Read our Newsletter:

May 2017

April 2017

Opportunity Enterprises Continues Yearlong 50th Anniversary Festivities with Free “Summer Celebration” Community Event

VALPARAISO, IN – Opportunity Enterprises continues its yearlong celebration of 50 Years of Service with “Summer Celebration.” Join OE clients and their families, staff, and the community for a free night of fun at Urschel Pavilion in downtown Valparaiso, June 28 from 5:30-8:30 pm.

The event will feature free Interactive Activities, Ice Cream, Selfie Station, Time Capsule, DJ & Dancing. Birky Family Farms food truck will also be on site selling food and beverages. The event is sponsored in part by Valpo Parks, Birky Family Farms, Valpo Velvet, 27 Entertainment, and Coastal Valley.

Guests attending the event are invited to share in writing well-wishes and prognostications for what the next 50 years of OE might look like to be placed in a time capsule. In addition, there will be fun stations to play bags, parachute games, take selfies, and a make and take craft.

Attendees can help kick off the #OEis50 video campaign. A highlight of the event will be a DJ and dancing. The event will take place rain or shine under the Urschel Pavilion at Central Park.

“Sharing this event with the community is important because without the support of the community, OE would not be able to serve our amazing clients in the way we do,” said CEO Ellen DeMartinis.”This is our way of thanking this amazing community.”

For more information, contact Amy Wulf at 219.464.9621 x333 or amy.wulf@oppent.org.

 

The Power of Potential Showcased in Amazing Clients and Volunteers of Opportunity Enterprises

Valparaiso, IN – The Power of Potential, what it means to be believed in, the impact of finding success. How important is your future? Join Opportunity Enterprises and host Jerry Davich on June 8, 2017 at 8 am at Aberdeen Manor to understand just how much power lies in potential and beyond to what’s possible.

Opportunity Enterprises annual Celebration of Achievement event showcases clients, volunteers and staff who have gone beyond their potential to realize new possibilities. Clients and caregivers share stories of how much impact meeting one goal after the next for an entire year, or lifetime, has on them and those they love.

The 2017 honorees include:

  • Max Danko, Business Services Client of the Year
  • Jennifer Niewinski, Daily Living Skills Client of the Year
  • Dan Michalak, Enriching Possibilities Client of the Year
  • Austin Blackman, JobSource Client of the Year
  • Nancy Adams, Quest Client of the Year
  • Linda Long, Renewed Horizons Client of the Year
  • Christopher Runnion, Jeanne Baird Volunteer of the Year
  • Christie Thomas, Jessica Wolfe Direct Support Professional of the Year
  • Oak Partners, Business Partner of the Year

The Power of Potential will be held June 8, 2017 at Aberdeen Manor in Valparaiso. Guest check-in begins at 8:00 am with a coffee and juice bar along with shopping the Simply Amazing Market set up on-site. The program, hosted by region author and journalist, Jerry Davich, will begin at 8:30 am.

Tickets for the event are $20 each or tables of 8 are $150. They can be purchased online at www.oppent.org/coa17 or by calling Amy Wulf at Opportunity Enterprises at 219-464-9621 ext 333.

Your voice still needs to be heard!

Thank you for reaching out, the DSP wage increase has passed both the House and Senate. However, due to differences in language, it is now in Conference Committee. Please continue to contact your Senators and Representatives to support this important legislation. If it passes out of Conference Committee it will again go before the full House and Senate before being presented to the Governor. Please continue to reach out on behalf of these Amazing People who serve our Amazing Clients each and every day. Your voice IS being heard!

House Switchboard: 800-382-9842

Senate Switchboard: 800-382-9467

Extra Easter Shopping Hours at Simply Amazing Market

VALPARAISO, IN – Simply Amazing Market, the retail arm of Opportunity Enterprises, will be open extra hours on Saturday, April 15 for patrons’ last minute Easter shopping needs. Simply Amazing Market specializes in multiple flavors of popcorn in small and large tubs, fudge pounds and samples, individually packaged candies, ceramic gift ware and visual art. Each purchase makes a difference in the life of an OE client by providing meaningful work and enrichment opportunities for adults with disabilities.

Simply Amazing Market is located on the Opportunity Enterprises campus at 2801 Evans Avenue in Valparaiso on the north side of the building facing Silhavy Road. The market will be open 10am-3pm on Saturday, April 15 for shoppers’ convenience. Gift bagging is available. For more information please contact the Simply Amazing Market at 219-464-2670

Support HB1001 for DSP Wage Increase

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Ellen DeMartinis, CEO Opportunity Enterprises
219-464-9621 ext 248, ellen.demartinis@oppent.org
Date: March 16, 2017

EDITORIAL: SUPPORT HB1001 FOR DIRECT SUPPORT PROFESSIONAL WAGE INCREASE

Valparaiso, IN – Last week, members of the Indiana House of Representatives approved HB1001, the state’s biennial budget bill which includes provision for an increase to Direct Support Professionals (DSP) wages. This week, it is being discussed in Senate committees. Please contact your state senator to voice your support for leaving DSP wage increases in the budget bill. Direct Support Professionals are those that provide close personal care for our clients. They are the ones who feed, bathe, and otherwise provide an opportunity for those with the most severe disabilities to live outside of parent’s homes. They are the ones who allow families a momentary respite from caring for their loved ones to care for themselves or go to work.

DSPs are the front-line caregivers for Opportunity Enterprises, and other organizations like ours. Their work is physically and emotionally draining and therefore, we see the largest turnover in staffing DSPs. DSP wages, or Medicaid reimbursement for such services, has not effectively had an increase since 2008. Isn’t it time we show our appreciation with financial remuneration for these DSPs, the heroes of our industry.

Current DSP wages are fractionally above the federal poverty level for a family of three and are only 33% of the Indiana median family income. The proposed wage increase would provide $1700 more to each DSP. It is estimated that $4.16 of new local economic activity is generated with each new dollar of investment. This is part of a $10 million investment by the state of Indiana that will leverage $20 million in matching funds from the federal government.

Please contact Senator Ed Charbonneau at 800-382-9467 or Senator.Charbonneau@iga.in.gov or Senator Karen Tallian at 317-232-9847 or s4@in.gov to voice your support for leaving DSP wage increases in the budget bill. For more information on how to advocate, see www.oppent.org/get-involved/advocacy.

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 OPPORTUNITY ENTERPRISES WORKS TO MAXIMIZE SELF-SUFFICIENCY AND ENRICH THE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES. CELEBRATING 50 YEARS IN 2017, OE IS IN THE BUSINESS OF AMAZING PEOPLE, SERVING NEARLY 1,000 PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES IN NORTHWEST INDIANA WITH OVER 450 STAFF AND HUNDREDS OF VOLUNTEERS.

A Golden Opportunity Raises over $340,000 for Opportunity Enterprises

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Kacie Ensign, Opportunity Enterprises,
219-464-9621 ext 244, kacie.ensign@oppent.org
Date: March 13, 2017

A Golden Opportunity Raises Over $340,000 for Opportunity Enterprises

Valparaiso, IN – Tears coupled with laughs and tuxes and tickets to sporting and arts events set the stage for A Golden Opportunity, the 25th Annual Gala in honor of 50 years of service for Opportunity Enterprises, presented by Delta Theta Tau. Classic gold décor marked the 50 years and contemporary items including a gorgeous white gold and blue topaz necklace raffle prize, Chicago Cubs ring ceremony tickets, high end grill and accessories, and a variety of experiences completed the evening. 560 people attended the 25th Annual Gala held at the Stardust Events Center at Blue Chip Casino on Saturday night. “This is one of the premier nonprofit events in Northwest Indiana. We attend every year and wouldn’t miss sharing this fun event with our friends in support of all the great things OE does,” said Violet Sistovaris.

This year’s gala raised $340,810, 20% more than last year. Delta Theta Tau President Andrea Colson remarked, “In the 25 years that Delta Theta Tau has presented the OE gala, over $2 million has been raised to support individuals with disabilities.” OE Board President, Lori Moulton thanked the sponsors that made the event possible: M&S Collision, Porter Regional Hospital, INTouch Pharmaceuticals, BMO Harris Bank, Chester Inc, Lakeshore Bone and Joint, NIPSCO, Precision Control Systems, Steel City Steels Inc, The Burnell Family, The Howie Family, The Misch Family, The Times Media Company, White Lodging Services and many others including Alberts Jewelers who generously provided the raffle prize.

Opportunity Enterprises CEO Ellen DeMartinis spoke to the importance of the event, “One day of providing educational, employment, social, and enrichment opportunities to just one client requires $21 in donor dollars. OE serves nearly 1,000 individuals with disabilities each year. This event is key to connecting donors to our mission and showcasing just how important they are to accomplishing our mission.”

Several OE clients were featured in the stories and events of the night including live painting, video trailer, and 50th anniversary video storybook. Board member Mark Ruiz told a heartwarming story of how important OE is to his family and as a result, a Fund the Need paddle raise totaling $83,650 was realized.

To be added to the 2018 OE Gala guest list please contact Events Coordinator Amy Wulf at amy.wulf@oppent.org or 219-464-9621 ext 333.

 

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OPPORTUNITY ENTERPRISES WORKS TO MAXIMIZE SELF-SUFFICIENCY AND ENRICH THE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES. CELEBRATING 50 YEARS IN 2017, OE IS IN THE BUSINESS OF AMAZING PEOPLE, SERVING NEARLY 1,000 PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES IN NORTHWEST INDIANA WITH OVER 450 STAFF AND HUNDREDS OF VOLUNTEERS.

Disabilities Awareness Month Free Public Event: OE in Focus

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Kacie Ensign, Opportunity Enterprises,
219-464-9621 ext 244, kacie.ensign@oppent.org
Date: March 3, 2017

HOW DO YOU INTERACT WITH PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES? DISABILITIES AWARENESS MONTH FREE PUBLIC EVENT: OE IN FOCUS

Valparaiso, IN – March is designated as Disabilities Awareness Month. Opportunity Enterprises, an agency dedicated to maximizing self-sufficiency and enriching the quality of life for individuals with disabilities, is proud to serve these Amazing people. In order to help the public understand how to interact with individuals with disabilities, a free public event will be held Thursday, March 16 from 5:30 – 6:30 pm at OE’s Main facility on the corner of Evans Avenue and Silhavy Road in Valparaiso. Guests will gain understanding into the world of disabilities through learning about different physical and mental disabilities and diagnoses, asking questions, learning how to communicate well, and discover all the ways Opportunity Enterprises serves their clients.

Did you know that one in every eight people in the U.S. has a disability? Of those, the most common are ambulatory, cognitive, and hearing disabilities. In Indiana, the prevalence of disabilities is slightly higher. Opportunity Enterprises serves nearly 1,000 people with disabilities in Northwest Indiana.

“OE in Focus is a great opportunity to learn more about interacting with people with disabilities, communicating with them, and understanding their challenges,” said Kirstin Krenz, Training Director. “OE in Focus is a short introduction to disabilities and to Opportunity Enterprises as a whole.” Attendees to this free public event should RSVP their attendance to Julie McKean at 219-464-9621ext. 226 or julie.mckean@oppent.org. Opportunity Enterprises is located at 2801 Evans Avenue, Valparaiso. Guests should enter at Door 2.

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OPPORTUNITY ENTERPRISES WORKS TO MAXIMIZE SELF-SUFFICIENCY AND ENRICH THE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES. CELEBRATING 50 YEARS IN 2017, OE IS IN THE BUSINESS OF AMAZING PEOPLE, SERVING NEARLY 1,000 PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES IN NORTHWEST INDIANA WITH OVER 450 STAFF AND HUNDREDS OF VOLUNTEERS. OPPORTUNITY ENTERPRISES IS A UNITED WAY AGENCY.

Opportunity Enterprises Announces Closure of Marathon Training Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Kacie Ensign, Opportunity Enterprises,
219-464-9621 ext 244, kacie.ensign@oppent.org
Date: February 17, 2017

OPPORTUNITY ENTERPRISES ANNOUNCES CLOSURE OF MARATHON TRAINING PROGRAM

Valparaiso, IN – Opportunity Enterprises announced today that it would no longer provide marathon training services to runners. In the past, runners interested in training for the Valpo Half-Marathon, Chicago Marathon or the Indy Monumental Marathon, could take advantage of certified training programs provided by Opportunity Enterprises in exchange for fundraising for the organization.

“At its peak, there were over 500 runners participating, this number has continued to decrease,” said Kacie Ensign, OE Development Director. Ensign continued, “We recognize that there are many great options for runners and have come to the decision to step away from this program. We will be forever grateful for the support that the running community has shown the clients of OE. ”

Over its nearly twenty year existence, the OE Running Team raised more than $3 million in support of the clients of Opportunity Enterprises. The mission of Opportunity Enterprises is to maximize self-sufficiency and enrich the quality of life for individuals with disabilities. OE is celebrating 50 years of service in 2017.

In celebration of all that the OE Runners, Marathon Training, and like programs have done to support the mission of Opportunity Enterprises, a Celebration Fun Run and Breakfast will be held on April 15th at 8:00am at Opportunity Enterprises, 2801 Evans Ave, Valparaiso, IN 46383 for everyone who has even been a part of this program.

Please RSVP for the Celebration Breakfast by April 7th to Amy Wulf at amy.wulf@oppent.org or 219-464-9621 ext.333. Additional questions can be directed to Kacie Ensign, Development Director, at 219-464-9621 ext. 244 or kacie.ensign@oppent.org.

 

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OPPORTUNITY ENTERPRISES WORKS TO MAXIMIZE SELF-SUFFICIENCY AND ENRICH THE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES. CELEBRATING 50 YEARS IN 2017, OE IS IN THE BUSINESS OF AMAZING PEOPLE, SERVING NEARLY 1,000 PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES IN NORTHWEST INDIANA WITH OVER 450 STAFF AND HUNDREDS OF VOLUNTEERS.