ENCOR Opens New Facility for Endeavors, Plans Other Projects

Joe York, center, cuts the ribbon of ENCOR Endeavor’s new facility at 9814 M St. with help from Debbie Herbel, left, and Mary Rubio, right, on July 18, 2019. (Photo by Scott Stewart)
Scott Stewart
The Daily Record

After pioneering new ways to deliver services to developmentally disabled persons, ENCOR is embarking on a new model that it hopes will improve the quality and variety of its vocational and educational services.

ENCOR recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new Endeavors facility at 9814 M St.

“We’re breaking the model from traditional workshop programs,” ENCOR Director Debbie Herbel said. “It used to be the old industrial types of settings. We’re moving our programs into the city. We’re getting away from those rural settings and bringing them into communities, and this is our first of those projects.”

Projects are also planned in Bellevue, Fremont and North Omaha in the next 12 months. Herbel said the agency is working with architects and contractors to draft plans for those locations.

ENCOR supports nearly 600 people in a five-county area with its day programs. Herbel said that the model is shifting to providing an individualized experience for each person receiving services.

“No longer does everyone come here and get the same service,” Herbel said. “Their team will decide what’s best for them based on what their interests are.”

Mary Rubio, area director at ENCOR, said the old space didn’t have windows or carpet. The new facility is more welcoming and a better environment for clients.

“It’s a wonderful feeling to be in our new space,” Rubio said. “It is really nice to have a space where our folks can choose what they want to do.”

Sarah Graham, associate director of ENCOR, said choices for day program participants include working at a recycling center, a saw shop or other job settings.

“We also have a really strong, longstanding partnership with Lozier, where we actually go in and support people working in Lozier’s factory,” Graham said.

ENCOR was the first agency of its kind in the country to start that sort of relationship in 1971 by partnering with the Lozier’s Corp. ENCOR was the first community-based program in Nebraska, and it expanded to offer education and medical supports as well.

The goal is to contribute to the community that its clients are a part of, Graham said.

“It really is, more than anything, providing meaningful experiences for the people that we support,” Graham said.

Graham said ENCOR is always looking for more partners in the business community, as well as for business participants in its free recycling program.

“There are preconceived notions of what people with a developmental disability can and can’t do,” Graham said. “All we’re really asking for is a chance.”

The public is invited to check out the new ENCOR space during a Purposefully Living Expo set for Friday, Aug. 9, from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Breakfast will be served along with information on what Endeavors has to offer and demonstrations from its sponsors.

ENCOR will also hold a community informational meeting to share what’s new with the agency on Monday, Aug. 12, at 6:30 p.m.  its 4715 S. 132nd St. location.

Find more at encor-dd.org or follow ENCOR on Facebook at facebook.com/encordd.

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