Holiday Heroes: ADEC

BRISTOL, IN. -- The heroes come in all shapes and sizes.

This year, ABC57 wants to introduce you to the Holiday Heroes at ADEC!

"It's inviting people in, it's engaging, and it's really valuing everyone in our community," says ADEC's Director of Community Outreach, Troy Smith.

Off of State Road 120 in Bristol, you can find ADEC--a home away from home for those with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

"That might be complementary programming in schools, summer camp therapies, it might be residential support. And as they grow up, that might look like guardianship and, and some other things like that," says Smith.

Smith has been with the organization since 2019 and says ADEC strives to help people it it's care maximize their abilities!

"All of it is to support the choice and independence of our neighbors with disabilities," says Smith.

Ringing in it's 70th year, ADEC has and continues to serve over a thousand Saint Joseph and Elkhart County neighbors in every walk and stage of life.

“We can help a family that has individual disability, through their whole lifeline in terms of setting them up to receive services, to receiving services, whether it's therapy or residential support, or helping them get a job in the community. We are here," says the organizations President and CEO, Donna Belusar.

Right in our own backyard, 400 staff members are connecting dreams to reality!

“We're always looking at the dreams of the individuals that we're serving their desire, those choices that they have, and how we can make that happen. And then it's partnering with the community to really, I think, see the fulfillment in that," says Smith.

Some diagnoses can be overwhelming for families when they don't know their options.

“For us, breaking down those barriers, it's really just education and awareness. Meeting your neighbors with disabilities goes a long way in understanding just how capable these members of our community are in participating and I think really enriching all of our lives," says Smith.

Sometimes clients can't drive on their own.
Or they need assisted living help or one on one interactions to help them sharpen their skills.

ADEC aims to help people live a life of their own.

With dignity.

The opportunity to seek employment opportunities and find community.

But how can you get involved?

You can follow or like ADEC's social media pages.


Donate goods, buy products, share experiences or apply for a job.

“There are opportunities all throughout whether you are interested in driving and being an employment coach, therapists, direct support professionals," says Smith. "So no matter really what degree you have, there's a place for you here at ADEC.”

Simply being an advocate is a great first step..or sip!

The Gaining Grounds Coffee Shop is one of the on-site opportunities you have to work and interact with the people ADEC serves.

You can also join one of ADEC's seasonal campaigns!

Wishlist helps connect our community members with our clients wish lists for Christmas, you can go out and shop for those items. And then a deck helps wrap them and deliver them for that special Christmas moment," says Courtney Khlenbeck, ADEC's Community Engagement Specialist.

The organization needs needs more than 700 present to fill 112 individuals' stockings.

“Just looking at the wish list and seeing the different things that they are truly wanting," says Khlenback. "And they're making the choice to get for Christmas kind of opens your eyes to what our neighbors with disabilities like and what they do in their daily lives.”

No matter how you get involved, making people feel included and loved is always worth the effort.

"We are a strong hope for you. And my message to families is even if you don't get services from a tech we will help you and then you can go forth and have a great fulfilling life," says Belusar.

To learn about specific programs available, job opportunities or volunteer programs a simple call is the best way to get started!

Phone number to Bristol site: 574-848-7451

Address: 19670 S.R. 120
Bristol, IN 46507

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