Sweet 16: Puzzle Pieces

Red Pixel Studios is donating a Web site to an Owensboro-area non-profit organization, in celebration of our Sweet 16 – our 16th year of business. The winner of the Sweet 16 Award will be determined by Facebook users through three rounds of voting starting March 12 and ending April 3. 

Below is information about one of the eligible organizations.


Organization Name

Puzzle Pieces

Year Founded

2012

Mission

Puzzle Pieces is an activity day center serving individuals 8 years and up, with intellectual disabilities.  Our mission is to provide a safe environment for individuals with intellectual disabilities and promote independence, life skills, community access and involvement, social interaction, communication, self-worth and build trusting relationships between clients, staff, and families. Through our programs, we meet the individual needs of the clients we serve with a person-centered approach while incorporating a social atmosphere with opportunities to access the community. 

Accomplishments

Puzzle Pieces has been in operation since September 4, 2012. Since opening, we have been blessed with wonderful community support that has helped us to achieve more than we ever imagined from 7,243 documented volunteers hours, $384,818 grant dollars donated, $223,182 fundraising dollars raised, and the most important 126 clients with special needs serviced through our programming. We have developed a 7-member board of directors that are not only reputable in our community, but come with expertise to help Puzzle Pieces continue to expand and grow services.

Puzzle Pieces was granted the Impact 100 grant in October 2013, which allowed us to improve our programming and upgrade our current facility to be safer for the clients, more disability accessible which then enabled us to provide services more effectively. We opened our facility with 32 clients, and currently serving 78 active clients and average a new client a month. Of the 78 clients, 23 of them have been attending our services since opening day. The growth and success has been amazing. On August 15, 2016 we opened our second location (The Center Piece), which is designed to serve as a training center for adults with intellectual disabilities. We are currently serving 32 clients at that center. The skills the clients are working supports transition into independent living and job-world. We receive daily phone calls reaching out to us to learn more about Puzzle Pieces and our services. This confirms to us that we are indeed meeting a great need in our community.

Puzzle Pieces achieved one of our long-term goals when we received our certification as a Supportive Community Living Agency Provider in May 2015; therefore, we are approved and regulated by the Kentucky Medicaid DDID waiver program. This allows our agency to be reimbursed for services, which in return ensures our agency is sustainable.

Puzzle Pieces also went from eight total staff (3 full-time, and 5 part-time) to 38 staff (17 full-time, 21 part-time, during the summer program part-time increases to 35). Of the 38 staff, 28 of them have been working with Puzzle Pieces for over 2 years. Our dedicated and passionate staff is a “piece” of what has made Puzzle Pieces what it is today and many have supported our fundraisers, meetings, and given client support outside of their work hours. Not to mention we have established a training ground as most of the employees are college students working on degrees in Psychology, Special Education, Nursing, or Early Childhood education and four have graduated with teaching degrees.

Challenges

The challenges our organization faces is operational funding to support salaries of individuals in the administration roles, so therefore our administration’s duties are that of 5-6 people. We currently have 5 administration staff within the 2 facilities, and finding the time to spend towards website production, social media, community awareness, etc can be challenging at times.

Anything Else?

Puzzle Pieces is grateful for contests like these, grants, and our community for always giving back to local organizations like us to make a difference. When the community rallies together for what may appear to be little things (like a website) to give to a non-profit organization it could make the biggest impact on the services they provide.