Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Martha Lloyd Community Service: Where Family Matters

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Martha Lloyd Community Service: Where Family Matters

Article excerpt

"Home" should be our safe haven where family nurtures us, encourages us to follow our dreams, and loves and respects us for who we are and can become. Finding that nurturing, safe home for adult children with developmental disabilities is one of the greatest challenges parents face. Martha Lloyd Community Services (MLCS) in Troy, Pennsylvania offers individuals a genuine home, complete with an extended, caring family and a welcoming, respectful community that nurtures the ability of the people who live there. At MLCS--family truly matters.

When Martha Lloyd embarked upon her mission to build a residential school with extensive community support and involvement in 1928, she chose the village of Troy, located in the Endless Mountains of north central Pennsylvania, for its natural beauty and its safety. She hoped that area residents would enhance the abilities of her students by including them in the life of their small town, believing the adage "it takes a village to raise a child."

Over the past 75 years, Martha Lloyd Community Services has grown significantly. Currently, MLCS employs 350 staff members who create a home for more than 135 individuals whose primary diagnosis is mental retardation. Vocational training day programs and the on-site senior center support students and adults from 12 surrounding counties and six other states. The roster of programs includes residential housing and day programs, education, vocational training and supports, recreation, medical monitoring, school to work transition supports, respite care, summer camp, employment, senior services and an on-going, inclusive relationship with the residents of Troy.

In short, the Martha Lloyd Community is home.

Finding and keeping appropriate housing, employment and recreational activities for adults with developmental delay is at crisis levels throughout the United States. Waiting lists run in the tens of thousands in many states, with placement done primarily on an emergency basis. While these adults wait for appropriate program placements, they are isolated at home, watching TV, dependent on family members to plan their day. Such a lifestyle results in high levels of frustration, boredom and anxiety for the entire family. This is exactly why families seek the extensive services of Martha Lloyd.

"When Jenny was in her teens and we realized how little support was actually available in our community, we began planning for her future," says Laura Mattingly, of Virginia, Jenny's mother. "Work programs are limited, there are few recreational and social opportunities available on a regular basis. And we wanted Jenny to have a complete life. At MLCS, she has a wonderful life--a better life than she would have here in Fairfax County."

Individualized, blended programs

Days begin early at MLCS and are full of activity. Daily schedules are developed individually, reflecting the ability and the interests of the individual.

"We individualize programming," says Richard MacIntire, President of MLCS, who he has spent 15 years of his 30-year career working with teenagers and adults with special needs at MLCS. "Because we know our residents so well, we can blend our vocational, recreational, and sensory integration programs into each person's daily schedule."

Bettye's daily schedule keeps her more than busy--it keeps her physically and mentally active and fit. Bettye, who has made MLCS home for 36 years, since the age of 15, lives with three other women in MLCS' Lent House, a beautiful Victorian home on Troy's Main Street, just around the corner from the CopperTree Gift Shop where she works.

"I bag the customer's things and answer the phone at CopperTree," Bettye says. But that's only part of what she does. An avid walker, Bettye delivers 200 Penny Savers, a weekly advertising tabloid, throughout Troy's neighborhoods. She has also participated in the Walk for Cystic Fibrosis, covering 6. …

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