Megan Hunt had a big decision to make last year.

She had turned 22 — a big year for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities as they “age out” of special education programs at public schools — and it was time to figure out: What’s next?

Some choose to pursue additional education at a college or vocational training institute while others search for internships or jobs in the community.

But none of those options felt right for Megan after she graduated. She is social, creative and has a passion for giving back to her community.

So ADEC staff worked side-by-side with Megan and her mom to find the best way to transition Megan to the next step in her life — one that would help her accomplish her goals and fill her days in a meaningful way.

For the past year, Megan has been attending ADEC’s Day Service at Elkhart and she looks forward to each day spent with friends learning new skills.

She spends her mornings watching the news — her favorite station is WNDU News Center 16 — painting and volunteering in the community. Each week, she collects day-old baked goods from local convenience stores and bakeries and delivers them to Faith Mission of Elkhart.

Megan Hunt

“I like helping other people. We can make a difference together.”

Some days, she works on paintings to sell in the Art by ADEC store. When someone purchases a piece of her art, she receives a paycheck with the proceeds.

In the afternoon, she spends time working on her iPad, singing karaoke or going bowling with her yellow smiley-face ball.

ADEC serves more than 200 individuals throughout five day service locations in Elkhart and St. Joseph counties. Every day is filled with choice and possibility for the people we serve.

Bristol

This is our largest site, with a capacity to more than 90 clients. The program features a variety of activities for people to choose as well as diverse environments including large media-centered group areas, a bright and open art studio and a quiet senior's area.

Elkhart

With its prominent location on Elkhart’s Main Street, this downtown location features wide open spaces. Clients who attend Day Services at Elkhart enjoy volunteering in the community, woodworking, making jewelry and painting.

Goshen

Home to Gaining Grounds Coffee Shop, Day Services at Goshen has a distinctly urban feel. With open spaces and original wood features, this small location feels at once homey, yet innovative. Popular vocations at this location include gardening, ceramics, baking and visual arts.

Middlebury

Nestled in the heart of Amish country, this location houses ADEC’s second Gaining Grounds Coffee Shop and also serves as a vocational training site. Primary vocations at this site include decorative wine bottles, vinyl printing, t-shirt screening and visual arts.

Mishawaka

Our newest location serves St. Joseph County and features thoughtfully designed spaces, as well as an ever-evolving atmosphere of choice and possibility. Popular vocations at this location include marbled canvas painting, wood working and baking. There is also a quiet private deck space for clients to enjoy the outdoors.

Our support staff takes time to discover the natural abilities and interests of the people we serve, and then challenges them to work at developing skills related to those abilities and interests.

While Megan is interested in painting, others a prefer baking Bow Wow Dog Biscuits or crafting greeting cards. Erin Smoker, who attends Day Service at Bristol, discovered a knack for sewing. She works with ADEC staff to sell her blankets and scarfs to customers across the country through her Etsy store.

While ensuring that all medical needs are being met, ADEC staff work with each individual to set goals and help them pursue their dreams.

“ADEC has the same goals that we, as parents have for our children,” said Joanna Stickler, whose son Trevor has been attending day services for nearly a decade. “They want to see him be happy and productive and have a more fulfilling life. When you’re on the same page and have the same goals, it works a whole lot better. I’m more comfortable with having him there at ADEC.”

To learn more about Day Services at ADEC or to schedule a tour, contact Katie Kessler at kesslerk@adecinc.com or 574-522-7802.