Providing services for years.
Our Again & Again Thrift Store proved successful, and the ProWorks Board of Directors agreed that opening a second thrift store might be a good idea. ProWorks opened its second thrift store, Again & Again Too, on March 16, 2015. The MN Department of Human Services licenses both thrift stores as intensive support service providers under MN Statute Chapter 245D.
Employees of ProWorks spent a year or more exploring the options of opening a “Dollar Store or “Thrift Store” in the Dassel area. We toured many stores of these types, talked with those who operated these stores and consulted with Southwest Initiative about start-up and operation costs. After much discussion and the availability of empty store space in Dassel, we chose to start up a “Thrift Store. After many hours of shopping for fixtures, advertising, collecting & sorting donations, and setting up shelving, the store opened on April 17, 2012, under the name Again & Again. A store manager and an assistant were hired, and volunteers from the community helped out at the store. ProWorks service individuals clean the store daily under the supervision of a job coach.
ProWorks’ Red Rooster Site opens in Dassel. ProWorks provides day training & habilitation services to 80+ individuals with developmental disabilities, traumatic brain injury, and mental illness.
The agency’s name is changed to ProWorks, Inc., and the “warehouse” becomes known as ProWorks Annex. Board members, personnel, service individuals, and their families were asked to submit names to be considered, and “ProWorks” won the popular vote.
With the increasing number of people being served, it became necessary to expand the work area. In October 1995, a 35′ x 40′ addition was built.
With significant increases in individuals receiving services and work contracts, more space is needed, and a new 40′ x 50′ “warehouse” was built.
MCDAC hires its first “Job Developer.” The job Developer is responsible for finding center-based work contracts and community-based employment opportunities.
The Meeker County Board of Commissioners agreed to increase MCDAC’s program to 245 days per year. The Minnesota Legislature decided that special needs preschool programs should become the responsibility of public school districts. MCDAC’s preschool program was picked up by the Meeker and Wright Special Education Cooperative (MAWSECO).
The agency’s name was changed to the Meeker County Developmental Achievement Center. This change followed a statewide trend in which adult day programs wished to take a more progressive and meaningful approach toward meeting the needs of persons with developmental disabilities.
Dale Miller was hired to be the agency’s Executive Director. At this time, the agency consisted of six staff, served eighteen individuals, and the program operated 187 days per year. No services were provided during July and August. Home-based preschool services were provided to several children. In December, the program moved into a new building (its present location), and a center-based preschool program was developed.
In the early 1970s, due in large part to the down-sizing of state institutions, the rapidly expanding need for additional community-based services, and the desire to serve people in their home communities, the Kandi-Meeker DAC split, and the Meeker County Daytime Activity Center (MCDAC) began in the basement of Longfellow School in Litchfield, MN. This program, under the direction of Robert Carlson, consisted of seven staff and thirteen service recipients. The program followed the public school calendar and was closed for the summer. In the mid-’70s, program expectations were changing along with society’s attitude toward people with disabilities. In the past, day programs had once consisted of basic academics, arts and crafts, and the endless pursuit of unpaid, “prevocational” skills. It quickly became apparent that more meaningful goals and objectives could be realized. Day programs quickly embraced the thought of providing community-based vocational services, and the concept of “normalization” became popular.
The governing board purchased a building in Atwater, MN, and from this site, provides services to preschool children and adults from both counties.
The Kandi-Meeker Day Activity Center (DAC) opened as a pilot project between the counties of Kandiyohi and Meeker and the Minnesota Department of Public Welfare. The Kandi-Meeker DAC began with much support and effort from parents of children with developmental disabilities. Initially, a half-day program was offered at the VFW in Willmar and a half-day program at the American Legion in Litchfield. These programs followed the public school calendars, and program staff traveled between these sites daily.