Open and ready to learn
The new Innovative Community Support Services building opened its doors with an Open House Wed., Oct. 2, sharing what they can offer those living with developmental disabilities and finding it hard to navigate their future. Pictured from the left, supervisor of Spread the Joy, Mill Street and Employment Program Kim Corley, executive director Jaynee Champagne, Russell Township Mayor Pierre Leroux and director of community services Rebecca Chamberland. Glover photo

RUSSELL – After the surprising success at their Orleans location, Innovative Community Support Services (ICSS) officially opened a new location in Russell due to high demand.

The ICSS is a non-profit organization that provides families and individuals with high quality learning and cost effective community-based programs aimed toward those with developmental disabilities.

“Families contacted us and asked us if we have any programs in Prescott or Russell and the opportunity came with this building,” said Jaynee Champagne, executive director. “So, we jumped on the opportunity; we were looking where we could further expand some of our programs.”

“We also work with a number of schools that we’re serving too,” added Rebecca Chamberland, director of community services. “When kids graduate at 21, what do they do afterwards? Their disabilities and needs don’t change.”

The new building officially opened with an Open House Wed., Oct. 2, greeting the community and showing what they can offer those living with developmental disabilities but finding it hard to navigate their next step.

Getting the new building prepared for opening day was a project a year in the works. The building that they are currently occupying is very old, and was in dire need of renovations.

“The contractor ran into a number of issues with the building itself; those took a while to work through,” said Champagne. “There were some structural things that he needed to look at. We knew what we wanted but then we changed some things, so it just took a while.”

One of the more popular classes that the establishment teaches includes “Homemade Goodness” which teaches adults kitchen skills. Another one is the “Life Skills” program that teaches proper conversation skills, protection against abuse and simply, the right to say ‘no.’

“We do a lot of business at Christmas time with Christmas baskets and we have a contract with the bank for approximately 200 baskets,” said Champagne. “It’s making all the jams, the preservatives and the soaps to go into those [baskets].”

Chamberland added, “and the individuals who help with that program, they work the markets and that’s a paid position.”

At the end of the day, ICSS only hopes to continue developing skills for those who need an extra helping hand after the completion of their education.

“Our goal is always for skill development, said Chamberland. “For them to have as much independence as possible and for them to feel a part of their community.”

ICSS is currently accepting new applicants for their programs. Anyone interested in applying can visit the new location at 108 Mill Street.