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United Helpers is “growing”

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“We’re Growing.” That’s the message United Helpers’ Mosaic is sending to the north country.

Mosaic is not only expanding, but also providing opportunities for its residents to grow plants and flowers at Basta’s Flower Shop.

Mosaic purchased Basta’s Flower Shop with the intent to create meaningful work experience for people with disabilities.

The new venture will provide opportunities to promote individual choice and community living. The possibilities are multifaceted: there is work available in the floral shop, the greenhouses, landscaping and at various levels, including competitive work and development of prevocational skills.

After just two weeks of being in business, participants are learning how to wash and prepare buckets for flowers and what is involved in caring for plants in a greenhouse.

“Washing the buckets is important,” explained Alan Peabody as he scrubbed a bucket with a brush. “They need to be clean so the flowers stay fresh.”

Alan has learned the meaning of his work after just a few days on the job. He explained his work flow, never missing a beat, grabbing a bucket, scrubbing it thoroughly with a brush and then handing it off to his work-mate, Amanda.

“It’s something new and different. I like it,” said Amanda Thompson. She also takes obvious pride in her work, methodically moving buckets from the wash bin to the drying area. When her drying rack is full she pulls a towel from a nearby hook and starts to towel-dry each bucket. “It’s fun,” she added.

The United Helpers’ Mosaic Day Habilitation program is known throughout St. Lawrence County and the north country region for being creative, adaptive and innovative. In 2012, Mosaic purchased and renovated a 25,000 square foot space to create a positive learning environment, including a library, craft room, resident gym, kitchen, laundry, a large dining room and office spaces. There is also a fitness center that will be used by both staff and residents.

“We have made so many positive changes,” said Mosaic Administrator Michele M. Montroy. “There are so many exciting initiatives coming our way. We look forward to what the future brings.”

The leaders of Mosaic have strived to build strong, experiential programs and they are very enthusiastic about their future in the floral world. What’s next for Mosaic? Well, they’re not saying yet, but one thing is for sure, they’ll be ready for whatever challenges are coming next.

Mosaic, the arm of the United Helpers organization that provides homes and specialized services for people with developmental disabilities, traumatic brain injury, autism and those living with chronic and persistent mental health issues, was created in the early 1980s and has since become the largest provider of services within the United Helpers’ family. Now Mosaic provides services to more than 500 people each day, operating small homes (IRAs & ICFs), a day habilitation program, case management services and a host of other specialized community and home-based services.

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