At ADEC, we’ve always believed our employees are true heroes.

They work tirelessly to advocate for and serve individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities so they can lead lives full of choice and possibility. They sacrifice their evenings, weekends and holidays to ensure the people we serve at ADEC always receive the care they need.

Last week, the United Way of Elkhart County confirmed that #teamADEC is made up of heroes by honoring ADEC with a Hero Award at its annual luncheon.

The Hero Awards were presented to companies that increased employee giving to United Way over the previous year. ADEC increased contributions by more than 50 percent in 2019 compared to the previous year.

Through payroll deduction, ADEC employees can choose to donate to the United Way of Elkhart County, which fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person int he community.

“People choose to work at ADEC because they want to make a difference in their community and in the lives of the people they serve,” said ADEC CEO and President Donna L. Belusar. “It is not surprising that those same individuals also choose to be generous with their paycheck by giving to the United Way of Elkhart County. I am so proud of our tremendous team at ADEC and thankful for our ongoing partnership with United Way.”

Because ADEC is a United Way Community Partner, those donations feed right back into ADEC programs that help individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

During the 2019-2020 funding cycle, United Way has committed $100,000 to ADEC to help families with childcare and provide job skills training to adults with disabilities.

The Caston family, who directly benefits from United Way’s support, attended the luncheon as guests of ADEC.

Tamilka Caston’s three children — Damion, Anthony and Nicole — were among the first to enroll in one of ADEC’s newest programs: Growth and Purpose (GAP).

GAP is designed to help bridge the gap between education and employment. The program teaches students all the skills necessary to be successful in a job setting — from drafting a resume to negotiating a job offer. GAP follows the structure of a classroom, with new topics introduced at the pace of each student in the program.

Tamilka said she’s noticed the new skills her children have gained through ADEC’s GAP program.

“It’s helping them transition into the next phase of their lives,” she said.

Check out some photos below of the Castons participating in ADEC’s Growth and Purpose program