Opportunities Unlimited for People With Differing Abilities was founded and incorporated as a non-profit in 1996. Its mission then as it is now is to support people with differing abilities to lead rich and fulfilling lives.
The founders of the agency identified an underserved population within the service system – individuals who present with behavioral and emotional difficulties as well as an intellectual disability. Our supports, services and models of care were built around each individual’s unique needs/dreams and hopes and this model has continued to this day. Person centered planning has always been what drives the services and supports offered to each individual. Our growth as an agency has been slow and deliberate based on the needs/goals/dreams of individuals requesting supports and services from the agency.
Our approach of addressing an individual’s needs, goals and dreams has been the foundation for our growth. Each of our current eleven 24-hour supported homes/apartments have developed from specific needs of each individual and are located in various communities often times in the individual’s own home community. Services and supports to individuals living independently or with family were and continue to be available as requested.
In 1999, in response to the needs of one individual residing in one of the homes operated by the agency, we began providing community based day services – not site based, not groups and not work oriented. A radically different approach to day services in 1999. Day services continue to be community based, individualized and focused on celebrating the unique and diverse interests and talents of each individual. In 2008, in response to a request for employment supports, the agency became certified as an ORS (Office of Rehabilitative Services) vendor.
In 2013 in response to the growing need for affordable housing, this agency applied for and received HUD funding to develop a former group home in Wakefield into 6 units of housing. While we addressed the hesitancy of some neighbors towards the project, the funding was transferred to a property in Pawtucket taking a vacant 6 unit building and turning it into affordable housing for people with differing abilities. The first tenants moved in during 2015. In fall of 2016, the Wakefield project was finally completed and 6 units of additional housing for people with differing abilities became a reality. Opportunities Unlimited is the landlord but does not provide support services in these locations allowing individuals to seek services wherever they desire.
Opportunities Unlimited has throughout its history believed in the value of cooperation, communication and collaboration. We value our partnerships with other organizations, State departments, community and families/guardians and advocates. We have encouraged and supported the development of leadership skills by the individuals receiving supports from the agency. And since our founding, 14 individuals have completed the year-long leadership program offered by Advocates in Action. Using skills learned, individuals have served and continue to serve on the agency’s Board of Directors and Human Rights Committee.
As we remain responsive to the needs, dreams, goals of the individuals we support, we as an organization are continuously changing and adapting our services. The needs, dreams, goals of those we support will always drive what it is we do and the implementation of our mission – SUPPORTING PEOPLE TO LEAD RICH AND FULFILLING LIVES!