ProjectABLE: Joy and Togetherness

Amid chilly air and dim days this winter, ProjectABLE helped lift the spirits of adults with disabilities.

Founded in the late 1980s due to the large number of group homes for disabled adults in Faribault, ProjectABLE is a program providing opportunities for social interaction, recreation, and education, specifically for adults 18 and older with a reported disability.

“There are so many programs for youth with disabilities, but not many for adults,” said Cassie Riopelle, co-coordinator for ProjectABLE.

Riopelle graduated from Faribault High School in 2009. She studied elementary and special education in college and is licensed to teach those with learning disabilities.

She says many ProjectABLE participants work during the day and live in group homes. ProjectABLE provides opportunities for them to socialize together. Events are often rife with laughter and good-hearted ribbing. Some of the favorite activities include classes called “food finds” -- making healthy recipes together, as well as classes in arts and crafts, and group music along with the opportunity to make instruments. What tops them all, however, is the ever-popular pizza-bingo. It happens every other Friday and participants have chances to win prizes.

"There are so many programs for youth with disabilities but not many for adults."

With Rice County Area United Way’s recent $6,000 grant, Riopelle reports that ProjectABLE can now offer classes for 50 percent off. Because of these subsidized costs, the program has doubled in size.

“We’ve seen a huge uptick in our enrollment. Classes are fuller, and participants can pick up to 2-3 crafts or food finds and pizza bingo instead of having to choose,” Riopelle shared. She also hopes to eventually offer the events at no cost at all.

Join the Fun

ProjectABLE is always looking for people to join in to help. Some of the more skilled-based needs are for volunteers to translate American Sign Language, because professional interpreters are expensive to hire for events. That said, every helping hand is welcome! Those interested in helping out are welcome to stop by in person at the Faribault Education Center or fill out their interest form.

In addition, ProjectABLE would gratefully welcome gift cards, specifically for Godfather's Pizza or grocery stores, and prizes including DVDs, candy, Hot Wheels cars, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and deodorant.

Written by Masyn Rykhus