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Mother Lode Rehabilitation Enterprises, Aiding in Developing the Disabled

08/03/2015 09:59AM ● Published by Style

Back, L to R: Robbie, Angela, Jarred, Brett, Michaela, Daniel (in chef’s hat), Renell, Dindy and Joel (in orange) and Megan (in orange). Front, L to R: Jessica, Kristine, and Susie Davies - Photography by Dante Fontana © Style Media Group

Soon after Christopher Dwyer’s 24th birthday, he and his parents relocated to El Dorado County to take advantage of the services and programs of Mother Lode Rehabilitation Enterprises, Inc. (MORE), a private nonprofit that began services in 1973. Dwyer has hypomelanosis of Ito, a rare disease similar to cerebral palsy that has left him severely physically and mentally disabled. His parents had looked at several programs around the region before deciding on and enrolling with MORE. 

Lorena and Rianne

 “MORE was founded out of love by a group of parents of developmentally disabled children who didn’t want to see their kids placed in institutions—the common practice of the day—where they’d be considered a ‘burden’ and all but forgotten,” says Susie Davies, MORE’s CEO. “They wanted to create a place where people with developmental disabilities could lead happy, joyful and productive lives. Today, thanks to organizations like MORE, many of these people live independently and even have their own jobs in the community. The range of services MORE offers includes vocational instruction, life skills, independent living and creative arts (last year the organization opened the Something MORE Art Gallery to showcase its clients’ work).  That’s in addition to employment programs that put MORE’s clients to work in the community, doing everything from document shredding and packaging to grounds maintenance, community service projects and independent work for local businesses. Of MORE’s 225 current clients, 80 hold jobs; what’s more, the El Dorado Hills Chamber of Commerce named MORE “Community Service Business of the Year” in 2011.

 “By giving people jobs, we’re making them less reliant on taxpayer money and turning them into productive, tax-generating members of society,” Davies says. “Our clients thrive on it. They want to be viewed as people, first.’”

Davies says there’s a misconception that this population of people wants to be dependent, but the truth is many of them want to be more engaged. The fact that they can earn a paycheck—their own money—makes them very motivated. “They’re some of the most loyal and dependable employees you can have,” Davies adds. “What’s more, hiring individuals with disabilities enables employers to benefit from the Work Opportunity Tax Credit program.” 

Importantly, there is no cost for families to benefit from MORE’s services. Funding comes from state and federal sources, revenues brought in by MORE’s work programs, and local fund-raisers, like the upcoming Chili Cook Off and Classic Car Show on September 12.

As with any nonprofit, however, more funding would help them serve more people. From an inaugural client list of eight in 1973, MORE now serves more than 225 families, and can’t hire staff fast enough to keep up with demand. In the meantime, MORE welcomes volunteers, especially for the new Something MORE Boutique thrift store, opening August 7 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4 p.m. MORE will also serve as the kickoff site for Placerville’s National Night Out Celebration—which supports local law enforcement—on August 4 from 5-7 p.m.  

“Our clients are some of the most loving, caring people you’ll ever meet,” Davies says. “I encourage anyone to pay us a visit, see what we do, and meet the people we serve.  It will change your life.”

by Bill Romanelli 

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