Volunteers Support a Number of Projects for Opportunity Enterprises

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Community News & People in the News

Published on August 20, 2021 with No Comments

Side view of the patio with new flowers for OE clients to enjoy.

The mission of Opportunity Enterprises (OE) is to maximize self-sufficiency and enrich the quality of life for individuals with disabilities. Through the provision of a number of programs including, but not limited to, residential, respite, curriculum-based day programs, transportation, daily living skills, employment and job coaching, OE relies on the generosity of others, like volunteers, who help bring the mission to life.

“Our volunteers are such valuable partners,” states Julie McKean, senior director of facilities, safety and compliance. “Opportunity Enterprises serves individuals with disabilities throughout Northwest Indiana. With facilities in Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties, OE maintains over 170 acres and over 132,000 square feet of space in 16 different properties and supports programs and services through another 12 leased properties. Like you and me, our clients are proud of their homes and take pride when projects are completed to beautify or improve their living spaces. We have a small but dedicated facilities team who more than appreciates when individuals and outside groups offer their support to ensure our properties are in the best condition.”

Finished Patio from afar with new landscaped tree border

First Merchants Bank, Edge Youth Group, and Barton Malow recently offered their volunteer service by completing several projects. A team from First Merchants Bank, led by the current board chair, John Freyek, brought their handiwork to life beautifying and landscaping OE’s respite home in Merrillville. Cutting back bushes, re-landscaping areas of the home, and spreading fresh mulch were some of the activities this group completed. The Edge Youth group offered similar services for the Annabelle group home located in Valparaiso. Young teens and their parents, coordinated by group leader, Cathie Dull (OE’s Volunteer of the Year), re-energized the outdoor space and lawn of this home. The group enjoyed this project so much, they have adopted the Annabelle home to support any future projects needed by this property.

Barton Malow took on a large project for OE’s Airport group home located in Portage. Not only landscaping the property of this group home, Barton Malow and over 20 of its team members built a new concrete patio space making it more accessible for the client residents that live in this home to use and enjoy. To complete the project, Barney Family Foundation is funding the purchase of outdoor furniture for the newly renovated space. This project is part of Barton Malow’s “Community Week” in which the company’s various office locations offer their volunteer service and select a project to complete. Will Price of Barton Malow’s Portage location encouraged his teammates to select Opportunity Enterprises for their “Community Week” project.  

From Left to Right: Drew Zromboski, Tami Pae, John Freyek who is current Board Chair for Opportunity Enterprises, Jon Schiesser, Scot Kokandy, Stephanie Madison, and Alayana Knarian

“My sister-in-law, Christine, is a client of Opportunity Enterprises. I know, firsthand, what this organization does for its clients and families. I was happy to suggest OE as our team’s project for our caring week,” states Price.

In addition to enlisting Barton Malow team members to help with the patio project, Price engaged Herc to provide equipment needed to build the patio and Ozinga to supply the concrete in-kind. “I am completely amazed by the magnitude of help provided by Barton Malow and all the groups that dedicate their time and supplies to ensure we are providing the best of all possibilities to our clients. We do what we do because of the generosity of others,” McKean exclaims. To learn more about OE or to support the organization by volunteering or making a gift, call 219- 464-9621, or visit oppent.org

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First Merchants 1: From Left to Right: Drew Zromboski, Tami Pae, John Freyek who is current Board Chair for Opportunity Enterprises, Jon Schiesser, Scot Kokandy, Stephanie Madison, and Alayana Knarian

Edge 1: Front Row From Left to Right: Sam Dull, Charlotte Sterling, Mr. Sterling, Mitchell Sterling; Back Row from Left to Right: John Clements, Madeline Clements, Marissa Clements, Madelynn Stillman, Molly Page, Lori Page, Margaux Fortney, Sophie Clements, William Torres, Emmanuel Anthony, and Cathie Dull

Barton Malow 1 – Patio Project with Volunteers: From Left to Right: Henry Ryan, Ron Uylaki, Alejandro Hernandez, Tabitha Widen, Katelyn Mathas, John Jimenez, Chris McMillan, Amy Ross, Carla Spencer, James Faroh, and Will Price

Barton Malow Project 2: Finished Patio from afar with new landscaped tree border

Barton Malow Project 3: Side view of the patio with new flowers for OE clients to enjoy.

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