As a parent, of two sons with speech/language problems, Barbara Monday returned to school to earn her degree in Speech/ Language pathology. She wanted to make sure she could assist her sons and other students to the best of her ability. She worked in the field for 25 years serving students in a variety of school based settings. Knowing that her youngest son would never be able to live independently as well as other special students in the school system, Barbara was concerned about what would happen to them when they graduated from school and their parents could no longer care for them. Along with other parents and caregivers of DIGS (Developing independence Growth and Security ) their mission and goal became to provide safe housing, work and leisure opportunities for adults with development challenges.
While all of the many activities of fundraising activities were going on she continued to press forward to some of their other needs. Under her leadership other projects that she has coordinated include:
-Established the “Just As I Am” special needs choir. They currently have 47 members and the donations
they receive go toward the home building fund and to support all the leisure activities.
– Snap Happy Camera Club
– Arts Hearts Art Club
– One Step at a Time Dance Club
– Signing with Friends Members learn basic communication skills using modified ASL taught by a DIGS ‘adult’.
– One Step Closer- The DIGS ‘adults’ learn to work as a team and use a variety of tools safely while creating garden art as a fundraising activity. The ‘adults’ also help to set up and staff booths at area arts & crafts festivals.
According to Tammy Bryant, “Barbara’s creativity and her commitment to provide opportunities for our special needs population are never ending. Thanks to her vision and leadership, we now have many programs and activities for our special needs population.”
The vision to build the personal care home started in 2006 and now 7 years later the personal care home has become a reality. Construction of the first DIGS home was completed December 2013.