VISIT US: 157 South Havana Road Venice, FL 34292 CONTACT US: 941.493.0016

Press Releases

[spoiler title=”Loveland Center Joins Broad Effort to Observe National Disability Employment Awareness Month” style=”2″ open=”true”]

Venice, FL — (September 30, 2014) — Today, Loveland Center announced its participation in National Disability Employment Awareness Month, an annual awareness campaign that takes place each October. The purpose of National Disability Employment Awareness Month is to educate about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities.

The history of National Disability Employment Awareness Month traces back to 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1962, the word “physically” was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

“We all have a role to play in — and benefit to gain from — increasing opportunities for meaningful employment for people with disabilities. This year’s theme encapsulates this in three powerful words. It conveys that advancing disability employment is about much more than just hiring. It’s about creating a continuum of inclusion. And the first step on this continuum is expectation,” said Kathy Martinez, assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy when announcing this year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month theme, which is “Expect. Employ. Empower.”

“Loveland Center is proud to be a part of this year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month,” said Chris Meyer, Community Opportunities Manager. “We want to spread the important message that a strong workforce is one inclusive of the skills and talents of all individuals, including individuals with disabilities.”

Local businesses are encouraged to contact Loveland Center with potential job openings to see if a Loveland student can fill the position and become a valuable member of their team. To become a Loveland Center employer or to learn more about this program, contact Chris Meyer, Community Opportunities Manager at cmeyer@lovelandcenter.com or 941.493.0016.

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Loveland Center was established in 1962 by a group of parents who sought to provide a productive and safe place for adults with developmental disabilities. Loveland Center, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that provides educational programs and work force training for individuals with developmental disabilities.

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[spoiler title=”Loveland Center Seeks Local Business Partnerships For Employment Program” style=”2″ open=”true”]

Supported employment works to provide valuable experiences to our individuals and jobs where they earn their own money and greater independence.

Venice, FL (July 31, 2014) – Earning a living is one of the most important ways for a person to gain independence. Loveland Center’s Community Opportunities Program assists individuals with developmental disabilities in being successfully employed in a competitive workplace. This is accomplished with an array of services including career counseling, vocational profile development, situational assessment, job development, placement and on the job training.
Chris Meyer, Community Opportunities Manager, has one goal in mind: Expand the program by creating more valuable partnerships with local businesses. Currently, the program serves 21 individuals, with dozens more Loveland students and local community members actively searching for employment opportunities.

“This program is so important for our community” Says Chris Meyer, Community Opportunity Manager. “Individuals with developmental disabilities have tremendous skills to add to any workplace, and the ability to work adds to their ability to be independent and active community members, helping boost the local economy”

Employer benefits include no cost on-the-job training and follow-up services, enhanced community public relations, information on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and tax credit opportunities.

Job Carving is also available to job seekers and employers. Job carving is taking steps from a job description and creating a position from an existing position; this increases productivity and creates more to time to spend on the major responsibilities of the job.
“The employers in the program find that Loveland Center students are proactive, willing to take on extra responsibilities, excited to come to work, and are a joy to work with,” said Meyer.

Ronny Ebanks came to Loveland Center to gain skills and assistance that would help him acquire skills to find employment and one day live independently. Through practice interviews, he learned how to interview with confidence and express all of the skills he now has. Sharky’s on the Pier Restaurant hired Ronny 18 years ago as a part time janitor at a competitive salary after interviewing him. Through the help of a Supported Employment job coach, he acclimated to his position well.  More than anything, Ronny believes in himself and is succeeding in a way that he never dreamed would happen.

Local businesses are encouraged to contact Loveland Center with potential job openings to see if a Loveland student can fill the position and become a valuable member of their team. To become a Loveland Center employer or to learn more about this program, contact Chris Meyer, Community Opportunities Manager at cmeyer@lovelandcenter.com or 941.493.0016 (ext. 316)

List of some employers: Target, Children First, Goodwill Industries, Loveland Center, Long Horn Steak House, Venice YMCA, Sharky’s on the Pier, Venice, Walmart, Lowe’s North Port, Salvation Army Venice, Pines Veterinary Clinic.

For more information, visit www.lovelandcenter.com or call us at 941-493-0016.

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Loveland Center was established in 1962 by a group of parents who sought to provide a productive and safe place for adults with developmental disabilities. Loveland Center, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that provides educational programs and work force training for individuals with developmental disabilities.

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[spoiler title=”Eagle Eyes System Allows People With Severe Disabilities Use Computers” style=”2″ open=”true”]

Venice, FL (July 30, 2014) – Advanced computer technology is opening up a new world for students at Loveland Center. Thanks to Jane Hyche from Universal Distribution in Orlando, FL, who donated the funds to purchase EagleEyes system, Loveland students with severe physical disabilities will learn computer skills to access educational opportunities by moving only their eyes.

Earlier this week, Maureen Gates, Boston College EagleEyes – Camera Mouse Specialist trained Loveland staff and students to use ‘Eagle Eyes’ and Camera Mouse.

“We are thrilled to offer this new system for our students,” said Madeline McGrail, Loveland Center’s ADT Program Manager. “EagleEyes will help students communicate, develop skills, and learn through access to never before available technologies.”

This unique electronic device slightly bigger than a video game controller, allows people to control the computer by moving only their eyes, through five electrodes placed on the person’s forehead, and around the eyes.

When the surface electrodes are placed, they track the muscle movements of the face and send the signals received from the electrodes back into the electronic controller box and the computer, transforming his eyes into a computer mouse. By focusing for a few seconds on the same spot or object on the computer screen, a single click is activated.

Loveland students, Barbara, Matthew and Erin were the first ones to try Camera Mouse and were eager and excited to participate. The Camera Mouse allows people to control the computer by moving their head, eye, lip, nose or any other part of their head they are able to control. It works through a video camera or web camera connected to the computer and focused upon the student.

Matthew was especially excited to play games and see the results of his head movements such as chasing aliens.

Both access technologies function as standard mouse replacements in Windows systems.

The technology was developed at Boston College in 1994, and the Opportunity Foundation of America has distributed the systems nationwide.

“Seeing the twinkle in the eyes of our students and the smile on the faces of family and staff is indescribable,” said McGrail.

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Loveland Center was established in 1962 by a group of parents who sought to provide a productive and safe place for adults with developmental disabilities. Loveland Center, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that provides educational programs and work force training for individuals with developmental disabilities.

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[spoiler title=”Loveland Center To Break Ground On New Planned Residential Facility” style=”2″ open=”true”]

The Loveland Village will address the impending housing crisis facing adults with developmental disabilities, who are outliving their parents or their parents’ ability to be caregivers.

Venice, FL (June 5, 2014) – Loveland Center is delighted to be breaking ground for Loveland Village, a 42-apartment complex for adults with developmental disabilities, in the presence of Florida Senator, Nancy C. Detert, local government officials, and community supporters. The ceremony will take place on Tuesday, June 17, 2014, at 10 a.m., on the Loveland Center campus, located at 157 S. Havana Road, Venice, FL 34292.

“The need for a planned residential community that is safe, comfortable and affordable is critical. In Florida, there are over 15,000 people with developmental disabilities living at home with parents 70 years of age or older,” said Loveland Center’s CEO, Carl Penxa. “We are pleased to be helping to create a new resource to meet the needs of adults with developmental disabilities and their families.”

After noticing a growing number of aging parents becoming unable to care for their loved ones with developmental disabilities, Loveland Center partnered with LGA Architects, Halfacre Construction, and JE Charlotte Construction, to bring the concept of Loveland Village to life.

Upon completion in late 2015, Loveland Village will offer residents with developmental disabilities supportive housing and access to an array of social services that support their inclusion into the community through social activities and supported employment.

The new residential complex, located adjacent to the current Loveland Center campus, will also feature a clubhouse for resident activities and a student/resident services building that offers meeting areas, classrooms, and a health and fitness area. The Village will provide ample and accessible space for residents, who depending on desire and ability, may choose to live on their own, with a roommate or may have live-in support.

“At the moment, the dusty parcel at 157 S. Havana Road is vacant. But within a year it will be home, a place where 94 adults with developmental disabilities and their supporters will enjoy an independent life,” said Loveland Center’s Chief Development Officer, Aimee Holmes “It will relieve the anxiety of families who worry about what will happen to their grown children when they are no longer able to care for them.”

Major funding for the project came through the “Building a Home Where The Heart Is” capital campaign, under the leadership of Dr. Jim Woods. Loveland friends, families, local foundations, service clubs, and philanthropic community members have raised over $3.5 million since December of 2013. Loveland encourages the community to share information about the Village, make a signed pledge or make an immediate financial donation.

For more information on contributing to the Loveland Village contact Chief Development Officer, Aimee Holmes at 941.806.9666 (ext.307) or visit www.lovelandvillage.org

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Loveland Center was established in 1962 by a group of parents who sought to provide a productive and safe place for adults with developmental disabilities. Loveland Center, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that provides educational programs and work force training for individuals with developmental disabilities.

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[spoiler title=”Loveland Center’s Capital Campaign Goal For The Loveland Village Is In Full Swing” style=”2″ open=”true”]

Venice, FL (April 21, 2014) –Loveland Center has developed a planned residential community, Loveland Village, to address the impending housing crisis facing adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), who are outliving their parents or their parent’s ability to be caregivers. In Florida, there are 15,000 people with developmental disabilities living at home with parents 70 years of age or older. The Loveland Village will ensure a safe, affordable and supportive place to live for generations to come.

The capital campaign has secured over $3.3 million so far and will need to secure an additional $2.1 million by May 2014. These funds are crucial to draw down $4.775 million in matching dollars from the Florida Housing Finance Corporation.

“We are deeply encouraged by and thankful for the tremendous support we’ve already received for our vision of a Loveland Village- an affordable housing option that will proactively address the impending issue of homelessness for adults with developmental disabilities,” said Carl Penxa, CEO of Loveland Center.

The Loveland Center first developed the concept of Loveland Village in 2007, after noticing a growing number of aging parents becoming unable to care for their loved ones with I/DD. The organization partnered with HalfAcre Construction, JE Charlotte Construction, and LGA Architects to make the concept a reality. The formal groundbreaking for the project will take place late spring 2014, and completion is projected in late 2015.

“The capital campaign goal is a reflection of our belief that we can proactively help adults with I/DD be part of their community. We hope that supporters from across the community will continue to invest in this unique residential project to ensure that it will not only be the first for Southwest Florida but most importantly for our local community where we know there is a need for affordable housing for the I/DD population and their caretakers.” said Aimee Holmes, Loveland Center’s Chief Development Officer

The Loveland Village will contain three apartment buildings, with 42 units ranging from one to four bedrooms and will provide ample space for 94 residents. Each unit will have a kitchen, laundry room, and bathrooms. The projected prices range between $275-$450 per bedroom.

The Village will also offer a clubhouse for use by residents and local community organizations to promote independence, self-advocacy, social engagement, and community participation for all residents. To maximize the safety of residents, the Village will also feature state of the art security measures.

“It’s not only about building affordable housing; it’s about enriching the lives of individuals with I/DD. When I see the excitement and wonder of Loveland students, families and friends, I become even more motivated each day to make our dream a reality and to create a legacy for generations to come,” said Loveland Village Campaign Chair, Dr. Jim Woods.

For more information on contributing to the Loveland Village contact Chief Development Officer, Aimee Holmes at (941) 806-9666 or visit www.lovelandvillage.org

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Loveland Center was established in 1962 by a group of parents who sought to provide a productive and safe place for adults with developmental disabilities. Loveland Center, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that provides educational programs and work force training for individuals with developmental disabilities.

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[spoiler title=”March 2014 Is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month” style=”2″ open=”true”]

Venice, FL (March 5, 2014) – “Ability at Work” is the theme for Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month 2014. Loveland Center, Inc. and other related organizations celebrate Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in March, and invite you to consider the true meaning of this year’s theme, “Ability at Work!”

Statewide, and across the nation, organizations devoted to serving individuals with developmental disabilities are planning special events in March to raise public awareness of the many abilities people have, regardless of disability. “Ability at Work” encourages people to understand that when people with disabilities are welcomed into local neighborhoods, workplaces, houses of worship, and schools everyone wins. “This is a time when our organization focuses on encouraging the public to better understand the individuals we serve,” said (your spokesperson’s full name/title).

“During ‘Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, we encourage people to learn more about those in our community who have developmental disabilities and to recognize that all of us have talents and abilities that we can offer to make this a better place to live,” said Loveland Center’s Community Impact Officer, Daniela Poinsett.

Loveland Center will kick off its recognition of March as DD Awareness Month with a jewelry sale. The Lovelanders 13th Annual jewelry Extravaganza show will be on March 8 & 9 at Loveland Center. The two-day jewelry sale will offer a selection of earrings, bracelets, necklaces, watches and more for the whole family and for all occasions with prices ranging from $1.00 to $50.00+ The jewelry sale proceeds will be donated to Loveland students. Other activities planned for March include: The Concert That Never Happened on March 21 at the Venice Community Center and others. During March, Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, get acquainted with someone who has a developmental disability. You’ll learn that everyone has something to offer and that and when we are all together our communities are stronger, we accomplish more, and everyone wins!

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Loveland Center was established in 1962 by a group of parents who sought to provide a productive and safe place for adults with developmental disabilities. Loveland Center, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that provides educational programs and work force training for developmentally disabled individuals. For more information, visit www.lovelandcenter.com or call us at 941-493-0016.

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[spoiler title=”13th Annual Jewelry Extravaganza Sale To Benefit Loveland’s Students” style=”2″]

Venice, FL (March 3, 2014) – Looking for a gift? A personalized and well-priced selection of new, antique and vintage jewelry will be sold at Loveland Center to support programs and services that enable adults with developmental disabilities to reach their goals. The sale will be on March 8 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and March 9 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“For over 50 years I’ve been involved with developmental disabilities,” said The Lovelanders Jewelry extravaganza Chairperson, Josephine Dittmann. “The Lovelanders is a great support for Loveland Center and I’ve met many wonderful people and the fact that the organization focuses on ensuring that adults with developmental disabilities have the opportunity to participate in a variety of classes and activities is truly amazing.”

The two-day jewelry sale will offer a selection of earrings, bracelets, necklaces, watches and more for the whole family and for all occasions with prices ranging from $1.00 to $50.00+ The jewelry sale proceeds will be donated to Loveland students.

Everyone is welcome to attend and browse for jewelry and gifts. Pick out a special item for family, friends or select a piece sure to please that special someone in your life.

“It’s a great event to raise awareness about the importance and essential need for programs and services that enable persons with developmental disabilities to reach their full potential and live independent, self-sufficient and productive lives,” said Community Impact Officer, Daniela Poinsett.

For more information, visit www.lovelandcenter.com or call us at 941-493-0016.

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Loveland Center was established in 1962 by a group of parents who sought to provide a productive and safe place for adults with developmental disabilities. Loveland Center, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that provides educational programs and work force training for developmentally disabled individuals.

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[spoiler title=”Loveland Awarded Selby Foundation Grant” style=”2″]

Venice, FL (Nov 19, 2012) – Loveland Center, whose mission is to help adults with developmental disabilities live their lives to the fullest, was awarded $30,000 from the William G. & Marie Selby Foundation to be used for the the replacement of the Adult Day Training program’s campus, located on Havana Road. The Loveland Center campus has been at its current location for 10 years, and the HVAC units have received great maintenance and care over these years.

“We are grateful to the Selby Foundation for this award” said Daniela Koci, Program & Grant Specialist, “because the HVAC units are at the end of their time, and maintenance has become very costly.” Ms. Koci also added that, at one point, the HVAC units of the center broke and the time for repair was lengthy, which caused a strong disruption in the education of Loveland students. With these replacements, “Loveland Center will hopefully have another 10 years worth of cool services!”, said Ms. Koci.

The award from the Selby Foundation, however, is only half of what the agency needs to replace all of the HVAC units on the campus. Anyone interested in learning more about Loveland Center, or contributing to the completion of this project, can call Ms. Koci at (941) 493-0016.

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[spoiler title=”Loveland Awarded Gulf Coast Community Foundation Grant” style=”2″]

Venice, FL (Jan 25, 2012) – Loveland Center, whose mission is to help adults with developmental disabilities live their lives to the fullest, was awarded $43,750 from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation to hire a Marketing Coordinator.  The funding will cover a one year salary and benefits, as well as equipment needed for the position to be successful. With the expertise of the new staff member, Loveland Center anticipates increasing community awareness and support, as well as enhancing its outreach regionally and even nationally.

With almost 50 years in the community, Loveland Center has established a strong reputation in the Venice area, especially among those community members who have been here for many years. However, with the increased utilization of social media marketing, Loveland Center’s goal is to increase its scope and diversify the demographics of its supporters by utilizing new marketing strategies.

One of the most important tasks the new Marketing Coordinator will be charged with is advertising Loveland House’s two openings for residents. “We believe that strongly marketing our private pay group home with enticing print materials and social media will create interest throughout the state and expect to see applications from more potential residents,” says President/C.E.O. Carl J. Penxa Jr.

In addition, the Marketing Coordinator will be responsible for enhancing the Loveland brand. Loveland Center hopes to improve its fundraising strategies by keeping both current and potential donors engaged and informed. It will also improve its social media strategies by ensuring that its web presence is consistent and engaging.

“It is important that we share student success stories and other pertinent information effectively with our supporters, so that they can see the impact of their donations,” says Daniela Koci, Program & Grant Specialist.

“We are confident that, with the right person, this initiative will take Loveland Center to a whole new level,” Mr. Penxa said. “We are so blessed by the support of our community. But we know, in looking toward the future, that expanding our donor base and increasing community awareness locally and beyond will help protect our high-quality student services from the ever-increasing cuts in government funding.”

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