Center provides job training for disabled
By Erik Buchinger
A social and activities center for adults with disabilities expanded into Clintonville.
CaHoots Adult Day Service has been serving surrounding communities since March. It provides transportation to and from the Clintonville facility where staff teach job training skills to help members become independent and find their own jobs.
To simulate different occupations, several rooms are set up, including a clothing store where members stack and hang clothes. Another is the recycling room where people learn to crush cans and take out the recycling.
“A lot of people are capable of doing volunteer work and get jobs, and that’s our main goal,” CaHoots co-founder Laurie Jakusz said. “Everybody has been really impressed with how we’re working things.”
The Clintonville community has made the first few months of business easier, according to Jakusz.
“The community has really opened doors to us,” Jakusz said. “The Clintonville High School has been phenomenal transitioning students who are going to be graduating soon. At 18, we can start transitioning them from school to day service. It’s been such a positive experience. The library has also opened its doors to us, so it’s been an amazing experience.”
CaHoots was alerted that Waupaca County Industries were set to shut down in January, which affected quite a few members.
Jakusz and co-founder Brianna Marshall came up with a care plan for the high-priority people who had nowhere to go during the day.
CaHoots’s Waupaca and Amherst locations filled up right away. The next step was to figure out where to expand.
After looking at different demographics, CaHoots decided Clintonville was a central location for disabled people in the surrounding communities.
“Combined between us, we have over 30 years of experience with disabled people,” Jakusz said of her and Marshall. “My sister is cognitively and physically disabled, and our family was always looking to find her things to do during the day, and she has been at several different day services.”
Jakusz’s sister is cognitively and physically disabled, making it difficult for the family to find things for her to do during the day.
Jakusz thought about starting her own day service in 2012 and had about six members in their first year of CaHoots in Amherst.
“It kind of blew up after that,” Jakusz said. “The Waupaca location was founded in 2014 and now Clintonville in 2018. Combined between the facilities we’re serving over 50 members.”
The Clintonville facility is currently serving 12 people. Jakusz said that number will increase with awareness and another area day service potentially shutting down.
There are currently eight CaHoots employees in Clintonville. Jakusz said she is always hiring at all facilities.
“The ratio we do is one employee to every five members we have even though the state mandated ratio is 1:8,” Jakusz said. “We like to do more individualized programming and get them out and about in the community with going to the rec center, grocery shopping or taking them to the zoo.”
Jakusz said CaHoots has received surveys from caregivers and guardians with phenomenal remarks.
“They’re happy with the service with how focused we are with our residents,” Jakusz said. “The focus is to get community members to understand disabilities and welcome everybody with whatever they’re struggling or dealing with. There are great opportunities for members to be included in everything.”