STROUDSBURG, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — It’s an organization dedicated to helping people with clients with intellectual disabilities and autism.
Eyewitness News was told about the good works “D.E.S” has been doing for decades and their plans for the future.
A game of Nintendo Wii bowling was on the agenda at Developmental Education Services of Monroe County in Stroudsburg, or D.E.S for short.
The virtual bowlers were among the roughly four dozen clients with intellectual disabilities and autism who rely on daily services provided by this organization.
Director of Adult Services, Carol Miller has worked at D.E.S for 35 years. She has seen the non-profit grow from about a dozen clients a day. She explains why it’s so important to keep moving forward even though many cases of growth have come with growing pains.
“Yes, we’ve had a lot of those over the years also. But, we seem to always keep moving ahead which is what is important and our mission is to provide services and we evolve and we change to meet the needs of the people that we serve,” Miller explained.
Clients who are able can use notebooks to read.
“This didn’t hurt at all,” read 21-year-old client Tiffany Johnson.
Johnson looks forward to the time she spends at D.E.S
“They’re nice and helpful and I like coming here every day,” said Johnson.
D.E.S Executive Director Denise Summa says the organization provides opportunities for socialization and a whole lot more.
“We offer what’s called community participation support and basically very simply that is getting our individuals out into the community to engage their community and to be an integral part of their community,” said Summa.
They do this through activities including volunteering with Meals on Wheels, making nursing home visits, or volunteering at the national park service.
But now D.E.S wants to take its services a step further by offering employment opportunities to capable clients. It will require hiring an employment and volunteer specialist and purchasing a van dedicated to higher functioning clients. The Pocono Mountains Community Fundraiser will cover the cost.
“We can go out and market our program and also take our clients to job interviews or places where they can volunteer to learn the necessary skills to have the job,” Summa said.
Before clients like Tiffany can participate in employment services through D.E.S, the non-profit must be authorized through the state. But none of this would be possible without the grant from Pocono Mountains Community Fundraiser.
D.E.S hopes to begin offering employment services to clients in 2022, marking a new chapter for an organization whose goal is to help individuals live their very best lives.
“They want to give back. They want to be out there helping people and now this employment will give them more possibilities to do that,” said Miller.
The 2021 Pocono Mountains Community Fundraiser can be watched streaming live at pahomepage.com this Thursday night.