Project TRIUMPH, a Kennedy Center Community Experience Program based in Trumbull, recently won a Blue Ribbon for their zinnias garden in the Greenfield Hill Grange Fair in Fairfield. Eric Frisk of Fairfield, manager of Drew Park Community Garden in Fairfield, designed the beds and coordinates the community garden.

An ACT (Adult and Children Together) grant provided the funds for construction materials and Green Cycle of Fairfield donated soil to fill the raised beds. Kennedy Center staff Nick DeFazio and Mike Dial help maintain the garden along with the consumers.

The Kennedy Center Community Experience Programs, also entitled Day Support Options (DSO), are located in various neighborhood settings and support small groups of individuals with a myriad of abilities and disabilities. Each program emphasizes the development of an appropriate skill base to expand learning, choice-making and inclusion within each person’s local community.

The Kennedy Center supports 24 programs across nine communities including Newtown, Stratford, Milford, Southbury, Woodbridge, Trumbull, Bridgeport, Fairfield and Monroe. Settings include five school transition programs, four autism-specific sites, one program designed to support people in supported employment and a cadre of programs serving specific needs from senior services, to PICA free environments, to sites supporting adaptive equipment and on-site physical therapy and/or nursing, to high energy, age-specific programming.

Employment opportunities are evident in a number of Kennedy Center programs, in addition to employment-specific sites. For recent high school grads, a period of time in a DSO program may serve as a “transition period” towards working full/part time in the community. For other individuals, their careers have moved towards a semi-retirement status and greatly enjoy the slower pace of volunteering. Each program emphasizes respect, dignity and choice.

The Kennedy Center is a nationally accredited, non-profit, community-based rehabilitation organization that currently serves 2,000 individuals annually. The agency actively responds to the needs of the community by offering innovative, comprehensive service options to persons with disabilities and special needs, from birth to senior years. The Kennedy Center operates 16 group homes, an industries program composed of six businesses, supported and competitive employment and job placement services, a family support and respite service, travel training, and a variety of children’s programs.