Arizona Mentor: Program Enables Disabled To Develop Abilities, Contribute To Community

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A nationwide organization has opened a door of opportunity for the ever-growing population of Rim country's developmentally disabled.
Arizona Mentor -- a division of the National Mentor Network -- is now offering a wide array of education, habilitation and information resources in Payson for the developmentally disabled and their families.

"Working in concert with the Arizona Division of Developmental Disabilities, we offer a tremendous number of informational and educational resources to our clients and their families, as well as provide individualized programming," said Cindy Backes, who heads up the Payson branch of Arizona Mentor.With more than 1,800 group homes and many vocational and day programs throughout the United States, we have outstanding training resources for our staff, and that makes a big difference in the lives of our clients."

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Julie Worley and Danny Parker, participants in the Arizona Mentor program in Payson, work on silk screening a shirt under the supervision of Darrel Mallon. The silk screening work is part of the vocational training offered through the program, which offers a variety of services to the area's developmentally disabled adults.

Arizona Mentor recently acquired Developmental Systems, Inc. (DSI), which had provided a limited number of services for Payson's disabled in the past.
Mentor's program coordinator Randy Roberson pointed out a vast number of improvements which Mentor is proud to offer.
"We're getting these people back out into the community, going places and doing things," he said. "This is a community based effort where we are working to effectively integrate them into all facets of normal life."

Mentor clients are actively involved in Special Olympics and ADOT's Adopt a Highway program. They have weekly meet-and-greet gathering with the residents at Manzanita Manor and have participated in many of the local parades as well as numerous other events.

"We are working to provide a full range of community experiences which help many of our clients to eventually enjoy increased independence," Backes said.

One of Mentor's vocational programs is known by many as Payson Impressions.ocated in the Swiss Village Shops, Payson Impressions is a T-shirt silk screening business where the disabled take an active roll in many phases of the overall operation.
"From the screening, drying and hanging of shirts, to customer service, accounting and janitorial duties, we strive to teach our clients good work habits and duties appropriate for their individual level of functioning ability," Backes said.We provide a high-quality product to many local businesses, civic groups and churches at the lowest prices you'll find in Rim country. Whether you provide the artwork or we do it for you, you'll get a great product at a great price and you'll know you are helping a great cause in the process."

Mentor also offers respite services to the families of the developmentally disabled by providing short-term care and supervision to relieve caregivers or clients.his is done either in or away from the individual's home to provide services such as ensuring the client receives prescribed medications, ensuring individuals receive proper dietary assistance, providing transportation to appointments or day programs and carrying out the client's program activities as outlined by the client or their caregivers.

Mentor also offers attendant care which is a combination of personal care and housekeeping services that helps in maintaining or transitioning to independent living arrangements.
"This means coming into the client's home, making sure they are up and fed in the morning, coming back at noon and helping to prepare lunch and then coming back again in the evening to make sure dinner is handled, housekeeping is being kept up and meeting any other special needs which they may have," Roberson said.

Habilitation is another area where Mentor offers a vast number of options and services for their clients.hese services provide a variety of interventions such as special development skills, behavior intervention and sensorimotor development, designed to maximize the functioning of the developmentally disabled.he goal of this service is to enable individuals to acquire knowledge and skills, increase or maintain self-sufficiency, provide training and assistance in essential activities required to meet personal and physical needs, and maintain the health and safety of the individual.

Mentor also links clients with jobs in the community.
"We have some clients who are out working in the community and we are always looking for more businesses who want to learn more about how this service can benefit them as well as our clients," Roberson said.We provide the job coaches for our clients that help train and maintain them in their jobs, and we're always looking for more businesses who realize the benefits both to the business and the client by establishing such a relationship."

With more than 40 years combined history in Rim country, Backes and Roberson are hoping to use their local network to attract more involvement from local businesses, clubs and churches.

For more information, contact Backes or Roberson at (928) 474-5829 or stop by Payson Impressions in the Swiss Village Shops, next to the Sugar Shack.

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