A new ServiceSource facility in Chantilly is making it easier for many disabled residents to receive the care they need.
The nonprofit company ServiceSource began in Fairfax in 1971. In 2012 it has served more than 14,000 individuals with disabilities in nine states. Its corporate headquarters are in Alexandria.
A 45,000-square-foot ServiceSource disability center in Springfield that serves about 215 disabled individuals annually now is getting some relief with the addition of the new state-of-the-art facility in Chantilly. Many from western Fairfax County who traveled up to an hour and a half to receive care at the Springfield location now have the option of going to the newer, closer center.
“There was a great need for services here,” said Regional Executive Director Paul Wexler. “At 26,000 square feet, the new facility is smaller than our Springfield center, but we can accommodate about 75-80 individuals. Already 32 people who used to travel to Springfield have transferred here.”
Many of the participants in ServiceSource Chantilly have significant disabilities and are nonverbal. The new facility was specifically designed for accessibility, safety and privacy and has new equipment for physical therapy and caretaking. Additionally, an innovative sensory perception room encourages stimulation through touch, sound, sight and smell. In the room, those normally in wheelchairs instead can relax in bean bag chairs, hammocks and massage chairs, enjoying the cascade of light shows, fiber optic displays and even can create music on the “Tonky Honk” keyboard.
In addition to the sensory room and other therapeutic in-house activities, the center also provides activities within the local community, such as horseback riding and cooking classes.
“I am proud to have been part of the design process of this new facility,” said Wexler. “Many people brainstormed and put a lot of effort into designing this facility from the ground up. We are very happy with the outcome and have not had any second thoughts about what we could have done but didn’t. It really has come together very well.”
Family members of program participants say they love the new site and already are seeing benefits for their relatives with disabilities. Tom Mobley, 71, of Fairfax has a mentally incapacitated 37-year-old daughter, Dawn, who he says absolutely loves the new facility, which she attends five days per week.
“She doesn’t like Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, because she’d rather be there than home,” he said.
Mobley said Dawn used to have to travel nearly 90 minutes on a transport bus to Springfield from Fairfax. “In addition to the decrease in travel time, Dawn is now able to get more personalized care at the Chantilly location,” he said.
Virginia Del. Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax), who attended the grand opening of the facility in July, said she was impressed by its innovativeness, and called it a great public-private success story.
“I was thrilled to visit,” she said. “I know that as well as ServiceSource’s $2 million investment, the county also put up a substantial amount of money, and it all seems very well-spent. It really is a fabulous, state-of-the-art facility that was much needed in the area.”
According to Evan Jones, employment services director for the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board, the county contributed $1.3 million from its year-end budget surplus to help ServiceSource provide services at the new facility.
In addition to providing care and day services, ServiceSource also provides employment opportunities to nearly 2,000 individuals with disabilities annually.
“Our employment program is a doorway to the community,” said Mark Hall, executive vice president of corporate development.
Hall, who has a son with Down syndrome who utilizes the new Chantilly facility, said that for those with extreme disabilities, it is extremely important to be a part of a socialized group.
“Isolation and despair are often results of not being in a peer group,” he said. “That’s true for everybody.”