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 more than 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 2019, the agency served 20,710 individuals through more than 20 programs in 30 Indiana counties.

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First Winter Festival Event Brings Together Dozens of Adults with Disabilities

It was a Winter Wonderland at First Capital Christian Church in Corydon January 18. Blue River Services, Inc. staff hosted the winter-themed festival aimed at bringing people with intellectual and developmental disabilities together for an afternoon of fun. Surrounded by shiny snowflakes and music, more than 100 people turned out to socialize, dance, play games, decorate cookies and do crafts. There was even a hot cocoa station with whipped cream, exploding chocolate marshmallow balls and sprinkles.

Festival-goers were also excited to see Elsa and Anna from Frozen, who posed for pictures and joined everyone on the dance floor.

One of the most popular areas though, was the snowball toss game. Similar to the rules of the classic Cornhole game, players in snowball toss could also win prizes. Every player that got the snowball into the “ice” hole on the board won a prize!

This free public event was sponsored by Blue River Services, Inc. We can’t thank our volunteers enough for making this a special day – DJ Jess Rocks, students from Corydon High School who volunteered at the craft area and all of our wonderful staff.

If you are interested in receiving information about Blue River’s special events and news, please contact Dawn Pigg at dpigg@brsinc.org or 812-738-2018.


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Stepping Stone Residents to Benefit From Regions Bank Donation

With generous support from Regions Bank, Blue River Services, Inc. will supply essential resources for residents at Stepping Stone Apartments, a permanent supportive housing development for homeless young adults with disabilities.

Regions is presenting Blue River with a $2,000 donation to demonstrate its commitment to affordable housing, one of its key investment areas supporting economic and community development. The gift arrives just in time for the holidays.

“For more than six decades, Blue River Services has been dedicated to empowering people with disabilities and helping them overcome barriers to independence,” said Nicole Woodson, Community Development Manager for Regions in Indiana. “We’re pleased to lend our support to their efforts to help provide safe housing, employment   training and access to community resources for their Harrison County clients.

When youth age out of the foster care system, many find themselves on the cusp of adulthood and homelessness. Stepping Stone was built in 2011 to address the unique needs of this population. By combining affordable housing with support services, Blue River helps reduce homelessness among adults 18-25, while ensuring residents continue to receive needed services, such as case management, therapy, driver’s education, and job training and placement. Agency staff also work with residents to bridge the gap to other services by providing food, clothing, apartment furnishings, transportation, and other essentials until outside assistance or income can be established.

“Through this program, we are helping youth transition into adulthood by giving them the resources they need to become self-sufficient and live happy, healthy lives,” said Liz Tyree, Director of Youth Services. “Our staff often serve in the parental/caregiver role to give these young people the tools they need to overcome barriers. Without generous support from community partners like Regions Bank, this crucial program would not exist.”

If you or someone you know needs assistance, please visit www.brsinc.org or call 812-738-4902 for more information.

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Blue River Rendition of The Amazing Race Teaches Teamwork


CBS may be the original proprietor of The Amazing Race reality TV show, but the Community Relations Department at BRS has redefined it as a fundamental team building series for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

In the American competition show, teams of two race around the world in competition with other teams to complete challenges, solve clues and win the grand prize of one million dollars. The concept led Blue River Services COO Tammy Seitz to create the agency’s version as a friendly competition with clever challenges designed to capitalize and improve upon social, decision making, fine motor and problem solving skills while interacting with the community.

Now in its third year, the month-long race between the Corydon and Salem habilitation groups took place throughout October. The teams competed one day each week, receiving clues with information leading them to the destination of their next challenge. The goal was to complete the challenges in the least amount of time without incurring any penalties.

The teams made their way to the administration building to take a picture with CEO Daniel J. Lowe for the first clue. Teamwork was key in the next challenge popping a bag full of balloons while wearing oven mitts then piecing together the letters inside to spell out the location of their next stop. Another day, a challenging selfie scavenger hunt led the groups across the county to pose with local celebrities and 19 other items on the list.

One of the favorite challenges included a visit to Salem Industries where each group had to find a smiley face at the bottom of a container. The best way to reach the bottom? Eat M&Ms! After eating their way to success in this challenge, it was time to prepare for the final day of the race.

On a dramatic final day of seven challenges, the Corydon team narrowly won, reclaiming bragging rights and a trophy from Salem’s win last year.
“This event has grown in both size and popularity,” said Seitz. “Several of the consumers have asked if we can do this activity every month! They really enjoyed and benefitted from interaction with their peers, community members and Blue River staff.”

As the Corydon team celebrated their win, the Salem team was already looking ahead to next year’s race. “We will get you next time,” they said.

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Day of Action at Blue River Services, Inc. Helps Residents at Stepping Stone Apartments


A group of volunteers gathered for a “Day of Action” at Stepping Stone Apartments September 20 to help spruce up the development dedicated to providing support services and housing to homeless young adults ages 18 to 25. Joined by Blue River Housing staff and Metro United Way’s Dee Dee Flynn, teams from Horseshoe Southern Indiana, Heritage Ford and Humana lent their afternoon and talents to several projects. Some applied a fresh coat of paint to the playground and exterior, while others helped clean up many of the outside fixtures, landscape and decks, and several brave individuals built desks for two new tenants who will be moving in this month.

Residents at Stepping Stone receive services from various Blue River Services, Inc. departments to ensure they reach their maximum potential at home, work and in the community. All apartments come completely furnished and include a desk for dedicated workspace to encourage continuing and ongoing education, and workplace advancement.

Amber Gray, Community Outreach Coordinator at Heritage Ford, said she and her colleagues are always looking for ways to give back to their community. “Heritage is one of the top five contributors to United Way,” said Gray while replacing a failing bush in front of one of the apartments. “Our annual United Way campaign kickoff is soon, so this is the perfect way to commemorate that and get the momentum going.”

This year’s Metro United Way Day of Action included more than 500 volunteers across seven counties serving more than 5,000 children and families.

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BRS Consumer Ron Blackman, Jr. Gives Back to the Community

On a typical day, Ron Blackman, Jr. works diligently at Salem Blue River Industries, where he receives vocational training and is employed as a material handler and packager. At the workshop, he helps his peers and general laborers fulfill light manufacturing contracts with local businesses. He also works in the community on the lawn care crew for other Blue River Services, Inc. sites.

This summer however, Ron had a unique opportunity to test his skills. Volunteering alongside his father, Ron worked with neighboring non-profit, Washington County Helping Hands, to build a wheelchair ramp for a family home in Salem.

“People need this for their wheelchairs and walking with canes; they have problems using stairs,” Ron said. “I like helping people. It makes me very happy.”

Production manager Staci Dorton, who has supervised Ron’s work since he came to Blue River Industries in 2014, echoed Ron’s enthusiasm for a job well done.

“Ron is a great part of our team at Salem Blue River Industries,” Dorton said. “He is a hard worker and can do just about any task we give him, and do it very well. He is also polite and friendly with everybody. We are blessed to have him as a part of our team.”

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