VALLEYLIFE making life more joyful for residents with special needs

PHOENIX - VALLEYLIFE, a non-profit organization, is celebrating 65 years of helping residents with special needs.

They have developed life programs and services specifically designed to enhance their quality of life.

A common concern for individuals with disabilities and their loved ones is not knowing who will help them in life when their family members are unable to do so. Caring, educated staff and quality programs help to solve that issue.

The mission began in 1947 by Bernice Kussell. She realized some of the children in the Arizona State Hospital were not being served appropriately.

Armed with hope and a belief in a better way of life for these children with developmental disabilities, she opened her home as a residence for her new family.

Having outgrown the private residence in 1949, Kussell founded Valley of the Sun School, which later became Valley of the Sun School and Habilitation Center and now Valleylifeaz.org.

They exist to provide care and support services to more than 400 individuals with disabilities in our community and to change the public attitudes toward disability.

VALLEYLIFE programs fall under four categories: residential, vocational, adult day centers, and home and community based services. These services include shared living homes, training and assistance for those looking for work, adult day services, and respite and personal care support. 

"People come to us in the day, about 7:30 in the morning to about 3 in the afternoon and we provide life enhancing skills anything from going to the zoo to giving back to the community and volunteering," said Cletus Thiebeau, CEO of VALLEYLIFE.

With cuts in the state budget, VALLEYLIFE has seen a 15 percent cut in their own funding over the past three years.

Donations and support are even more important as a result. "If you are in the neighborhood, visit us. We are very proud of our facilities and proud of what we do, and our members love visitors," said Thiebeau.

If you would like to learn more, you can visit Valleylifeaz.org.

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