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Pioneer Center hires inclusion manager

Published: Sunday, April 20, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

McHENRY – Pioneer Center for Human Services recently hired Heidi Jenkins as its community inclusion manager.

When Jenkins joined the team in January, she took the lead in implementing a new service model – The Guthrie Legacy Project of Community Inclusion, according to a news release from the nonprofit organization.

“When I first heard about Pioneer Center’s community inclusion initiative, I was very impressed with the enthusiasm driving this program,” Jenkins said. “I was drawn to being able to work with Pioneer Center staff, clients and the community as a whole to change the way we are delivering services and impacting the quality of life for the clients.”

This shift in philosophy and service delivery helps Pioneer Center bridge the gap between the clients it serves and the community around them.

For the average person, activities such shopping for clothes by yourself, seeing a movie with friends or taking the bus to the library by yourself are everyday experiences. But for people with mental illness or developmental disabilities, they are challenges. Community inclusion gives Pioneer Center clients the opportunity to develop social skills, relaxation skills and hobbies to take the needed steps to integrate into the community.

Jenkins is developing a scholarship program designed to provide financial assistance for clients to access community resources. She also has formed a community inclusion advisory panel composed of community members.

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