Carrie Bernier and Amy Wilkinson from The Community Fund of Darien and Dennis Perry from Abilis. Contributed photo
Abilis, a human services organization that provides supports for individuals with special needs and their families in Fairfield County received a $19,000 grant award from The Community Fund of Darien which will go toward the hiring and training of a job coach.
Abilis serves over 700 individuals a year, including 200 adults with developmental disabilities in its day services program. In keeping with its desire to help all participants lead productive and meaningful lives, Abilis works diligently to provide competitive employment opportunities.
Abilis has a growing roster of over 40 business partners that includes retail stores such as CVS, Marshall’s, Pet Pantry, Stop & Shop, Target, Walgreen’s, and Whole Foods, as well as local libraries, restaurants, and community organizations.
“Funding for the hiring and training of job coaches is especially important given the growing number of young adults with special needs transitioning out of Fairfield County high schools over the next decade, many of whom will be served by Abilis,” said Dennis Perry, President/CEO of Abilis.
With the addition of one job coach in July 2015, Abilis more than doubled the number of individuals placed in competitive employment situations over the past year, increasing the number of program participants from 20 to 48.
Therefore, building capacity in this area has become a strategic priority. According to Perry, “The grant award from the Community Fund of Darien represents an important vote of confidence in our targeted efforts to promote self-sufficiency for the adults we serve through job development and training.”
The Community Fund of Darien has supported Abilis over the past nine years. Its grant panel commended Abilis for its work in the area of promoting self-sufficiency, one of its four funding priorities.
In its grant award letter, the panel said, “Abilis works hard to find job placement opportunities for its clients and the panel commends the organization for these efforts, especially given the time necessary to arrange contacts, secure placements, and ensure job success.”
Abilis is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that provides services and supports for over 700 individuals with special needs and their families from birth through the life span. Abilis has been a leader in serving the special needs community in lower Fairfield and Westchester Counties for almost 65 years and has a long-standing reputation for individualized, high quality care.