Local Day Program Unveils a World of Opportunities for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio: https://www.pexels.com/photo/happy-friends-spending-time-in-forest-3777587/


 AbleLight, a pioneer in delivering life-changing services for people with developmental disabilities, has announced the grand opening of its newest day program located in Fort Collins.

AbleLight is operating its program at Foothills Gateway’s former day program location and is pleased to offer continuity of service to participants from that program and enrollment to new participants.  Foothills Gateway is now the Case Management Agency and Community Centered Board for Larimer County and can no longer provide both Case Management Services and day program services.

AbleLight is a national non-profit leader in pioneering life-changing services that empower people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to thrive. Founded in 1904 in Wisconsin as a Christian Mission, AbleLight promotes independence and inclusion across the U.S. through comprehensive and individualized supports that include housing, employment, spiritual life, and much more. 

Keith Jones, president and CEO of AbleLight, explained his motivation for establishing this new program: “Upon learning about the pending transition of critical community service that many of our local host home families and supported individuals have relied on for over thirty years, we knew immediate action was necessary. Programs like this are indispensable for individuals with disabilities; they serve as a vital link to the community, an extension of their support network, and often provide a lifeline against isolation and loneliness. We thank Foothill’s Gateway for their thoughtful and proactive approach in making this change and leasing the space for our program to begin.”

Day programs play a crucial role in addressing the prevalence of social isolation and loneliness experienced by people with developmental disabilities. These challenges significantly impact the health and wellness of this vulnerable community:

  • Research conducted by Gilmore and Cuskelly in a 2014 review published in the “Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities” suggests that up to half of people with developmental disabilities experience chronic loneliness.
  • A peer-reviewed report released in 2022 by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine highlighted the consequences of social isolation and loneliness, revealing links to depression, poor sleep, impaired immunity, and increased risks of various health conditions, including dementia by 50 percent, stroke by 32 percent, coronary heart disease by 29 percent, and significantly increases the risk of premature death. 

Andrea Aldinger, area vice president of AbleLight’s operations in Colorado, emphasized the vital role of AbleLight’s day programs: “Our programs serve as a gateway to the community, offering individuals with developmental disabilities opportunities to acquire new skills, forge meaningful connections, and enjoy a positive and engaging atmosphere tailored to their Individualized Support Plans. Participants are empowered to explore their interests and embrace life to the fullest through excursions, recreational activities, volunteerism opportunities, cultural experiences, and a diverse range of social activities.”

In celebration of Developmental Disabilities Awareness month, the community is warmly invited to attend the Grand Opening event:

Date: Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Time: 3:30 – 6:30 p.m.; Remarks at 4 p.m., followed by an open house with tours, refreshments, and giveaways.

Location: 301 W Skyway Dr, Suite 101, Fort Collins, CO 80525

The event offers a unique opportunity to meet Keith, Andrea, and the AbleLight team, tour the facility, gain insights into developmental disabilities and the exciting programs available, and experience firsthand the opportunity to make a positive impact in the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities.

The new Fort Collins location joins AbleLight day program offerings in Colorado Springs, Englewood, and Grand Junction.

For more information, go to AbleLight.org.



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