Since 2015, KSI has had a remarkable relationship with Milford Senior Center (MSC) as a community inclusion partner. The relationship has benefited the dozens of KSI participants who visit the Center weekly and take part in activities and classes, providing them with meaningful experiences with others in the community. However, it’s also given MSC members an opportunity to have positive interaction with a population with which they otherwise may never have contact.
Milford Senior Center has been serving community members for more than 40 years, offering crucial programs and services to adults over 50 as well as being a partner to numerous other organizations. During the week, Milford Senior Center provides members with daily, fresh breakfasts for free, and only charges nonmembers $4 per breakfast. MSC offers senior social services, including bereavement counseling, religious studies, blood pressure checks, health & wellness services, flu shots and diabetes management information. It provides many educational programs and activities for its members’ physical fitness and recreation. MSC also provides periodic local, regional and even international trips which members can enjoy with each other.
The constant focus for Milford Senior Center is encouraging independent lifestyles for its members while helping them improve their quality of life, connect, share and grow. Those goals are very much in line with what KSI attempts to provide the people with disabilities it serves. KSI became a Center member a few years ago at the beginning of its community inclusion expansion. Participants have enjoyed everything from joining in Laugh Yoga and Tai Chi activities to learning more skills in classes on knitting. They also help Milford Garden Club with plantings at the Senior Center grounds. Being part of the MSC crowd and interacting during daily activities has been very meaningful. It cements their place as fully-participating members in the community around them.
“The community integration is our biggest goal, especially with our participants making relationships and connecting with others in the community,” said KSI Assistant Program Director John Jennings. “Our folks have made a lot of friendships with the Milford Senior Center membership, and that helps us meet our goals well beyond just taking a trip somewhere.”
But along with being on the receiving end, KSI participants are adding their own value to the Milford Senior Center experience. “The smiles, positive attitude, friendliness, loving spirit and willingness to help others are what the KSI participants bring to our Center,” said the Center’s Executive Director Daphne Bumbrey. “Our other members have embraced the KSI members. And I see it by the smiles the members show when they come into KSI participants’ presence.”
Having welcomed KSI participants with open arms, Milford Senior Center’s members have contributed much to help individuals go further in their community lives. “It’s exciting to see the relationships being formed at the Center between members and our participants,” shared Mr. Jennings. “One woman made a photo album of times with KSI folks. They started a knitting club just for us. The membership is very connected to our participants.”
Milford Senior Center’s management and membership created a supportive and accepting environment that’s led to many opportunities for KSI participants’ growth. And KSI seeks other organizations interested in exploring partnerships to help people with disabilities find full community inclusion like they did at MSC. Those interested can contact KSI directly at 302-422-4014.