Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
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Jill Atwood reporting Organizers at South Salt Lake's Columbia Community Center say a unique program for mentally and physically challenged adults happened somewhat by accident.
Unable to work anymore, and with a lot of time on their hands, some fortunate seniors and older adults now have each other.
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Morning exercises get the juices flowing, A jigsaw puzzle wakes up the mind, and a caring staff gives these special adults the attention and companionship they need. "I LIKE ALL THE GIRLS AND BOYS DOWN HERE."
Their ages range from 22 to 94...their disabilities include down syndrome, autism, and cerebral palsy, but workers here say their special needs haven't robbed them of their personalities.
Karen - "I LIKE GOING TO SHOPPING OR STUFF LIKE THAT I LIKE GOING TO LUNCH OR DINNER OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT."
Columbus Community Center has always worked with kids with special needs, but as the years passed workers realized they needed a place for them to go as they got older.
Jackie Haus/Senior Support Supervisor - "THESE ARE JUST FOLKS WHO USED TO COME TO WORK EVERYDAY EITHER OUT IN THE COMMUNITY OR WHATEVER..THEY STILL WANT A PLACE TO GO ITS NOT APPROPRIATE FOR THEM TO SPEND MUCH TIME ALONE..THEY DON'T WANT TO BE ISOLATED."
"WE OFFER BETWEEN THREE AND FOUR ACTIVITIES A DAY..THEY LOVE TO BE OUT IN THE COMMUNITY..THEY LOVE TO GO OUT TO LUNCH...FAVORITE THING."
Judy - "WHAT ELSE??..WALKING...AT THE MALL YEAH AT THE MALL..EVERY LADY LIKES TO GO TO THE MALL RIGHT..YEAH...YOU LIKE TO SHOP..SHOPPING.!!"
A senior support program that has grown from six to 26, so successful other centers are asking questions and wondering what they can do to start their own.
You can read more about this program and the Columbus Community Center in Wednesday's edition of the Deseret News.