EPIC Seeking Individuals with Developmental Disabilities
EPIC: Everyone in Pike Included and Contributing is a local effort to improve lives for adults with developmental disabilities in Pike County. If you care about or are a person with developmental disabilities, you are invited to participate. The goal of EPIC is to help people do things they enjoy related to their interests and to connect to organizations, clubs, and other people with similar interests. Young people preparing to leave high school, adults living at home with family, those living in a group home, and those living on their own with or without support services can participate in EPIC to explore ways they may be more involved, active, and connected in the community.
“A friend of mine who is an adult with developmental disabilities in another community joined a nearby community choir. Her parents drove her to and from practices. Over time, she made friends with the other choir members. Now she is part of a regular carpool to choir practice and participates without her parents’ involvement — just like any other adult member of the choir,” says Michele Westmaas, EPIC Project Coordinator.
Westmaas, a Pike County resident for over 20 years, sees Pike County as the perfect community for this groundbreaking effort. “We are a close-knit, caring community,” says Westmaas. “We want our neighbors with disabilities to have a good life. With the right support and encouragement, Pike County citizens with disabilities could have a life like any other citizen – doing all the regular things of life in all the regular community places. When everyone is able to contribute their unique skills and talents throughout the community, we all benefit.”
The first monthly EPIC Community Gathering will be held Tuesday, October 27th at 6pm at Pittsfield Methodist Church, 222 N. Monroe. Families, individuals with developmental disabilities, and interested citizens are invited to celebrate successes, brainstorm burning questions, consider new ideas, and think about next steps. Everyone is invited to come together for punch, cookies, and connection!
People interested in participating in EPIC to explore ways they can be more involved, active, and connected in the community can call Michele Westmaas at 217-473-6450 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or Carrie Martin, EPIC Grant Facilitator, at 217-242-9833 or email email@example.com.
An online video at http://www.iambc.org/#!epic-pike/cye3 gives more information about what EPIC participants can expect. On that same webpage is a link to sign up for the EPIC online newsletter. Information related to the project is shared regularly on a Facebook page called EPIC: Everyone in Pike Included & Contributing. EPIC is a project of the Illinois Association of Microboards and Cooperatives (IAMC) funded by a grant from the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities.