Mosaic's decade of service for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities

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May 25, 2019 By Inez Kirchner

People with IDD are people—period. This is the message Mosaic of South Central Texas is advocating across the greater San Antonio area. 

Mosaic provides long-term, daily support to help adults with IDD live as comfortably and independently as possible. “We offer a life of possibilities for people with disabilities,” says Justin Botter, Mosaic Executive Director. The local agency also promotes education, awareness and compassion for this often-overlooked demographic.

There are three major criteria for an intellectual disability diagnosis: significant limitations in intellectual functioning (IQ of less than 75), significant limitations in adaptive behavior and onset before the age of 18.  People with IDD may have behavioral, mental or physical health challenges and generally need additional daily support to live life fully. For example, many parents of IDD kids don't understand the need to put their child on a waiting list well before they age out of school; "school age" for the IDD child means up to 22 years of age. Plus, most schools tend to focus on preparation for college, which leaves many IDD individuals behind.

Most people with IDD will wait for more than a decade before getting assistance.

According to the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD) more than half a million children and adults have IDD in Texas and more than 150,000 of that total receive little or no assistance.

People with IDD in Texas have a greater opportunity to rely on help from nonprofit groups like the good people at Mosaic; Texas rates last in the nation “for promoting independence for people with IDD,” says the TCDD. 

There are so many issues that affect the lives of individuals with intellectual disabilities. What I love about Mosaic is that they bring awareness of these issues to our community. Even better, moving beyond awareness, they also advocate for these individuals and create opportunities for them that allow us to bridge the gap. Employment, volunteerism, social opportunities —all things that, without Mosaic, they may never receive.

Elisia Carr, Marketing Coordinator, Documation 
 Elisia Carr
, Marketing Coordinator, Documation

With a lack of government funding, many remain on waiting lists; according to the TCDD, most will wait more than a decade before getting assistance. The ripple of this economic impact is far-reaching. “When these people have nowhere to go, they end up homeless, in prison, or a state institution,” says Justin. 

There’s no time to wait. That’s why Mosaic is stepping in to fill the gap. Mosaic’s services include long-term housing, medical treatments, maintenance services, cooking, cleaning, and the list goes on. Mosaic consistently operates at a significant budget deficit to accommodate the 109 adults it currently serves through the San Antonio Agency. For Mosaic, quality and continuity of care are nonnegotiable. “We risk hurting the people we serve and our staff if we don’t bridge the funding gap,” says Justin. 

This year, Mosaic of South Central Texas will celebrate its 30th anniversary in San Antonio. “Mosaic” refers to the “whole being greater than the sum of its parts,” and encourages the community to come together for this forgotten group. Justin is especially excited about the Discover the Possibilities tours; if you are called to support Mosaic’s mission, this would be a great place to begin. (Contact information is in the “Be A Light” section below.)

"We risk hurting the people we serve and our staff if we don't bridge the funding gap."  

In the future, Mosaic’s biggest goal is to find more host families. “We can’t fill this need alone,” says Justin. “We are asking the community, churches and families to open their hearts and homes to these people.” Mosaic owns three residential homes in San Antonio, and another 56 belong to host families. Host homes model after foster care and provide long-term housing and support.

Mosaic also raises awareness and educates the local and international community. They seek to dispel historical misconceptions and stigmas associated with IDD. “We still see maltreatment, criminalization, and abuse of people with IDD here and around the world,” says Justin. International efforts include helping other countries develop their own support programs and services. 

Mosaic serves individuals with intellectual disabilities, a population in our community that I very much believe is underserved. They come alongside these individuals and create incredible community connections that empower their clients; they provide opportunities that they may not otherwise have. Employment is one of those opportunities. They deserve independence too, they deserve to be happy and live fulfilled lives. Mosaic helps provide that for them.

Hunter Woolfolk, Co-President, Documation
  Hunter Woolfolk
, Co-President, Documation

Peter Moehring poses for a creative selfie at the beach.
Peter Moehring poses for a creative selfie at the beach.  


People with IDD have the same wants, needs and dreams as anyone else, but sadly, they become victims all too commonly.  Before coming to Mosaic, one of the IDD clients’ parents died. Without resources or assistance from the state, she was sent to live with her next of kin. There, she was abused. During that time, her insurance benefits had also lapsed—no one else thought to renew her coverage. After being removed from the harmful environment, she found herself at Mosaic. Even though this person was ineligible for benefits, Mosaic opened its doors to meet her needs. Today, she’s thriving. She receives the medical treatments she needs to succeed and lives with three other residents that she calls friends. 

Catherine’s story is another Mosaic success story. Diagnosed at 17, Catherine has the rare genetic disorder, Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome, and has been non-verbal most of her life. Catherine loved school, but once she aged out at 22, it was difficult for her to cope without the additional daily support. Years later, Catherine expressed a desire to live on her own. Mosaic was the path to independence Catherine craved. According to her mother, Debby, “She is happy, well cared for, and loved like family. She is home.”

Mosaic built its foundation on embracing God’s call to “love thy neighbor,” and serve with resilience. Paraphrasing The Reason We Exist, Stories of Mosaic’s Call to Serve, Justin sums up their heart: “We want people to treat people with IDD with respect not resentment, solace not hostility and as guests, not inmates.”

Because people with IDD are people—period.

 

Mosaic logo

Mosaic of South Central Texas
www.mosaicinfo.org
1804 N.E. Loop 410, Ste. 215
San Antonio, TX 78217
(210) 967-0566

 

Be A Light.

Pray. Ask God to open hearts and homes in the community to people with IDD. Contact Mosaic directly to find out how your home can become a host home. Donate. Mosaic relies heavily on financial donations, as well as goods and services. Volunteer. Fill your bucket and theirs. It’s free to sit and talk with a resident or assist a staff member with care. Advocate. Sign up to be alerted of critical legislation that affects people with IDD at www.mosaicinfo.org/get-involved/advocate/ Partner. Host or attend a Discover the Possibilities event www.mosaicinfo.org/get-involved/discover/  Or, contact them and learn more about a “No Shush” event at your church.

Story made possible by DOCUmation

DOCUmation provides IT, print, and software solutions to businesses and nonprofits throughout Texas. As a company that values character, community, and customer, our goal is to provide service that serves. We want what we do to not only serve our customers needs, but also our community’s needs. Giving back creates a ripple that can reach places you never thought possible. Every time we partner with a nonprofit, we uphold our commitment to leave our community better than when we started. Each year, DOCUmation proudly supports nonprofits throughout our community. When you partner with us, you support them, too. 

 

Written by

Inez Kirchner

Inez Kirchner, a San Antonio native, is passionate about telling stories and helping others find their voice. She has been a professional writer for more than a decade. She enjoys art, world travel, and going to the river with her husband and son.


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