Call Us:
608.755.4123

KANDU Industries Moves Livin’ and Learnin’ Program to New Home

Posted on : 20 Apr 2022 | No Comments

Janesville, Wis. (April 19, 2022) – KANDU Industries Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization that provides programs and services to people with disabilities and disadvantages, today announced the opening of its Livin’ and Learnin’ program home on Center Avenue in Janesville, Wis.  

KANDU’s Livin’ and Learnin’ program, previously operating out of the Pontiac Convention Center, is designed to assist individuals with developmental disabilities who are age 14 and up with navigating daily living activities outside of school and work.  Each client establishes individual goals to develop or improve self-help, socialization, and adaptive skills to help them thrive within their community and live more independent lives.

The new home offers a more comfortable home-like environment including a full kitchen, living room with a fireplace, laundry room, bedrooms that serve as activity break-out spaces, and a therapeutic sensory room. Therapeutic sensory rooms create a sense of calm and stimulate exploration, learning, and development to help individuals with sensory processing disorders or cognitive and learning disabilities to process the world around them.  This is particularly beneficial to KANDU Livin’ & Learnin’ clients with autism.

Erica Mortensen, coordinator of the Livin’ and Learnin’ program, works closely with clients to set them on the path to success.  “This new house gives us the ability to practice more life skills and is more transferable because it’s similar to what it would be like in an actual house.   Each skill they learn on their own brings them pride but also one step closer to being an independent adult.  I love to help foster their interests by planning activities related to them and seeking out activities they may have never experienced before. Many of the participants end up trying something new and learning more about what their surrounding community has to offer. In addition, the community members we have connected with at local coffee shops, businesses, and especially the YMCA help the participants feel a sense of belonging and foster a more inclusive community,” said Erica.

Following the announcement of KANDU’s mission to expand services and support for the Rock County community, this new facility allows younger clients (ages 14+) to participate in activities that teach practical life skills including grocery shopping and cooking, how to ride the city bus, household chores, and gardening.  According to Ian, a Livin’ and Learnin’ client, he is most excited to learn how to “grow a garden and eat the veggies.”

Clients in the Livin’ and Learnin’ program frequently immerse themselves in the Janesville community, including volunteer hours at organizations like The Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin, Rotary Gardens, St. Mary’s, Salvation Army, and ECHO of Janesville. These KANDU clients receive attentive guidance from staff to reach their personal goals for enhanced independence, and in turn pass along that care through volunteerism, demonstrating how supporting one person or group can have a ripple effect that benefits the entire community.

Livin’ and Learnin’ is ready to ramp up for summer when the program is usually busier, due to an influx of clients from high schools during the summer break. Day trips to places like hiking trails, Hedberg Public library, local parks, and the YMCA are arranged for this summer. Due to the recent move, KANDU is accepting donations of outdoor games (including football, soccer, and basketball), gardening tools, fishing poles, board games, DVDs, and a gas grill to facilitate Livin’ and Learnin’ programs. If you want to make a difference by donating to support and enrich the lives of community members with disabilities, contact KANDU to make a donation.

Earlier this year, KANDU Industries announced its plan to expand operations to better serve people with disabilities and disadvantages in Rock County.  A capital campaign to help fund KANDU’s mission to expand services in Rock County is expected to begin January of 2023.  Businesses and individuals who are interested in learning more about becoming an early donor to the campaign are encouraged to contact KANDU at 608.755.4123 or email khansen@kanduindustries.com.