INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Outside the Box, a post secondary education program for adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities, is expanding to Fishers, thanks to a church in Fishers that’s sharing land so the group can build a second facility.
“Especially in the Fishers community when they don’t have a particular program that works with people after high school. there’s a big need in that community for such a thing,” said Kelly Hartman, the program’s co-founder.
Christ the Savior Lutheran Church is selling up to 6.24 acres of land for construction.
Development Director Michelle Miller said 350 adults attend the Indianapolis location on 52nd Street and around 75 are on the waiting list.
The majority of them commute to and from Hamilton County. Participant Paul Palich told News 8 he’s from Fishers.
“Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. The taxi always picks me up and then later my parents pick me up,” he said.
Outside the Box is currently campaigning to raise $6.5 million to purchase the property, break ground and provide more resources at their current location.
“Outside the box is a really unique program that meets the needs of those folks who aren’t quite ready for college or trade school or employment or maybe a day without supervision,” Hartman said. “Outside the box provides a really unique opportunity for them to learn new things and really have the chance to live their best lives.”
Adults are peer matched in groups of eight and supported by two facilitators. They work through a structured curriculum and practice their skills in the community. The program also helps adults gain employment.
“They’re people with disabilities who have skills to be employed and we still experience a 70-80% unemployment rate amongst qualified folks with intellectual disabilities,” added Hartman.
Palich said, “I’m still working at Kroger now, so my goal is I’m trying to be a bag leader manager. I like spending time with other staff leaders and all my friends here. I like to enjoy (myself) with everyone right here at Outside the Box.”
The second Outside the Box location is expected to be up and running in the next two to three years.