Services

Life Enrichment

Life Enrichment

We are committed to excellence in every one of our actions and interactions with the individuals we support.

Welcome

The LES department provides community-based supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in order to increase their community awareness, contribute positively to their community, and develop skills to lead a more independent life.

Independent U

The Independent U Program provides supports for skill-based learning and development through volunteering. Program participants volunteer at more than 70 non-profits through out Lancaster County. Each day, participants volunteer at 2-3 locations and complete a variety of preferred tasks to work on specific areas of interest. Independent U is a great opportunity for people who are preparing for employment service. Volunteering provides the opportunity for participants to experience a typical workplace environment and potentially gain the necessary skills needed for competitive and gainful employment. This program operates Monday through Friday from 8am to 3pm.

Employment First Services

Our trained employment professionals can assess an individual’s interests, desires and skills, seek out the best possible job match, support the individual on the job and assist in establishing natural scaffolding in a way that affords the greatest possibility of success on the job with limited supports. Individual exploration along with community exploration is always at the core of what we are doing when it comes to employment. Excentia is a member of the Association of People Supporting Employment First and are firm believers in advancing integrated employment for people with disabilities.

Adult Day Services

ADULT DAY SERVICES

Individuals may attend on either a full or part-time basis. Supports may include instruction in communication, socialization, cognitive education, motor skills development, daily living skills, pre-vocational training and community orientation.

A wide variety of social and recreational activities are offered in the facility and within the community.

Adults receiving center based supports are assigned to one of four cheerful and spacious group areas.  Individual desires and needs are of paramount importance in the selection of a specific group assignment.  Individuals interact with one another and with their staff in a variety of challenging and interesting activities throughout the course of each day.  Cooking, reading, arts & crafts, science & nature projects, gross motor activities, computer use, and musical events are all options.

Goals and supports are specified in each person’s Individual Supports Plan and carried out daily by staff.  While many activities occur within the group area, there are opportunities to move about and socialize with people in other groups during weekly clubs such as the crowd favorites- Drumming Circle and Reading Circle.  Every individual has opportunities to engage in community outings at least once a month.  Outings are catered to the interests of the individuals and may include arcades, gardening centers, seasonal farm shows, museums, parks, shopping, and eating establishments as well as fitness outings including trips to bowling, roller rinks, and swimming.

OLDER ADULTS

Currently co-located in the Adult Day Services building, the Older Adult Daily Living Center provides supports to individuals with intellectual disabilities aged 60 and over and to younger adults with intellectual disabilities who also have a dementia-related diagnosis. This program is licensed by the PA Department of Aging. Emphasis is placed on socialization and recreational opportunities both in the facility and in the community. Individuals enjoy such activities as Bingo, arts and crafts, exercise, shopping in the community, picnics, walks, yard sales, and many others. Individual Care Plans are developed using a person centered approach which discovers the individual’s wants and desires as well as his or her needs.

Staff is specially trained in the needs of the older individual with intellectual disabilities. Supports are provided for individuals in all phases of personal care and hygiene from minimal assistance and supervision to full support. Individuals attend both full and part time.

Have Questions?

If you have a question and would like to speak with someone at Excentia, please direct your inquiry to one of our Program Champions. Our Program Champions can be reached by phone during their office hours or you can send them an email.

We know that life is complicated. We can figure it out - together.

  • Name: Jeff Kepeck
  • Phone: 717.519.6740 x233
  • Email: jkepeck@ourexcentia.org
  • Hours: 8-4PM

Related Articles

Thad's Story

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Airplanes are something that Thad Schmidt is very familiar with. The 55-year-old Edinboro Circle resident has flown in several airplanes throughout his life. His late father was a smoke jumper in the 1940’s, parachuting onto forest fires in the Montana Rockies, and used to get his friends to give Thad rides.   “Dad was always interested in airplanes,” said Thad’s sister, Joyce Wenger, who has memories of going to the airport with Thad as kids and watching the airplanes take off.   Schmidt sits on the couch, leafing through a Toy Story coloring book. He may be nonverbal, but there’s something in his facial expressions that seem to convey a conversation without saying a word.   That’s how Wenger knew her brother was having the time of his life when they recently chartered a plane from Lancaster Airport.   “He was happy. I know he really enjoyed it,” she said. “He will often fall asleep while he’s riding in a car, but he stayed awake on the plane. He was definitely engaged.”   Gregg Williams, program supervisor for Edinboro Circle, arranged for Thad to take the private plane ride. While he wasn’t sure how Thad was going to react to it, he knew his love of planes was strong enough that he would enjoy it.   “We get close to the airport and he perks up,” Williams said. “He had a blast (flying).”   Schmidt and Wenger flew over Biglerville in Adams County, where they grew up. They got to see the house they used to live in, and fly over apple orchards, Wenger said.   Schmidt has been living in an Excentia group home for about a year. Now that he is in Lancaster, Wenger said she gets to see him more often. While they didn’t have much interaction when she was a young adult, her little brother has always held a special place in her heart and she makes a point to see him about once a week. She said they like to go on walks together and pet all the neighbors’ animals.   “Since he’s moved, it’s been wonderful to visit just with him,” Wenger said, adding that in the past she would visit her brother and her parents at the same time.   Schmidt lived with his parents until about three years ago – his father was 92 and his mother was 86 when he moved out. Wenger takes her mother, who is now 88 years old, to visit Thad weekly.   Getting up in the airplane was like stepping back in time, Wenger said.  Thad seemed to remember all those previous experiences of flying.   “He went right up to the airplane and got right up in it,” she said. “He was never scared. He always enjoyed it.  He sure knew what he was doing.”

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Paula's Story

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Paula Brocious loves horses.   Calming, relaxing, and providing a sense of peace and quiet are all things that her horse, Neptune, provides her.   “(It’s) the best part of my week,” she said, her face lighting up with an infectious smile.   Paula has been taking horse riding lessons every Monday for the past 20 years. She is one of Excentia’s many riders at Greystone Manor Therapeutic Riding Center in Lancaster.   Horseback riding provides numerous benefits to the rider, including cognitive, social and physical benefits, said Heather Mitterer, community outreach coordinator at Greystone.   Learning cause and effect through experiencing how the horse reacts when the rider shifts his weight, or forming an emotional bond with the horse are some of the benefits that riding provides. The horses also allow the riders to build confidence in themselves.   One example is someone with an attention disorder, Mitterer said. The act of riding a horse helps them develop and keep focus.   “They start to understand outside of themselves because there’s a horse that reacts and responds to everything they do,” she said.   Greystone Manor has been operating since 1981 and serves individuals with a documented disability. The non-profit houses 11 horses, all free-leased, and provides indoor and outdoor lessons, Mitterer said. The horses experience a thorough training period to ensure they are ready for riders, she added.   “Our instructors work hand-in-hand with each horse. They’ll try to spook it – everything they can to prepare the horse.  We want a horse who’s not going to panic over every single thing.”   When Greystone is no longer able to use the horse, they give it back to its owner, Mitterer said.   The stable does not utilize therapists with the riders – volunteers and instructors with special training and certifications in equine assisted activities help guide the rider so that they can eventually ride the horse themselves.   “It’s the horses that are doing the therapy,” Mitterer said.   Greystone also offers unmounted clinics, where clients focus on getting to know the horse, learn about safety, and how to care for and groom the horse before they ever mount it.   Karen Weber-Zug, who has been an instructor at Greystone for five years, has some amazing stories about how the horses have helped the riders. One rider, she remembers, had trouble with facial expressions and exhibited a flat affect. After taking lessons at the stable for several years, the 16-year-old now gives verbal responses.   “I’ll never forget the day I asked him if he wanted to go outside and he smiled,” she said.   With another client on the autism spectrum, instructors used the horse to teach the child how to accept change and be more flexible in his daily schedule, Weber-Zug said.   Riding horses is also a great benefit for those who cannot walk because the movement of the horse simulates the feeling of walking, Mitterer said.   “That’s an amazing feeling to know what that feels like,” she said. “You are controlling the horse.”   The specific benefits each rider receives depend on the individual person, Mitterer said.   Riders at Greystone range in age from 5 to 66. At 46, Brocious has achieved the ability to ride Neptune independently. She prefers to ride Neptune outside, if possible, but sometimes rain forces them indoors. When that happens, Brocious said Neptune gets scared, but she reassures him that it’s ok.   “I tell him not to be afraid,” she said.   Amanda Witmer, direct support staff at Excentia, said she likes to watch Brocious ride and see the relationship she has developed with Neptune.   “She’s very affectionate with the horses. She always has to say goodbye to them,” Witmer said.   In fact, Brocious has her own special way of saying goodbye to the horses. Before she dismounts, she guides the horse in a “moonwalk” of walking backwards. Brocious proudly states that she taught the horse how to do that.   “She just loves it. She talks about (riding) all the time,” Witmer said.

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Jillian's Story

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Jillian Leed stands at her stove, stirring a chicken, baked potato and vegetable soup. Just a year ago, this was something she couldn’t do.   The 35-year-old has been living independently in her own apartment for the last two years.   “I like it (here),” she said.   Her one-bedroom apartment on the second floor of her apartment complex is cozy, decorated with pictures of her family and complete with new furniture in the living room that Jillian proudly states she bought recently with her own money.   Jillian has been successful in achieving her dream of living on her own, now working full-time at Good Will on Lincoln Highway, taking public transportation to and from work, and managing her household with help only one day a week. But achieving this success didn’t happen overnight.   Anna Edling, Associate Director/Program Specialist for Residential, said Jillian first expressed an interest in having her own place in 2011. The first step was to find competitive employment, and then teach Jillian the skills she would need to be independent, including laundry, cooking, cleaning, navigating public transportation, and money management.   “It’s a process,” Edling said. “You don’t just say you want to move out and (then) move out the next day.”   After preparing her the best they could, Jillian moved into her apartment two years later in 2013. But even after she was on her own, Edling said they realized there were still skills she had to address. One of the big ones was socialization. When she lived at Frederick Circle, there was always someone to talk to or play a game with. Suddenly, Jillian was all alone. She started peering into her neighbor’s windows, looking for that contact with other people, Edling said.   Staff started role-playing with Jillian, training her in social situations. Since taking the bus to work every day was a major factor in Jillian’s success, staff addressed the safety issues that come along with being in public places all alone. One of the ways they role-played was having staff approach her while she rode the bus, asking her questions like her name and her address to make sure Jillian knew not to give out her personal information to strangers.   That practice has seeped in to her life in other areas beyond the riding the bus.   “No strangers! No strangers come into my apartment,” Jillian said emphatically.   Taking steps to move from a group home into one’s own apartment is a complicated process, Edling said. Many don’t realize all the many skills that are needed to achieve such a goal.   “Think about your everyday life and all the things you do,” Edling said. “All those little skills that we take for granted, she didn’t know how to do. We want her to live an everyday life like the rest of us.”   That includes waking up on time in order to take a shower and get to work, realizing at the end of the day that you didn’t plan for dinner, going to the grocery store, coming home and making dinner … the list goes on, she said.   “There are a huge amount of skills that we take for granted every day and she had to be taught,” Edling said.   For example, when Jillian lived on Frederick Circle, one of her chores was to mop the kitchen floor. As the scheduled was laid out, Jillian only had to mop the floor once every three weeks since her roommates did the other weeks. When Jillian first moved into her apartment, she was only mopping the floor once every three weeks. Edling said she had to remind Jillian that she alone was responsible for that now, so she had to do it every week.   Another skill was cooking, and Jillian seems to have mastered that. She frequently gets up from the couch to go to the stove and check on her soup, stirring it and tasting it. The apartment starts to take on the hearty aroma and warmth of the soup.   “I’m making tacos today,” she says excitedly, a new meal she is learning.   Brandy Inhenyen, program coordinator and staff member assigned to work with Jillian every Thursday when Jillian has off work, said she has been working with Jillian for about a year. Her job now is easy.   “She’s really improved in her cooking skills. She was scared to use the stove when I first started. Now, she does it all herself.” Inhenyen said. “I’m just here to give prompts. She knows what she needs to do.”   Inhenyen said the only thing that Jillian still struggles with is money management. She pulls out a roll of quarters and counts out the $1.50 Jillian needs to do her laundry.   “If I gave you this whole roll of quarters, you’d spend it,” she says to Jillian.   Jillian smiles sheepishly, admitting this to be true, as she takes the quarters and heads downstairs to the laundry room.   “Don’t put too much in,” she reminds herself as she puts her clothes into the washing machine.   Edling and Inhenyen said Jillian has inspired other clients to want to work toward independence. Two other clients have since moved out, but they are receiving help from their families and are no longer getting support from Excentia. Jillian is currently the only Excentia client living on her own.

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