at the youth and men and women we get to work here, and the openness and space we have. It makes people want to come every day. They love it, and we're proud of it."

Ability also allows community groups to meet in the building. A teen mom's group, another group for people with disabilities, and a Downs support group currently meet there. EMTs also use the space for training.

Abilty is located at 12180 E. Turquoise Cir., behind Blue Hills Café. For more information, call Mike Daniel at 928-772-6191.


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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, December 27, 2012
Article comment by: Monica Kaplan

My son Trevor is served by this agency, and we couldn't be happier with the services. I like that it is a family-owned and operated company, by people who really love the clients they are helping. Their Saturday day program for kids is also really enjoyed by our son.

Posted: Thursday, December 27, 2012
Article comment by: Paula Towne

This is an amazing program that my family is so thankful for. It gives us hope that as an adult with disabilities, our daughter, will have a wonderful place to spend her days and socialize. It's one of a kind!



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