MILLBURY, Mass. - Horace Mann Educational Associates (HMEA) is building a large day-care facility for adults with disabilities on Latti Farm Road. HMEA serves people with developmental disabilities such as Down Syndrome or Autism in 110 communities in Massachusetts.
Now Millbury will be on the list as providing services.
HMEA President Mike Moloney was at the construction site recently with the eventual facility manager Kevin Salera and spoke about what HMEA is and what they do.
"Our youngest child we service with Autism is a year of age and the oldest person, in Attleboro, is 95. What we do is help families with children with disabilities such as Autism," Moloney said.
"As people get older we help them get jobs, we help them live in the community. HMEA has over 25 group homes in different parts of the state. And finally, as people with disabilities get older, we help families care for them at home. Instead of being institutionalized, they're surrounded by families and people who love them."
In Millbury, Moloney and HMEA are entering into a partnership with the town. They will provide services for 120 people at the facility and help them find jobs, and 60 people from the surrounding area will also be hired as staff to help the place function and grow.
In addition to their normal employment program, HMEA will be offering what Moloney calls a "Day-abilitation Program" where they will provide therapies for those who suffer from Cerebral Palsy and other physical ailments. There will be speech therapists, nurses and different specialties on hand. Those people will volunteer in the community.
"One of the things HMEA does is deliver 140,000 Meals on Wheels every year across the state to elderly folks," Moloney said. "Its a beautiful thing. We have people with disabilities helping the elderly, volunteering at animal shelters and things like that."
Another area that the facility will be in a partnership with the community is the redemption center. At the HMEA Plainville location, they recycle over 4 million bottles and cans per year. It is not only a "green-community" activity, but youth groups such as the Boy Scouts and civic action groups can come to the faciltiy to run their can and bottle drives.
"It is a win-win situation. Groups can come in with their cans and bottles, people with disabilities will take the cans and you will leave with a check. It's a really good deal for everyone and we're really pumped up about this location and operation," he said.
The location is still in early phases of construction, but things should start progressing quickly and the site should be open by the beginning of October.
Moloney also spoke about the 13th Annual Walk/Run For Independence, a 5K road race and walk that raises money for the organization and helps run all the programs that they provide.
"On May 20th, we're going to have our annual day at EMC facilities fields in Franklin. Our goal this year is $175,000 and every single nickle donated goes to support kids with Autism and people with disabilities.
Every year the crowd grows and this year Moloney said he expects over 2,000 people to attend. "We have races for kids, a road race, lots of fun activities for kids, free food and drinks. Gene Lavanchy from Fox 25 will once again be the host and MC for the day and we'll be honoring our veterans again as its so close to Memorial Day. It is a fun-filled day for the entire family and should be a blast."
For more information about HMEA and what they do see their website: