TERRE HAUTE —
Three dozen freshly-baked cakes of all kinds were lined up for the “cake walk,” waiting to be claimed by lucky winners Friday at the start of the Development Services Inc. open house.
The cake walk was just one of several events marking DSI’s special celebration, which was designed to introduce the not-for-profit agency to folks in the Wabash Valley.
“We want people to know DSI is here,” said Jodi Lemmon, day program manager for the agency, which provides productive work, educational and fun activities for adults and children with mental, physical and emotional special needs.
Jennifer Grinstead, a long-time DSI client from Terre Haute, was helping with the Karaoke portion of the open house. She also helped prepare the cakes for the cake walk, she said.
“I think I did 30 cakes and cookies, too,” Grinstead said smiling. She has been a client since Spectrum Industries operated the program, she said. DSI, which is based in Columbus, took over in July of 2011, Lemmon said.
DSI of the Wabash Valley serves Vigo, Parke, Clay, Vermillion and Sullivan counties. DSI has a presence in 39 of Indiana’s 92 counties, mostly in the southern half of the state and around Indianapolis.
This was the first open house since DSI opened at 16th and Eagle streets, less than a block north of Wabash Avenue. The agency serves up to 30 clients each day with a variety of activities, including art, cooking, computer, reading, math, writing and music classes. It also provides employment opportunities as clients perform tasks to be paid on a per piece basis. Some clients also work in janitorial jobs, Lemmon said.
“They have a job just like anyone else,” she said.
DSI is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. DSI clients are also volunteers at area not-for-profits, and DSI staff sometimes help clients with independent activities, such as shopping or attending school. DSI clients also take part in individual activities with staff members, including trips to the children’s museum or Atlantis Aquatic Gardens, Lemmon noted.
“They love that,” she said.
“It’s good,” Grinstead said of her time at DSI. “It gets me out of the house for a while. We’re just like a family here. This has been my family for a long time.”
Lemmon also appreciates her time at DSI.
“I absolutely love it,” Lemmon said of her work at DSI. “There’s nothing else I’d rather do.”
Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@ tribstar.com.