A ServiceSource facility in Chantilly is making it easier for many residents with disabilities 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 by providing services to them through employment, training, rehabilitation and support services. Its corporate headquarters are in Alexandria.
A 45,000-square-foot ServiceSource disability center in Springfield, which serves about 215 people annually, is getting some relief with the addition of the 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 Paul Wexler, regional executive director. “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 participants in ServiceSource Chantilly have significant disabilities and are nonverbal. The facility was designed from the ground up for accessibility, safety and privacy and has equipment for physical therapy and caretaking. An innovative sensory perception room encourages stimulation through touch, sound, sight and smell.
In the room, those usually in wheelchairs instead can relax in beanbag chairs, hammocks and massage chairs, enjoying the cascade of light shows and fiber-optic displays, and even can create music on the “Tonky Honk” keyboard.
The center also provides activities within the community, such as horseback riding and cooking classes.
“I am proud to have been part of the design process of this new facility,” Wexler said. “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.”
Relatives of program participants say they love the site and are seeing benefits for their relatives. Tom Mobley, 71, of Fairfax has a mentally incapacitated 37-year-old daughter, Dawn, who he says absolutely loves the 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 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.
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.”
Evan Jones, employment services director for the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board, said the county contributed $1.3 million from its year-end budget surplus to help ServiceSource provide services at the facility.
ServiceSource also provides employment opportunities to nearly 2,000 individuals with disabilities annually nationwide.
“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 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.”