Donor Spotlight: Mutual of America

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Mutual of America Financial Group believes that every worker is important. For 75 years their mission has been to provide stability and security in a world of change and uncertainty. They have a strong sense of social responsibility and are dedicated to helping workers by giving them the tools and resources needed to be on top of their finances. They serve a broad range of diverse communities and they give back with a customer-first attitude. Nearly all of their employees actively volunteer in the community making a bigger difference than they know.

Not only do they personally volunteer, but Mutual of America has a Matching Gift Program through which they give their employees freedom to choose how and when they volunteer because their work goes even further when they are giving back to an organization they are passionate about. We are thankful for Mutual of America Financial Group and the generous gift they have given us among all the other ways they have impacted our community. They gave a $750 for our Holiday Party Gift and we couldn’t be more thankful. Thank you from everyone here at LIFEDesigns!

Donor Spotlight: Cummins/Toyota Join Forces!

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In 2018, Cummins Inc. and Toyota Material Handling North America decided to join forces and donate a total of $20,000 to four charities per year. They are two of the biggest employers in Columbus and wanted to help make a difference in the community. Each organization they choose is awarded $5,000, $2,500 from each company, to make the holiday season brighter. These two companies are making the impossible possible by giving the chosen organizations a chance to use their funds to make a difference in the communities they serve. We are so excited to announce that LIFEDesigns have been chosen to receive their gift this yearWe were surprised by this blessing on “Giving Tuesday” this past December 1st, 2020Their funds will go toward our programs in Columbus, IN where we serve over 300 clients.  

Gifts like these are so important to furthering our mission and giving LIFEDesigns the ability to serve even more individuals with disabilities. LIFEDesigns provides staff to work with people individually and teach them life skills, employment skills, and social skills. This gift will greatly impact the lives of these individuals, as Medicaid does not cover all the support that is needed in order for them to be independent and LIFEDesigns has no other way of supporting them financially. Their gift will help support 30-40 individuals with disabilities seeking employment and about 10 individuals who need daily life skills staff support in Bartholomew County. Any gift, no matter how great or small, can make the biggest difference in the lives of everyone involvedSo, thank you Cummins Inc. and Toyota for helping us in our mission to provide services for those in need! 

German American Spotlight Story

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

German American Bank is always there when we need them, and we’re sure our community would agree. The ongoing support they provide to local businesses and organizations is inspiring and uplifting. Apart from their services in banking, they are determined to help individuals, families and businesses achieve greater prosperity and quality of life, which is evident by the many ways they have generously given to LIFEDesigns. 

Recently, German American opened a new branch in Bloomington. Being the gracious supporters they are, they hosted a special give-away campaign in honor of their new branch opening in November and December of 2020. A total of $10,000 was going to be given to 3 local non-profits in Bloomington. German American Regional President, Cindy Kinnarney, stated “As we continue to strengthen our commitment to Bloomington with the opening of our new 3930 South Walnut Street office, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to give back to some of the organizations who are vital in strengthening our community.” Read the full Press Release here.

We are so humbled by their support and couldn’t be more thankful for the way they are impacting our community. LIFEDesigns was lucky enough to be on the list of non-profits and even luckier to be in the top 3 and receive $3,333 from German American Bank! Thank you to German American, our employees, and community members for taking the time to visit and vote for LIFEDesigns and helping us win this amazing give-away contest. 

Thank you, German American Bank!

 

Meet Omarrie

OmmarieOmarrie loves having a safe and happy environment that meets his wants and needs and LIFEDesigns has been that place for him for nearly 20 years! He likes music, playing outside, and hanging out with friends. LIFEDesigns provides Omarrie with opportunities to engage in all of his favorite activities and participate fully in the community. We have loved building a lasting relationship with him while watching him grow towards achieving independence.  

Meet Jeff!

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Jeff Mendenhall looks downright intimidating and, indeed, with his history of martial arts and wrestling, he probably can back it up. But this incredible, real-life superhero instead chooses to save lives and to put his strength to good use helping others as a DSP. 

His visual impairment might come as a surprise to some people (because he owns his space with confidence and compassion) but that makes sense because he doesn’t really pay it any heed himself. In fact, he makes it a point to tell any frustrated trainees that yes, he does know what it’s like. “Two days a week, I glove up.” he says with a grin. The three days a week that he isn’t gloving up to care for others, he works as an educator for LIFEDesigns employees in the Development Department. 

History has led him from a lonely kid who was picked on, to a professional athlete, a stand-up comedian fronting for Jeff Foxworthy, a college graduate with several degrees, to a professorship, to working at LIFEDesigns, Inc. He tells us about his interview saying that Lisa and Hailey asked if he wanted to work in a more creative field. 

Jeff’s days begin with some exercise and then his preparation for work begins. He is present to teach, informally advise, and help anyone who requires training. Jeff’s favorite part of his work is connecting to his clients, forming close bonds, learning about their beliefs and cultures, and discovering what’s happening in their lives. His big-hearted approach to his work with LIFEDesigns doesn’t extend only to people. He also loves and connects to our furry family as well, with one adorable cat named Harlequin, (named after the masked character from old style puppet shows.  

Welcome to the team, Jeff! 

Celebrating Employment Successes

Employment Pic to go with storyWe don’t think anyone will dispute that 2020 has been a difficult year. However, we want to focus on the positive and celebrate some successes despite all the barriers that Covid created.  21 LIFEDesigns employment clients found gainful employment in the community they live in making competitive wages during the 2020 year.  The average rate of pay for those job placements is $12.04 an hour which is up from 2019.  Several clients were offered employment at over $17 an hour.  While 13 clients with active VR cases were laid off due to Covid, 8 of those employees  have returned back to work.  LIFEDesigns received less Vocational Rehabilitation referrals this past year and our Employment Consultants closed over 15 cases successfully.   

Our Employment Consultants have been treating all the barriers as if they are just minor inconveniences and have continued to ensure that individuals with disabilities have the support they need to continue on their path to independence.   Well done employment team!