BRS is about ‘people serving people’
The Corydon Democrat continues its new feature for this year, ‘Top 26 of 2006,’ that takes a look at 26 people, places or things that our readers suggested make Harrison County a great place to live or work. The remaining five stories will be published before the end of the year.
What started as an effort by six families to provide education for their mentally challenged children has grown into an agency that provides services in more than three dozen areas.
Blue River Services Inc. offers assistance in many ways. Those services could be grouped into five categories: family and children’s services, employment services, residential services, transportation, and administrative and fiscal support services.
The agency was initially chartered in 1959 as the Harrison County Association for Retarded Children and offered a private school in Palmyra. When enrollment reached 31 students, a larger facility was needed. A sheltered workshop that offered training in carpentry and furniture refinishing was started in 1964, thanks to a bequest and funds from the WHAS Crusade for Children.
In 1982, the name was changed to Blue River Developmental Services Inc. to recognize the regional services area and the broad spectrum of children and adults who were receiving services.
Annual progress reports, kept since 1988, show BRS’s growth. That initial report shows that 258 people were served through 14 services. Ten years later, 4,746 people received services in 35 areas.
Blue River Services employs more than 300 people in at least 26 sites and serves children and adults in 14 counties: Harrison, Crawford, Washington, Floyd, Orange, Lawrence, Jackson, Clark, Dubois, Perry, Scott, Spencer, Martin and Madison. (Not all services are provided in every county.)
The mission of Blue River Services is, ‘To assist people with disabilities in realizing maximum personal growth and development in home, work and community by providing a continuum of individualized services and supports in settings least restrictive for the needs of the individual.’
This is done through their many services: early childhood intervention, speech and language therapy, child care, preschool, sheltered employment, vocational evaluation, work adjustment training, job placement, resum’ development, office skills training, community job search seminars, car loan program, service transportation, adults with disabilities consultation, first aid/CPR training, WIC sponsor, emergency and long-term youth shelter, job seeking and keeping skills training, personal assistance, respite service, behavior management, in-home habilitation, supervised group living residential services, alternative families for adult and children, semi-independent living, medical transportation, supported employment, vehicle modification consultation, health families/healthy children, child car voucher services, child care resource and referral services, transition assistance, and driver’s training and evaluation.
Daniel J. Lowe has been the CEO of Blue River Services since 1984. He’s known as someone who isn’t afraid to take risks and tries to meet existing needs.
He credits the success of BRS to a caring, quality staff.
For more information about Blue River Services Inc. and the services it offers, visit online brsinc.org or call 738-2408.