Ben’s Place was founded in 2001 because a young man named Ben, who had developmental disabilities, found it difficult to meet friends and socialize with similar individuals.  He challenged his mother to create a place where people like him could hang out.  What started in 2001 as a social club that met only on Fridays has flourished over the past 15 years.

Without Ben’s Place, many of the individuals we serve would be restricted to their homes, with little interaction, and in many cases, their health conditions would remain stagnant or worsen.  Therefore, it is our mission to provide unique opportunities for individuals with developmental, physical, or acquired disabilities to interact and learn life and vocational skills with their peers in a social environment. We became incorporated in 2004 as a 501(c)(3) that offers services for 66 hours per week.  Just a few short years ago we were in a 700 square foot facility and now we have 3,400 square feet of rented space.

We believe the mission, vision, and values statement of Ben’s Place is the heart and soul of what we are all about.  It is the framework that states what the organization will do, the manner in which it will occur, and what the desired outcomes will be.  Ben’s Place has adopted a strong belief system to support our cause of helping those with disabilities.

Our values:

  • We believe that every person is created in the image of God. Therefore, everyone will be treated with dignity and respect.
  • We believe that we are called to be good stewards of our financial resources. Therefore, through careful management of contributions and efficient administration of expenses we will focus our resources to better the lives of our individuals.
  • We believe that we receive by giving. Therefore, we will recruit and empower a strong core of volunteers and humbly seek donors who believe in our mission and values to facilitate our services.
  • We believe that we are strongest through collaboration.  Therefore, we will partner with other organizations to strengthen the strategies and services available to our individuals.
  • We believe individuals with disabilities will be respected and appreciated for their own individual capabilities as they strive toward their own personal dreams.

We serve roughly 50 people weekly, offering programs such as art, gardening, jewelry making, music activities, and vocational programs. Some people come during the day, some at night, and some stay the entire 12 hours a day we are open Monday through Friday.  Individuals have the option of coming as many hours as they want when Ben’s Place is open.

The center offers our services to people who have higher functioning disabilities and refers those with more profound disabilities, who require more intensive medical care, to agencies who can meet their needs. Upon entering the 3,200 square foot center, one might see people happily engaged in art/craft activities, dancing, learning to wash clothes, or even leather-work. A daily schedule is maintained, but individualized services are offered, dependent on the individual’s needs and ambitions.

We have a staff of four part-time employees that includes a vocational coach and a certified nursing assistant, along with 6 regular volunteers. Transportation is not currently available so most individuals use the JTA Connexion.  We help train the individuals to use public transportation when necessary.

Since the organization does not use any government or United Way funding, operations are completely reliant on the membership fees which start at $100/monthly paid by each individual and donations from the community.   Many individuals we serve are on a wait-list for government funding and financially cannot afford other resources available to them so Ben’s Place is their only affordable resource. Not only do we provide a great environment for socialization and learning for those with disabilities, we also allow the caregivers for these individuals to go to work and/or have some relief from their care-giving duties. With the increasing needs in the community Ben’s Place is adapting and growing to meet the changing needs of the individuals we serve.