WICHITA – When Max Gordon graduated from Chisholm Life Skills Center 10 years ago, his family had to decide what came next for them.
Addressing Max’s intellectual disabilities was part of the decision, but as caregivers, his parents Gene and Arlene, needed support to be able to continue working. Like all parents, they also sought a little time of their own – and Max wanted to find a place that gave his life a special sense of purpose.
So, they made a checklist. “We created a list of 15 qualifications and expectations, and we visited nine different facilities,” said Arlene.
After that, they made their decision. “Adult Day Services was the most accessible and the friendliest,” she said. “The hot, healthy meals it provides were also very important in our choice.”
Max decided to approach what he now calls ‘his program’ as a job. He has learned responsibility and ways to contribute daily. For Adult Day Services clients, having a daily plan and routine is essential. But, it also leaves plenty of time for fun, bonding as a group, and for outings.
Max loves word searches and playing the card game, Uno. As an avid weather fan he studies and shares daily reports.
“We believe life needs to be fun, and we want that for Max,” said Gene.
Max, now 31, was one of 10 clients to move in May of 2016 to Adult Day Services’ second location at Central and Ridge Road in the Crossroads Shopping Center. At first, he was hesitant about the change but staff were sensitive to his tentativeness and spent months preparing the group.
Each room was named, and Max said he was thrilled with his assignment of the Blue River Room. “I’m in the blue room’s Blue River Crew, and blue is my favorite color!”
Arlene said this year of celebrating the one-year anniversary and Max’s 10 years at Adult Day Services is special for all three of them. “It proved to Max that change can be good,” she said.
In appreciation for how Adult Day Services has strengthened their family, Gene and Arlene, both now retired, give back regularly by volunteering and advocating for Catholic Charities. Skilled in baking treats from her second grade teaching days, Arlene keeps staff and clients well fed. She’s even baked cookies for other businesses in the shopping center.
“The Gordon family shares a special connection, and they share themselves with us,” said program director Dana Bond. “Sharing those gifts makes the whole community strong.”
Arlene believes it’s the smiles, the joy, the happiness, and the appreciation from the clients and staff that make it all worthwhile. “You can’t help but feel rewarded and blessed.