WBZ Cares: Adult Participants

BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- Each month, “WBZ Cares” highlights a worthy non-profit organization and tells the story of what that organization does for the community. This month WBZ is profiling Cape Abilities, a non-profit organization that serves individuals with disabilities on Cape Cod by educating, counseling and providing residential, therapeutic, social and employment supports that empower them to achieve meaningful and valued roles in the community.

Founded over 50 years ago as Nauset Workshop serving just four people, now called CapeAbilities, the non-profit serves more than 400 individuals with a wide range of disabilities helping them to live more fulfilling and independent lives on the Cape.

“Imagine if you had been told in your life that you ‘can't do’, or you ‘won't do’, and then suddenly someone says, ‘yes you can and let me show you how’. You can't wait to get here. It's a zoo out here in the morning when the vans pull up, when the cars pull up. They can't wait to get in this building,” said CapeAbilities communications manager Troy Smith.

That’s communications manager Troy Smith. He says as those with disabilities age out of the school system at 21 years old, CapeAbilities is there.

“I empathize completely with the parents who trust us to take care of their young adults or even their aged adults who are now in their 50s and 60s. They trust us to take care of them for the day and to help them to learn in life, not to just come and sit here and be babysat. We put them to work. We're learning today. We're doing things and we're going to change your life. We're going to help you change your life,” stated Smith.

Adult participants are served through a wide range of programs providing things like residential and therapeutic help and employment training.  

“It's very (recommendful) for people, for disabilities and adults, services,” said Jeb Olson, a CapeAbilities employee and participant.

Jeb Olson is 60 years old. He’s been involved with CapeAbilities since the early 1980's and has become quite independent. He now has a job at the CapeAbilities office and he lives on his own. Like most of the participants, CapeAbilities also serves as a social hub for him. 

“I’ve been doing a lot of events here and picnics here and stuff for many years. Parties, socials and functions they do. Meetings and that,” outlined Olson.

“Have you made a lot of friends through CapeAbilities?” Shari Small asked.

“I’ve made friends, yes, through CapeAbilities, for all these years, and it's nice,” replied Olson.

It’s also a favorite hang-out for Lisa Magnuson, a CapeAbilities participant.

“I'm here Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. I play rummy in the morning and afternoons. Sometimes they go to the library or go to the animal shelter or the clean-up on the beach and I love CapeAbilities because I feel like I’m their family and everything,” concluded Magnuson.

WBZ NewsRadio1030's Shari Small Reports

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