Job-A-Palooza 2019


LIFEDesigns and Stone Belt proudly collaborated to create an event, funded by a grant from Duke Energy for $5,500. This allowed individuals with disabilities to try out a wide variety of jobs in one day. On Wednesday, October 23, 2019, the Warehouse was open to Job-A-Palooza participants for a day to talk with local employers in different fields, try out different tasks and jobs from each business, and participate in mock interviews.

Throughout the day, participants were able to visit and chat with each employer at their booth. As part of the registration process, attendees were given a set of questions regarding their interest and abilities, and then matched with an employer that best fit with their responses. Mock interviews were also held during this time, where individuals had the opportunity to participate in an interview and was followed up with feedback from our mock interviewers.

Mayor's Proclamation

The City of Bloomington Mayor’s Proclamation was also read at the event, which stated the October 2019 as Disability Awareness Month in Bloomington, Indiana. A statement from the Proclamation: “WHEREAS, Bloomington is a model employer for individuals with disabilities, and understands that competitive employment in the community is the first and preferred outcome for all working-age people with disabilities.”


Jake and Robert got to try out their skills at several different stations during this event, and learned some things they didn’t know before. Like many people, Jake was a bit hesitant to try many of the skills stations. Jake is an extremely outgoing person, and generally loves to be social. Yet, when it came to putting yourself out there and trying something new, it was a difficult challenge for him. Walking around the event for the first time, he decided he didn’t want to try any of the stations. Walking around a second time with Kristen to support him, he still didn’t want to try any of the stations…until he saw someone he knew at one of the stations. They waved him over and encouraged him to try the station out. When he was finished he saw his scoring, and when he saw how well he performed he got very excited. This led to him trying other stations, and generally exploring a lot of possibilities he never would have considered. There were many other stories similar to this where, someone discovered a job that they wouldn’t have previously considered. There were also several requests from businesses that they wanted to actually interview some of the candidates that they met through the event for open positions they currently have. Overall, this was a huge success and lots of fun for everyone involved.

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The employer lineup for the day included:

Stone Belt
IU Health Community Health
U.S. Census Bureau
Indiana Institute on Disability and Community – Indiana University
AMC Theatres
Williams Brothers Health Care Pharmacy
Sazon Mexican Cuisine
My Sister’s Closet
Upland Brewing Company
Cook Medical
Monroe County Humane Association
Callie & Company Entertainment
Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity
Chick Fil A
Community Ford Lincoln of Bloomington
Salt Creek Cycles
One World Catering
One World at Woolery Mill
Work To Include

Joel & Alex, Friends for LIFE


When Joel knocked on Stephanie Shelton’s office one day back in 2018, he didn’t know that he was about to impact one of our client’s lives in such a positive way. Joel had recently moved to Bloomington in order to take a new job. In an effort to explore Bloomington, he sought opportunities to volunteer and LIFEDesigns was located a few blocks from his house. Joel was quickly immersed in our LIFEMentor  program which partners a community member with a client for mentorship. The LIFEMentor program places community members in supported friendships with LIFEDesigns clients who don’t receive enough state funding to cover very many staffing hours. This really accomplishes several things:

  1. It teaches community members how they can invite a person with a disability into their life as a friend.
  2. It facilitates the beginning of new friendships for people with disabilities (who so often have few people in their lives outside of staff or family members).
  3. It promotes real community inclusion for people with disabilities.
  4. It fosters independence through natural supports and relationship building.

Joel was matched with Alex. They quickly bonded and embarked on numerous events such as IU football games, scooter rides around town, and even volunteering during IU move in. Additionally, when Alex recently wanted more hours for work, he wasn’t able to get support through Vocational Rehabilitation. But because Joel was in his life, he was able to find a new job at Walmart with Joel’s guidance and support throughout the application and interview process. If it weren’t for this new connection in his life, Alex wouldn’t be able to leave his home very often for fun or social activities. 

Before volunteering at LIFEDesigns, Joel had never worked with the special needs community and believes that his experience as a mentor has helped him “become more humble and self-aware.” Joel believes that volunteering with individuals unlike himself makes you a richer person.

Watch this video on YouTube to listen to a bit more of Alex and Joel’s story:

If you are interested in becoming a LIFEMentor please contact Kristen King at 

A Strong Partnership


On Cory Ln in Bloomington sits a big brown lodge that tends to go unnoticed. Known as the Moose Lodge, this space may be one of the best kept secrets of Bloomington. While LIFEDesigns has many donors to be thankful for, we would like to highlight one of our biggest supporters, The Moose Lodge. The Moose Lodge is an international, family-friendly fraternity that holds several fun events for its members such as bingo and poker nights! With the slogan, “a burden heavy to one is borne lightly to many”, the Lodge’s focus is on philanthropy. The Local Order of the Lodge gives most of their proceeds to their orphanage MooseHeart and to the needs of the local community.  

The Moose Lodge has graciously partnered with LIFEDesigns for several initiatives. The Moose is one of LIFEDesigns biggest cash sponsors with an annual gift of $10k for the Art of Chocolate, $1250 for the golf scramble, and numerous other donations to projects. In addition, the Lodge lets LIFEDesigns use their space free of charge for employee meetings, parties, and daily client lunches. The Lodge has also hired many clients as kitchen and janitorial employees. When asked about the partnership between LIFEDesigns and the Moose Lodge, Governor Vern Hageman replied, “LIFEDesigns and our Lodge have the same mission. We both want to do something good for someone each day. We once had a client work here who didn’t socialize but now he says hi to everyone in the morning. The Moose is a safe place.”  


LIFEDesigns Presents a Toast of the Town Series Sponsored by nimboIP

June 6th, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: LIFEDesigns presents a Toast of the Town tasting series sponsored by nimboIP. The event series will feature 3 tasting events held at Oliver Winery (June 30th), Cardinal Spirits (July 27th), and Upland Brewing Company (August 24th). Each event will offer a tour and guided tasting to guests with special VIP experiences.

The events are open to the public and ticketed. Tickets are available online through LIFEDesigns website “”. Individual tasting tickets are priced at $25 and a series tickets will be $70. All proceeds from this event will benefit LIFEDesigns programs to support people with disabilities to live more independently.

This event series is made possible by the generous support of nimboIP to LIFEDesigns. As the premier sponsor and a partner of LIFEDesigns, they’re honored to welcome the community to attend these tasteful events. Bill Thompson, founding partner of nimboIP, states, “LIFEDesigns has been a valuable nimboIP customer for nearly a decade. We are privileged to serve them in a vital technology role so that they can continue to accomplish their critical mission in so many Central Indiana communities. We are proud to be partnered with them for the Toast of the Town tasting series.”

About LIFEDesigns: LIFEDesigns believes that everyone deserves the opportunity to live in their own home, work in the community, and meet and make friends. We serve over 450 people with disabilities across 5 counties in South Central Indiana. We employ over 220 employees. Our primary focus in our programs is to provide staff supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to promote their independence. LIFEDesigns is a United Way Member agency in Bartholomew and Monroe Counties. To learn more about LIFEDesigns and how you can be involved through community service, visit

Contact: Stephanie Shelton, (800) 875-9615 |

About nimboIP: nimboIP is an Indianapolis, Indiana based Managed Service Provider in the telecommunications industry specializing in business to business voice, data and cloud application solutions. We serve small, medium and enterprise customers throughout the State of Indiana and select surrounding states. We are currently celebrating our 30th year in business proudly serving our customers. Our unique technology platforms allow us to customize solutions to suit individual customer needs. We offer all of our services with a 100% Performance Guarantee, a 90 day no risk trial, and no contracts to sign. All of our services are flexible, easily scaled, locally supported and designed to meet the everyday technology rigors so that any business can compete in today’s marketplace. To learn more visit us at or call us for anything at 1 (800) 293-2127.

Contact: Bill Thompson, (812) 727-3700 |

LIFEDesigns Hosts “Job-A-Palooza” Event Granted by Duke Energy

check for job a palloza

May 23, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: LIFEDesigns hosts “Job-A-Palooza” event, granted by DUKE Energy, a career development and skills workshop for individuals with disabilities. Duke Energy Foundation awarded LIFEDesigns a grant of $5,500 to fund this event. This is a partnership between LIFEDesgins and Stone Belt to bring together employers and job seekers. The Job-A-Palooza event will be held at TheWarehouse in Bloomington, Indiana and will take place on October 23, 2019. The event will begin at 10:00 AM and end at 3:00 PM. We expect a workshop like this will significantly increase the efficiency of the process of skills assessments for individuals participating in LIFEDesigns or Stone Belt’s Employment Services programs. The skills workshop will include actual work experience stations set up by local businesses to provide hands-on assessments. Job seekers will also participate in mock interviews at the event.

LIFEDesigns and Stone Belt work directly with individuals with disabilities seeking employment to find jobs in the community where they can develop relationships, communication skills, and a natural support network. Job-A-Palooza will provide the opportunity for job seekers to explore multiple skills and give them a more focused job search; therefore, a job faster.

About LIFEDesigns: LIFEDesigns believes that everyone deserves the opportunity to live in their own home, work in the community, and meet and make friends. We serve over 450 clients across 5 counties in South Central Indiana. We employ over 220 employees. Our primary focus in our programs is to provide staff supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to promote their independence. LIFEDesigns is a United Way Member agency in Bartholomew and Monroe Counties. To learn more about LIFEDesigns and how you can be involved through community service, visit

Contact: Russell Bonanno, Chief Executive Officer, (800) 875-6551 |

About Duke Energy Foundation: The Duke Energy Foundation is committed to making strategic investments to build powerful communities where nature and wildlife thrive, students and excel and a talented workforce drives economic prosperity for all.

In Indiana, the Duke Energy Foundation invests approximately $2 million annually for community support and charitable contributions. To learn more about Duke Energy Foundation, visit

Contact: Lew Middleton (317) 838-1505 or 24 Hour: (800) 559-3853