Hagerstown Center Focuses on CDS

August 2022

Community Development Services (CDS) provide the individualized support people living with disabilities need to enjoy full lives within their communities.  Unified’s Hagerstown Center is making CDS a priority.  “All of our services are community based,” says Michele Sutton, director of services for Washington County.  “We support an individual in having a meaningful day.”

Most of the individuals who participate in Unified’s CDS program live with their families or on their own.  They may participate in Unified’s CDS program one-on-one with a CDS staff member or within a group.  Individuals have the freedom to structure their days doing the things they want to do or participate in groups with individuals who have similar interests and goals.

“Every participant has a CDS goal and a voice in what they would like to do to meet their goals,” Michele explains.  She and her staff plan daily activities and outings five days a week to support these goals and to enhance the growth and development of skills that are needed to accomplish basic community tasks and be active within the community.

A typical day for a CDS group begins with getting picked up by one of Unified’s accessible vans.  The activities are as varied as the individuals who participate.  Recent activities include bowling, fishing, a trip to the beauty salon for mani-pedis and visits to a variety of parks, lakes, petting zoos and museums.  

Michele says, “Unified’s CDS program is a team effort.  We love to see participants excited about an activity, and we are always looking for opportunities to broaden their experiences.  We receive a lot of feedback from our staff who are with the individuals every day, and we use it to guide our programming and enrich the quality of life for the people we support.”