BENEFITING: Opportunity Enterprises, Inc.
EVENT DATE: Oct 13, 2013
Opportunity Enterprises, Inc. is a non-profit organization in Northwest Indiana whose mission is to create sustainable life choices and opportunities for individuals with unique challenges and abilities. Opportunity Enterprises provides early intervention, transition, residential, occupational, and educational support services to more than 1,000 children and adults with developmental, emotional, and/or physical disabilities in Northwest Indiana. In the past thirteen years over 3,600 runners have raised over 1.7 million dollars for Opportunity Enterprises. This year funds raised by the OE Marathon Team will support growth and development at OE Lakeside and the programs that are, or soon will be, housed there.
How Will my Fundraising be Used?
Funds raised by the Marathon Team this year will support growth and development at OE Lakeside and the programs that are, or soon will be, housed there – Enriching Possibilities, a curriculum-based program for individuals with moderate to severe disabilities, the Renewed Horizons Adult Day Center, which serves senior adults with special needs, and Daily Living Skills, a program which teaches basic skills to individuals with severe to profound disabilities. These three programs serve about 150 clients on a daily basis.
In 2007, Opportunity Enterprises acquired OE Lakeside, a 158-acre parcel of land and water on Lake Eliza. Soon afterward, OE renovated the existing facilities and moved Enriching Possibilities and Renewed Horizons ADC from our work center on Evans Avenue to this lush, natural setting. The moment these programs moved in, however, more space was needed. Thanks to a very successful capital campaign, OE was able to raise over $3 million to expand facilities at Lakeside.
Funds raised to date have allowed us to begin construction on two projects: the expansion of our day services building at Lakeside, which will nearly triple the number of clients which can be served there, and the construction of an apartment building including handicapped accessible units which are very difficult to find in Northwest Indiana. With your help, OE will be able to raise the remainder of the money needed to complete construction, including the purchase of furniture and supplies, and also to support the programs offered at Lakeside.
Why is Lakeside Important?
As our community grows, OE has to grow with it. Did you know that in the State of Indiana, there are more than 19,000 individuals who could potentially come into a service like OE? In Northwest Indiana alone, there are approximately 2,500 people waiting to be served. By continuing to expand our facilities and programs, OE will be able to serve more and more people with challenges and disabilities for generations to come.
An OE Success Story, Ricky Brockus
In his late teens, Ricky Brockus was involved in a serious motorcycle accident, resulting in a traumatic brain injury which made him unable to live independently. Traumatic brain injuries are a bit tricky. Often, surprising behaviors develop with no rhyme or reason, and it can become difficult to minimize those actions. Depression is typical as well, especially if the person can remember their life before the accident, which Ricky can. As a result, for years after his accident, Ricky was reclusive, desiring nothing more than to live his entire life with his elderly father. He used to avoid group activities and put his hygiene at the bottom of his priority list. After having lived in a nursing home during his 20’s, Ricky’s father sought help for him from OE.
Today, Ricky lives in a supported living apartment with two other men, and attends OE’s Enriching Possibilities Program at OE Lakeside. While Ricky was a bit hesitant when he first moved in, and tended to stay by himself, it wasn’t long before Ricky began to make incredible progress. He now engages himself with his roommates, and is no longer hiding in his bedroom. He actually sits in the living room with his roommates, all three men chatting and making comments while they watch their favorite movie – “Grumpy Old Men.” Ricky participates in cooking, and even enjoys it! He is cleaning his home and does his share of the household chores. If you ask him now why he looks so clean and handsome every day, he’ll say “Cause I’m looking for that lucky lady.” Ricky is also showing great progress with his behaviors and his negative self-talk is obsolete.
At one point, Ricky’s father had to restrict his visits with his son because he would fixate on wanting to live with him. Now, Mr. Brockus can visit every weekend, and say good-bye peacefully and happily, knowing that his son is feeling good about himself and his life.
OE is privileged to have this lovely man in our services – someone who does not hold back compliments to women, who will serenade you if asked, and who can provide amazing insights into life’s little challenges. Ricky is surpassing odds, changing his life completely, and, through hard work and determination, has moved from a life of sadness to one of great joy, friendships, and laughter