WELCOME TO BLUE RIVER SERVICES, INC.

Blue River Services, Inc. (BRS) is a non-profit organization founded in 1959 by six families who believed that all people are capable of learning when given the opportunity and appropriate support services. With this guiding philosophy for nearly 60 years, BRS has consistently expanded its services to meet the needs of community members and help people with disabilities and the general public overcome barriers to independence.

BRS strives to reach its motto of “People Serving People” by providing exceptional services for all ages, from infants to seniors, in all areas of life and levels of ability.  In fiscal year 2018, the agency served 25,677 individuals through more than 20 programs in 30 Indiana counties.

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BRS Safe Place Coordinator Receives 2018 Indiana Individual Achievement Award

In recognition of her leadership and dedication, Sheila Bobay-Singh, Safe Place Coordinator, received the 2018 Indiana Safe Place Individual Achievement Award. The award was presented by Robin Donaldson, COO of Indiana Youth Services Association, at the December 6 annual meeting in Indianapolis. The Individual Achievement Award also honors Bobay-Singh for efforts to ensure that youth in Harrison and Crawford Counties have access to immediate safety and resources. In presenting the award, Donaldson said Bobay-Singh singlehandedly provided information to 54% of the youth population (ages 10-17) in her two-county service area. “She is an invaluable resource and support to other Safe Place Coordinators in the state,” said Donaldson. “I am pleased to announce the first recipient of the Indiana Safe Place Individual Achievement Award goes to Sheila Bobay Singh.”

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Resident Camaraderie Triumphs at Halloween-Themed Annual Picnic

Every fall, the Supervised Group Living residential picnic has become a staple and a Halloween theme has become tradition. Held October 31 at United Methodist Church in Palmyra, the inside venue was a last-minute change after massive rain hit the area, but it didn’t take away from the annual event that brings all 48 of Blue River Services’ group home residents together for a day of socializing, food, games and friendly competition.

Of course no Halloween celebration would be complete without a costume contest. The men at Summit View Group Home who stood out for their costumes and expression of roommate camaraderie. Dressed simply in white pants and blue shirts, it was a distinct hat and one cloaked member of the group who brilliantly depicted The Smurfs and their human nemesis Gargamel. The group won first prize in the costume contest, taking home the coveted “Hulk” trophy, which now resides in admiration at the home until it is up for grabs again at the next major contest.

Each of the seven group homes also made their own chili to share. Maybe a chili cook-off is fated for next year’s event?

Summit View residents, from left, Jerry Beverly, Lowell Norskov, Eric Miller, Rodney Wilson and Colin Mikel show off their winning group Smurfs costume.

The ladies at Oak Drive group home, from left, Carol Stocking, Stephanie Ladd, Lisa Schultz, and Dianna Dixon enjoy some Halloween fun.

 

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Annual Prom Creates ‘Evening at the Oscars’ for People with Disabilities

The Community Resources Department at Blue River Services, Inc. hosted its eleventh annual prom with celebrity flare October 13 at Southern Hills Church in Salem, Indiana. More than 60 Blue River consumers and their dates enjoyed an Evening at the Oscar’s, which was this year’s theme.

Staff and volunteers rolled out the red carpet for adults with disabilities who arrived to camera-clad “paparazzi.”

After pictures, everyone hit the dance floor. DJ Allen Grant kept the crowd entertained and even made an appearance as Elvis. As he swayed, shook and shimmied, lip-synching the King of Rock and Roll’s greatest hits, he had some competition from prom-goers who belted out the tunes as they danced along.

The royal prom coronation was announced by Tammy Seitz, Director of Community Resources, with the help of Donna Davis, Habilitation Manager, and Seitz’s daughter Bailey, who volunteered. Chad Vandeventer was crowned King, and Jasmine Orndorff was this year’s Prom Queen. Jon Combs and Stephanie Ladd were named Prince and Princess, and David Edwards and Samantha Holt were the Duke and Duchess. The sweethearts of the prom were Junior O’Neal and Annie Gilstrap.

At the end of the night, everyone left with a beaded necklace or a key chain as a memento of their special night.

“Several volunteers came together to make this a night to remember,” said Seitz. “We had a wonderful turnout and look forward to continuing this tradition for many years.”

A special thanks to all our staff and volunteers: Charity and Jeffrey Ash, Liz and Jess Pendygraft, Sonja Oakes, Darius, Destiny and Cynthia Porter, Bailey Seitz, Ashley and Malania Hubbard, Elizabeth Johnson, and Donna Davis.

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U.S. Rep Trey Hollingsworth Tours Corydon Blue River Industries Sheltered Workshop

Blue River Services, Inc. leadership hosted Trey Hollingsworth, Rep. in Indiana’s 9th congressional district, at Blue River Industries sheltered workshop in Corydon October 9 to discuss employment choices for individuals with disabilities and the threat they face under proposed changes to legislation.

Hollingsworth, Blue River Services President and CEO Daniel J. Lowe, and longtime board member Bill Harrod, President and CEO of First Harrison Bank, toured the workshop with Kim Perry, Director of Industries, who showed the group just how meaningful sheltered workshops – and the opportunities they provide -- are for individuals with disabilities.

Just ask Michael Ashabraner, who recently celebrated 30 years with Blue River Industries. He greeted the group, shared his excitement to celebrate his birthday with friends and staff at the group home where he resides, and was interested in meeting everyone. He also didn’t hesitate to tell Hollingsworth he loved his job, and he has been doing it for 30 years. It’s certainly not a sentiment everyone can relate to, but it is a clear indication Blue River is fulfilling its mission to help people – no matter the challenges they may face – to live happy, healthy lives in positive environments.

“Most of the people we serve,” explained Lowe, “are people with developmental disabilities.” “Our goal is to place the person into a job in the community. We even have an Employment Services Department that goes out into the community to work with the person as a job coach, but it isn’t realistic in some cases.”

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Day of Action Brightens Senior Housing Community

As the sky grew dim above Country Trace senior housing September 21, a team of volunteers shrugged off the humid air. It was Metro United Way’s Day of Action, and it made a huge impact for the residents at the affordable living community in Palmyra. 

Together with volunteers from accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers in Louisville, Metro United Way’s Kim Lansdell, community giving manager, and Blue River housing staff helped transform the eight-acre property in just three hours. After flooding earlier in the year, Blue River Services staff have dedicated their time and efforts to rehabilitating the apartments and getting tenants back home. The assistance of volunteers to complete work outside was much needed and greatly appreciated by agency staff and residents.

Even after a torrential rain, the group continued working to lay landscape fabric, spread rock, shovel dirt, mulch, and plant grass and trees. Dirt also was used to fill in any dips, holes or indentations, especially around sidewalks, to help eliminate tripping hazards.

Metro United Way Day of Action is an opportunity for employers to help meet a need in the community hands-on. The event included more than 500 volunteers in seven counties and more than 30 organizations impacting 5,000 children and more than 20 non-profits in one day.

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