The Community Outreach Program (COP) is a Home and Community Habilitation program which offers life enriching programs and supports to adults with developmental disabilities and their families, while they live at home within the community. Because COP addresses the full range of life needs of participants, they come to experience their own uniqueness in God's family and their communities. They therefore reach new levels of personal wholeness and awareness.
In the Spring of 1997 Catholic Social Services addressed the need to offer specialized case management services to families living with an individual with developmental disabilities. From this case management evolved the need to offer social, educational, spiritual, and community inclusion activities to these individuals while they lived at home or in the community. COP became an integral part of the Developmental Programs division.
The personal needs of the participants shape the content of programs offered. Programs have included: healthy lifestyle sessions, bowling, money management activities, music therapy, sports, exercise, arts and crafts, academic enhancement classes, movies, community outings, community service projects, hobby sharing, spirituality gatherings and several computer oriented programs. Program members are involved in the actual planning and follow-through of events. All COP participants receive a monthly calendar which lists COP-specific activities. Each member then registers for his or her programs of choice.
COP welcomes and respects many forms of spiritual diversity. Attention to the wholeness of each individual is an essential component of COP. COP offers a monthly time of reflection referred to as 'Conversations of the Spirit'. COP offers members opportunities to worship together and share the spiritual part of their lives. COP also encourages each member to connect with his or her home parish or congregation to more fully participate in God's community. Catholic members have opportunities for Reconciliation and Eucharist within the Developmental Programs division. Spiritual direction and home visitation are available to COP members and to any individual with a developmental disability who is confined to the home environment through the CSS Developmental Programs division.
Most COP clients secure funding through the individual's County Office of Mental Retardation in order to attend COP; however, many COP members pay for services privately when funding is not available. Referrals come from the local Department of Human Services and also from friends within the community. Once an individual is referred for membership, the Program Director meets interested family members and the individual personally to help foster a healthy comfort level, and to help assure that the potential member's interests are known to the family. This process also leads to a sense of independence by both client and family. Other pertinent information is also gathered during this Intake Interview.
COP programs gather in an office on the first floor of the Don Guanella School building. Some programs are offered within this specific facility while others are held in the community. For location and directions to Don Guanella School, click here.
For More Information
For additional information on COP, see information in the Pennsylvania Home and Community Services and Supports Directory (HCSIS) under Divine Providence Village. For any other information, please contact the COP Program Director at 484-475-2462.