LIFEDesigns was formed from a partnership between Options and Christole.  We rely on an engaged community of supporters who recognize the life-changing power of working in partnership with people with disabilities. When all individuals receive appropriate supports and can participate as active citizens, everyone benefits. Our supporters enable people with disabilities to meaningfully contributed as self-directed and empowered community members.

BLSP logo

Several families wanted to meet the residential and long-term care needs of their children and opened Better Living for Special People (BLSP) in 1981. These families felt smaller, more personal homes would provide a better quality of life for their children than institutions or nursing homes.  BLSP served Monroe, Owen, and Lawrence counties, providing respite for 22 families in their first year. The name changed to Options for Better Living, Inc. in 1990 and shortened to Options in 2007.   


christole logo

A group of family members who wanted to make sure their children had access to quality care incorporated Christole in 1981. The company grew to 7 group homes in Monroe, Brown and Bartholomew counties by 2011. 


logo small optionsIn 2012, Options and Christole merged to form LIFEDesigns, Inc.  Options and Christole developed from the same grassroots efforts and were grounded in local, nonprofit services for individuals and families with disabilities. 


<strong>Christole & Better Living for Special People were created</strong>

Christole & Better Living for Special People were created

BLSP wrote and received its first grant to provide respite services to individuals with developmental disabilities.

First Group Home opens

BLSP opened its first group home on Grandview Avenue to provide services for six adult men.

Medicaid Waiver

The agency began providing services through the Medicaid Waiver, one of the first in Indiana.

Employment & Habilitation

The agency added supported employment and individual habilitation services.
<strong>20th Anniversary Fund opened & CARF Certification</strong>

20th Anniversary Fund opened & CARF Certification

The Grandview group home closed. People living there moved into their own homes. Proceeds from selling Grandview funded the 20th Anniversary Fund, the agency’s first endowment. The agency achieved CARF certification for employment services.

$300K from Monroe County

The agency was approved to receive $300,000 per year from the Monroe County Government tax levy for services to people with disabilities in the community.
<strong>Covey Lane & Karst Farm Playscape</strong>

Covey Lane & Karst Farm Playscape

The agency purchased Covey Lane properties to provide rental units for people with disabilities. The agency, in collaboration with Monroe Parks and Recreation Department, spearheaded the Karst Farm Playscape project for a universally accessible recreation area at Karst Farm Park.
<strong>Susan Rinne named Staff of the Year, CEO of the Year</strong>

Susan Rinne named Staff of the Year, CEO of the Year

Susan Rinne was named Staff of the Year by the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority and CEO of the Year by INARF.
<strong>Formation of LIFEDesigns</strong>

Formation of LIFEDesigns

Options merged with Christole to form LIFEDesigns
<strong>Housing Options II & Crawford Apartments completed</strong>

Housing Options II & Crawford Apartments completed

The agency completed two affordable multi-family housing projects: Housing Options II and Crawford Apartments. The new Winslow office provided long term stability. The agency was awarded $30,000 to participate in a consortium of agencies aimed at developing SIPN, a managed services organization. CARF awarded LIFEDesigns another 3-year accreditation.
<strong>Awarded the Lt. Governor's Award for Excellence</strong>

Awarded the Lt. Governor’s Award for Excellence

Crawford Apartments won the Lt. Governor’s Award for Excellence in Affordable Housing & Urban Community Development. The City of Bloomington gifted a home on Orris Drive to LIFEDesigns as part of the affordable housing program. LIFEDesigns helped two clients realize their dreams of independence.

McKinley in Columbus, IN

LIFEDesigns at McKinley opened in Columbus, Indiana. Eight individuals transitioned from residential settings to a supported living environment.
<strong>Russell Bonanno becomes CEO</strong> <strong>after Susan Rinne retires</strong>

Russell Bonanno becomes CEO after Susan Rinne retires

Susan Rinne retired after serving as the CEO for nearly 20 years. Russell Bonanno became the new CEO. Crawford II opened to 36 formerly homeless residents with disabilities.

Reforming Employee Procedures

LIFEDesigns cut employee turnover by 20%. The Agency rolled out a new Employee Handbook and improved employee benefits.
<strong>Improving Employee Benefits</strong>

Improving Employee Benefits

LIFEDesigns increased pay for permanent employees by $3.00/hour to attract and retain more skilled Direct Support Professionals. For the first time in over 10 years, the Agency was able to let go of temp staff, cut turnover down to 40%, and increase retention by 66%. Overall, employee morale dramatically improved.
<strong>Russell Bonanno received Executive Leadership Award</strong>

Russell Bonanno received Executive Leadership Award

CEO, Russell J. Bonanno received the Executive Leadership Award at the INARF Conference.