Choices Transitional Services
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Photo by Dante Fontana
Public schools help provide for developmentally disabled children…but what happens when they reach adulthood?
That’s where Choices Transitional Services steps in. “The organization was created to meet the needs of adults with developmental disabilities, and what we do is assist these adults in becoming active participants in the community,” says Executive Director Laura Trost.
The non-profit organization was established in 1988, and it provides several methods of helping developmentally disabled adults. Adults who are unable to leave their homes are eligible to receive aid from the organization’s Supported Living Services. “This program offers services for those who really want an independent lifestyle, but maybe they have something like cerebral palsy and need assistance,” Trost says. “We focus on health-related goals to manage health conditions and daily living tasks such as shopping, meal preparation and hygiene.”
For those adults who are getting ready to make the transition from their parents’ homes to living on their own, Choices Transitional Services offers a transitional home – located in Citrus Heights – in which groups of adults live for two days per week, performing household tasks and learning skills they will need when they move out on their own, including meal planning and bill paying.
“It’s a two-year program, and it really focuses on how to live alone,” Trost says. “We keep the men and women separate, and they stay two nights per week.” Trost says the house has a high success rate, and there have been times in the past when adults have lived on their own unsuccessfully, then gone through the housing program and gone on to live happy, active lives, with the ability to employ the skills they learned in the house.
But sometimes, it’s the simple things that bring smiles. “We had a woman who had never been able to write her name,” Trost says. “She was nonverbal, so she couldn’t speak. However, we found she was interested in computers, and she was able to learn to type her name and her friends’ names. Then we knew who she wanted to interact with.” At 27 years old – for the first time – she was able to name her friends. “It’s very rewarding when we see them achieve their lifelong goals,” Trost says. “We never give up on adults, no matter what their disability is.”
The organization receives funding from the State, but the economy has taken a toll on services, and Trost says the forecast for future cuts is dismal. Donations are always accepted, and while there are currently no fundraisers scheduled, the group occasionally teams up with the Chevy’s restaurant in Sacramento for fundraising nights where 25 percent of the proceeds from sales go to the organization.
Volunteers are welcome, and every worker must clear a background check before working with the adults. One particular area where help is needed is the organization’s Web site.
For more information, visit cts-choices.org.