Avedis awards $500,000 grant to SCI

·2 min read
Shown, from left, are Tracy Meeuwsen, Avedis Foundation program director; Dr. Steve Trotter, Avedis board member; SCI Executive Director Tina Hanna; Avedis President and CEO Dr. Kathy Laster; 
Josh L. Trimble, Avedis board member; and 
Audrey Seeliger, Avedis' external relations-special events director.
Shown, from left, are Tracy Meeuwsen, Avedis Foundation program director; Dr. Steve Trotter, Avedis board member; SCI Executive Director Tina Hanna; Avedis President and CEO Dr. Kathy Laster; Josh L. Trimble, Avedis board member; and Audrey Seeliger, Avedis' external relations-special events director.

The Avedis Foundation has just announced its award of a grant for $500,000 to South Central Industries (SCI) to be used toward a community revitalization initiative.

Founded in 1981, SCI provides vocational training to individuals with developmental disabilities and has been pivotal in Pottawatomie, Seminole and Lincoln counties, but specifically in the Shawnee area, in meeting the needs of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) through staff-intensive vocational and residential programming.

The initiative is investing in renovations to dilapidated structures by repurposing for collaborative meeting space, gardening and parklet space, new ADA housing, an Adult Day center and vocational opportunities to include retail shopping and warehousing.

“The Avedis Foundation is honored and pleased to fund this lead gift making an impact in the community,” Avedis Foundation President and CEO Dr. Kathy Laster said. “Tina Hanna, along with the board of directors and staff at South Central Industries, go beyond meeting the needs of adults with intellectual and development disabilities.”

They also provide a first-class culture, nurturing their clients with respect and love, she said.

“This project will bring quality of life to so many while contributing to the infrastructure of the downtown Shawnee area,” she said.

The plan benefits the community with job creation, affordable housing and inclusion for adults with developmental disabilities, SCI Executive Director Tina Hanna said.

“We are overwhelmed by the support from the Avedis Foundation,” she said. “This partnership is important to the vitality of the Better Together Project.”

Programs within the Better Together Initiative are designed for those with and without disabilities.

Focus areas include providing training, respite and resources for families caring for an individual with intellectual and developmental disabilities; a collaborative parklet and community garden to advance plant-based meals and training in agricultural services; expanded vocational opportunities in retail shopping to include an adaptive equipped warehouse, a home goods store and an ice cream parlor; ADA equipped housing with assisted living staff and an Adult Day program to provide daily care for senior adults with and without disabilities.

The grant will hopefully help SCI leverage additional funding for this revitalization plan, Hanna said.

Neighbors, community leaders, foundations, donors and investors are invited to join the Avedis Foundation with the community revitalization initiative.

For story ideas, questions or concerns, reporter Vicky O. Misa can be reached at vicky.misa@news-star.com.

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This article originally appeared on The Shawnee News-Star: Avedis Foundation grants SCI $50,000 for new initiative

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