In eleven short years, Outside the Box has grown from an idea, to a culture, to a model for others. Our curriculum-based program has been nationally recognized for innovation and has been sought out by many peer agencies. The Indiana Division of Disability & Rehabilitative Services chose Outside the Box as a model program for a visit by federal officials. We have been called by our international accrediting body, “unique and cutting edge.” We have grown to be one of the largest day programs in the Indianapolis area.
Unfortunately, we are also at capacity in our existing space, serving more than 350 people with a waiting list of nearly 100. While the “system” still provides minimal funding and is often focused on health and safety in congregate settings, we have learned to see the world differently.
Outside the Box is ready to evolve. Through a social impact initiative, we want to evolve the way people see disability, evolve the way a community supports charity and evolve our sustainability. This initiative will find its home in Fishers, Indiana.
The three-pronged approach will encompass:
- OTB Programming: In an effort to serve even more, Evolve will be home to the Outside the Box mission, vision, and values. With a collaborative approach including day programming, employment services, and our expressive arts programs, we will continue to reach people through our peer matched, individualized, curriculum-based program.
- Evolve Café: A storefront grab-and-go café, which will provide employment and training for people with various ability levels. This will also allow for collaboration between the school system and other potential partners who will see this as an opportunity to learn, mentor, and This facet of evolve will allow the community to come together and see the value in all people.
- Multi-purpose Collaborative Venue: To provide the greatest opportunity for community education and collaboration, we will include a large collaborative space that will invite several area not-for-profit organizations to work side-by-side with Outside the Box. This space also becomes an affordable event venue that allows people to raise money for their charitable cause, host private parties, or wedding This facet of evolve allows our community to support our vital mission in a different way.
We have learned to see nurtured people with the absolute expectation that they have the potential to evolve into productive, awesome, amazing humans when given the opportunity. We have seen tremendous growth and contribution when we expect it. We have learned that when you treat people with respect and honor them with integrity, when you stop labeling them with diagnoses, and empower them to evolve, life is limitless. We are all people with different abilities, different strengths, and different contributions to make – we are all simply human.