As of Friday, April 3, 2015
Opportunity Connections (OC), will celebrate 48 years as an organization providing support services to people with disabilities in the Mid Columbia with an Anniversary Dinner Friday, April 10 at the Mid Columbia Senior Center in The Dalles. The event is open to the public. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the event runs until 7 p.m. with a taco feed, silent auction and raffle items. Tickets are $10 for adults and $ 5 for children 12 and under. Tickets are available at the door.
Besides a chance to catch up with friends at the Anniversary Dinner, Opportunity Connections will honor those businesses, volunteers, and participants that have promoted community integration and support for people with disabilities in the last year. This year, awards will go to Safeway in both Hood River and The Dalles, who have hired people with disabilities, in memory of LeRoy Nickelson, a tireless volunteer at fundraisers; Charlie Hess, a donor supporter of the Art Connect program in The Dalles and the soon to be “The 506 Gallery” at 506 East 2nd St., The Dalles; a client participant, Herbie Schmoker, who volunteers at the WAAAM program in Hood River; and Lisa Woodside, a client participant who reads to the Head Start Program in The Dalles. Each one of these organizations and individuals have advanced community integration for those with intellectual disabilities in multiple ways, from allowing Opportunity Connections staff to work with clients at employment locations to tirelessly supporting the OC mission, “Maximizing Potential for People with Disabilities.”
OC has recently begun to transform its services from a provider of jobs to a finder of community jobs in the Gorge area. While maintaining commercial operations in both The Dalles and Hood River, OC now has added an active employment service for people with disabilities looking for community employment. They also provide Residential services, including both support for people living independently and group home services. The organization generates over $2.4 million into Mid-Columbia businesses through staff wages, renting homes, shopping at stores, buying and leasing vehicles, as well as helping people do some of the fun things that make life enjoyable.
Opportunity Connections is funded through a number of sources, including state Medicaid funding for staffing support, commercial revenue from janitorial, document destruction contracts (Gorge Secure Shred) and some assembly revenue. The majority of fundraising proceeds are used to keep folks out in their own communities.
The organization is a 501 (c)(3) charity and donations may be made to Opportunity Connections, 2940 Thomsen Road, Hood River, Oregon 97031 or on line at the website www.opportunitycon-nections.org.
Information and updates on Opportunity Connections can also be found on Facebook.