For adults living with disabilities, support, a sense of belonging, and independence are extremely important.
“The ability to enjoy a vibrant social life, to be an active part of the community, to be connected to others in the world is significant to our community,” says Hailey Myers, the development director at Imagine Possibilities, a nonprofit day center in Aloha, Oregon, for youth and adults who have intellectual and developmental disabilities.
When the center had to close its doors due to COVID-19, it was devastating for those who regularly attended to enjoy activities like art, music therapy, yoga, and community engagement. But it was the right thing to do.
“Out of concern for the safety of our participants, some of whom are medically fragile, we ceased in-person services at our center,” says Hailey.
With a group of people, along with their families, relying so heavily on Imagine Possibilities, the nonprofit needed to create new, sustainable ways to serve them.
“We developed virtual programming—holding music therapy and yoga therapy via video so participants could enjoy their favorite group activities and see their friends and staff, all in a safe, virtual format,” says Hailey, adding that it, “brought a bit of normalcy back to the daily schedules of our participants as they remain in quarantine for their safety.”
But the pandemic created other challenges.
Economic uncertainty amid the pandemic slowed down community support and donations. Hailey and her team had to turn to other outlets to help keep Imagine Possibilities’ mission alive. They worked with Lendio to get a PPP loan.
“Lendio took us seamlessly through the PPP application process,” says Hailey. “Because of their efforts we have preserved jobs for 18 dedicated staff who are providing services to some of our society’s most vulnerable individuals at a time of crisis.”
“It is also aiding us in providing therapeutic virtual services and one-on-one services to those most in need, at no extra cost,” she added. “Our social work team is also providing mental health services to participants and families, and we are doing everything in our power to make sure nobody slips through the cracks.”
Besides providing PPP assistance, Lendio also awarded Imagine Possibilities a Lendio Small Business Grant to further help the nonprofit through its financial struggles.
“When we found out that Lendio was supporting our center with a $10,000 grant, we were overcome with both joy and gratitude,” says Hailey. “It’s difficult to express how much it means to receive support like this … like many other nonprofits and small businesses we know that at this moment we are uniquely dependent on community support.”
The grant money along with the PPP will be used to preserve the Direct Support Professionals’ jobs—one of the organization’s greatest strengths.
“Some of our incredible Direct Support Professionals have spent decades developing relationships with our participants and families. They help our participants enjoy their hobbies, enjoy a full social life, and engage actively with the greater community,” says Hailey. “They support our participants in navigating complex social situations, in managing stress and other difficult emotions, in communicating their feelings and wishes, and in pursuing their personal goals. They empower our participants to live life fully, happily, and as independently as possible.”
She added, “It’s an incredible relief to know that we have community partners like Lendio in our corner who believe that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities deserve to experience the highest quality of life possible … especially through these challenging times.”