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Live Here - FAQS

Who can I speak with about applying to live at St. Louis Center?
Are you seeking a home for a loved one with I/DD?

If you are interested in learning more about residency at St. Louis Center, please contact the Social Work Department at 734-475-8430 for more information.

Interested in a tour of St. Louis Center facilities?

If you are interested in touring St. Louis Center to explore the possibility of residency for a loved one, submit this form.

1. Are there organizations comparable to St. Louis Center?

There are many models of residential care for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Apartment and group home living are two of the most common. 

2. How does St. Louis Center differ from other similar organizations?

St. Louis Center’s campus-based group home model is unique in that residents reside on campus in group homes and have regular, ongoing opportunities to be part of the wider Chelsea community.  This is in keeping with our faith-based mission that there are no "limited persons," but rather persons with limits.

3. Who supports St. Louis Center?

St. Louis Center is supported by the generosity of private individuals, foundations, corporations, organizations, and businesses. Local parishes, state and local Knights of Columbus councils and the Alhambra Caravan also support St. Louis Center through their charitable collections.

4. Does the Catholic Diocese of Lansing provide support to St. Louis Center?

The Catholic Diocese of Lansing promotes St. Louis Center’s work through its Faith Magazine and its affiliate organizations. They do not provide financial support to St. Louis Center.

5. What is the greatest obstacle that inhibits the fulfillment of St. Louis Center's mission?

St. Louis Center is challenged to raise operating funds necessary to cover the cost of the benevolent care that lies at the heart of the Center’s mission. Annually the Center must raise approximately $2.3M to bridge the gap between the actual cost of benevolent care and funds received.

6. What outcomes has St. Louis Center seen through its work?

Since 1960, St. Louis Center has served over 750 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Measurable outcomes that have been achieved throughout the Center’s history go well beyond number of people served. They include resident and family satisfaction scores, achievement of personal goals, adoption and family reunification rates, employment rates, academic success and graduation rates, involvement in community-based volunteering and in fitness and wellness activities, among others. St. Louis Center strengthens families and helps meet their emotional needs by caring for their loved one with I/DD.

7. How many people reside at St. Louis Center and what is the Center's capacity?

The Center has the capacity to serve 64 residents.

The Center also provides non-residential Respite Services to families who are caring for members with I/DD, and welcomes individuals from the community into the Day Program.

8. What programs or activities does St. Louis Center facilitate for its residents?

St. Louis Center offers a wide array of programs and activities for its residents that service their emotional, physical, and spiritual needs.

Activities of daily living (ADL) include but are not limited to:

  • Life-skills training (communication and relationship-building, cooking, cleaning, personal care, etc.)
  • Work activities on- and off-campus
  • Regular opportunities to exercise and move more on- and off-site through “Fitness for Life”
  • Non-directive therapy in the soothing, yet stimulating Snoezelen Room for residents with Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Programs to address the spiritual needs of residents
  • Therapy dog visits once/week 
  • A music therapist from Harmony Gardens comes out once/week visiting each housing unit
  • Participation in campus recycling program that allows residents further opportunity for community contribution

Recreational activities

  • Art activities
  • Field trips to local parks, visits to the Chelsea Public Library, theaters, street fairs (Chelsea's Sounds and Sights weekly summer street festival), movies, and Tigers and Lugnuts games
  • Saturday Morning Challengers Bowling League in Ann Arbor, sponsored by St. Louis Center
  • Participation in Kiwanis Aktion Club, a club for people with I/DD that promotes leadership development
  • Activities organized by the Knights of Columbus
  • Participation in Michigan Special Olympics
  • Learn about / attend approximately twelve cultural events/year
  • Ballet Chelsea has provided residents with classes to help with balance and flexibility.

Age-appropriate enrollment in formal schooling through the Chelsea School District including maintaining close working relationships with residents’ teachers and counselors

  • Academic support
  • After school work and life enhancement opportunities
9. On a typical day, what does a St. Louis Center resident do?

Activities vary, depending upon the resident's age and disability:

Residents ages 18-26 continue to attend school. St. Louis Center residents attend the Young Adult Programs of the local school systems which provide them with academic support, life skills training, recreational activities, and volunteer opportunities. They are transported to and from school by the public school system. In the late afternoon and evening, they enjoy socializing with one another, working out on site or at the Chelsea Wellness Center, going on field trips, or engaging in special events. Residents in this age group with more severe disabilities are provided one-on-one support throughout the day, both at school and at St. Louis Center.

Often, high school youth groups, 4-H, or other community groups come to St. Louis Center to interact with the residents in the evening and on the weekends. These mutually beneficial activities normally take place out of doors or in the gym, depending upon the weather.

The majority of residents who are no longer in school are employed in the community, either through private employment or through the Washtenaw County Community Mental Health. St. Louis Center's social work staff endeavor to facilitate regular community employment opportunities for adults living at the Center. Residents enrolled in Washtenaw County Community Mental Health perform regular community volunteering, supporting such agencies as Faith-in-Action, Goodwill, Meals on Wheels, and local churches.

St. Louis Center operates an Adult Day Program five days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The Day Program is set-up for St. Louis Center residents and for individuals receiving respite care at the Center. Day Program staff strives to ensure that each participant is engaging in activities that support his or her individualized needs.

Day Program activities include delivering Meals on Wheels, art, recycling, cooking, sorting and organizing donated food and other items, making decorations for special events, maintaining the agency bulletin board, gardening, reading, walking, playing board games, going on field trips, and entertaining guests.

Like everyone, the people who live at St. Louis Center enjoy integration with their families on weekends, holidays, and vacations; going out; engaging in meaningful activities; being with their friends; and working.

10. How do the residents of St. Louis Center spend their summers?

During the summer months, school-age residents are provided with safe, fun filled enrichment activities, including excursions and field trips. Some residents qualify for the “extended school year” and attend school until the middle of August while others attend summer school. Each year, St. Louis Center raises funds at its annual Dinner Auction Event to help offset the cost of one week of overnight camp for many residents.

Residents who are employed continue their work throughout the summer months but participate in late afternoon, evening and weekend activities planned to make their summers enjoyable and enriching.

11. Where are St. Louis Center residents from?

The majority of St. Louis Center’s residents originate from Michigan, primarily Wayne and Washtenaw Counties. SLC cares for individuals from throughout the state of Michigan and occasionally from out-of-state. Residents are privately placed by their families or caregivers or by the State of Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

12. Do residents still interact with their families?

St. Louis Center highly values family relationships and believes that family care elements are the key to personal formation. Through its family integration program, those residents who have family outside of St. Louis Center visit them often. The Center provides the transportation necessary for residents to see their families.

13. How long do residents stay at St. Louis Center?

Length of stay is determined on a case by case basis. Some residents have left and have come back, based on their individual circumstances. Some have lived at the Center for more than 40 years. Still others, who have learned the skills necessary to live independently, have moved to apartments. St. Louis Center provides a continuum of care for its residents, with the objective of preparing residents to become as independent as possible in whatever setting best meets their needs.

14. What is St. Louis Center’s vision for the future?

In 2010, its 50th anniversary year, St. Louis Center created a blueprint for its future, the Legacy Project, which lays the foundation for continued program excellence. Through the Legacy Project, St. Louis Center is responding to the major challenges on the horizon for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. One of the greatest challenges is to meet the housing and care needs of the growing number of people who are aging and whose family members or other caregivers can no longer care for them.

Development of the Legacy Project is taking the Center's work to a new level of local, regional, and statewide impact by creating life-long care for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Future plans include counseling and other services for the whole family in order to maintain family unity.

Work Here​​Work Here - FAQs

Who can I speak about working at St. Louis Center?

Contact Human Resources Director, Tom Arbanas, by phone 734-475-8430 or email thomasa@stlouiscenter.org, about working at St. Louis Center.

How do I apply to work at St. Louis Center?

Review job opportunities here.  You may fill out the application form here.

1. What is St. Louis Center?

St. Louis Center is a caring residential community for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities grounded in compassion and the understanding that all people are equal in dignity, regardless of ability. With kindness, patience, personalized services and abundant opportunities, the residents of St. Louis Center are encouraged and supported to reach their full human potential. We share many of life's milestones including celebrations, prayers, work, play, and meals as do families. This family atmosphere that we provide fosters security, independence, and healthy development.

St. Louis Center is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) and has a robust history of continuously improving its services and programs.

Learn more about our Mission & History.

2. Does St. Louis Center offer benefits?

Yes. St. Louis Center offers:

  • Full Health Benefits
  • Dental / Vision
  • Promotion from within
  • Paid Time Off (PTO)

For more details, contact Thomas Arbanas, Human Resources Director.

3. What is direct care work?

Direct care workers at St. Louis Center are employees that provide compassionate care to the people who reside at the Center's campus or who attend the day program. The responsibilities and tasks of these employees are dependent upon the specific individuals in their care. Some people require a high level of assistance while others are more independent.

Some responsibilities of Direct Care Workers:

  • Foster the mission of St. Louis Center
  • Plan and monitor resident activity, ensure security while providing routine time checks that are essential to daily tasks
  • Facilitate residents’ community involvement, with concern for personal growth and safety

Read more about Direct Care Work at St. Louis Center here.

4. What programs or activities does St. Louis Center facilitate for its residents?

St. Louis Center offers a wide array of programs and activities for its residents that service their emotional, physical, and stated spiritual needs.

Activities of daily living (ADL) include but are not limited to:

  • Instruction in self-care
  • Life-skills training (communication and relationship-building, cooking, cleaning, etc.)
  • Work activities on- and off-campus
  • Supervised, independent, or competitive opportunities to exercise and move more on- and off-site through “Fitness for Life”
  • Non-directive therapy in the soothing, yet stimulating Snoezelen Room for residents with Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Programs to address the spiritual needs of residents
  • Art activities
  • Enrollment in formal schooling through the Chelsea School District including maintaining close working relationships with residents’ teachers and counselors
  • Academic support
  • Field trips to local parks, dining out at local restaurants, visits to the Chelsea Public Library, theaters, street fairs (Chelsea's Sounds and Sights weekly summer street festival), movies, and Tigers and Lugnuts games
  • Saturday Morning Challengers Bowling League in Ann Arbor, sponsored by St. Louis Center
  • Participation in Kiwanis Aktion Club, a club for people with I/DD that promotes leadership development, and in activities organized by the Knights of Columbus and the Chelsea Rotary
  • Participation in Michigan Special Olympics
5. On a typical day, what does a St. Louis Center resident do?

Activities vary, depending upon the resident's age and disability:

During the academic year, residents under the age of 26 who attend school are transported to and from school by the public school system. St. Louis Center residents attend the Young Adult Programs of the local school systems which provide them with academic support, life skills training, recreational activities, and volunteer opportunities. In the late afternoon and evening, they enjoy socializing with one another, working out on-site or at the Chelsea Wellness Center, going on field trips, or engaging in special events. 

Often, high school youth groups, 4-H, or other community groups come to St. Louis Center to play and interact with the residents in the evening and on the weekends. These mutually beneficial activities normally take place out of doors or in the gym, depending upon the weather. Residents with more severe disabilities are provided one-on-one support throughout the day, both at school and at St. Louis Center.

The majority of residents who are no longer in school are employed in the community, either through private employment or through the Washtenaw County Community Support Treatment Services (CSTS). St. Louis Center's social work staff endeavor to facilitate regular community employment opportunities for adults living at St. Louis Center. Residents enrolled in CSTS perform regular community volunteering, supporting such agencies as Faith-in-Action, Goodwill, Meals on Wheels, and local churches.

St. Louis Center operates an Adult Day Program five days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The Day Program is set-up for St. Louis Center residents and for individuals receiving respite care at the Center. Day Program staff strives to ensure that each participant is engaging in activities that support his or her individualized needs.

Day Program activities include delivering Meals on Wheels, art, recycling, cooking, sorting and organizing donated food and other items, making decorations for special events, maintaining the agency bulletin board, gardening, reading, walking, playing board games, going on field trips, music therapy, ballet, and entertaining guests.

Like everyone, the people who live at St. Louis Center enjoy integration with their families on weekends, holidays, and vacations; going out; engaging in meaningful activities; being with their friends; and working.

See more about resident activities under Live Here - FAQ #8.

6. How do the residents of St. Louis Center spend their summers?

During the summer months, school-age residents are provided with safe, fun-filled enrichment activities, including excursions and field trips. Some residents qualify for the “extended school year” and attend school until the middle of August while others attend summer school. Each year, St. Louis Center raises funds at its annual Fall Auction & Dinner to help offset the cost of one week of overnight camp for many residents.

Residents who are employed continue their work throughout the summer months but participate in the late afternoon, evening and weekend activities planned to make their summers enjoyable and enriching.

Give Here​Give Here - FAQs

Who can I speak with about donating to St. Louis Center?

St. Louis Center’s Development Department staff would be happy to speak with you about your giving options and to answer any questions you may have about the Center, its programs, and its vision for the future. Email cferris@stlouiscenter.org or call (734) 475-8430 x262.

Come visit us!

Are you interested in seeing the good works that occur every day at St. Louis Center?  Submit this form to set up a visit!

1. Is my donation tax deductible?

All donations to St. Louis Center are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. St. Louis Center’s tax I.D. number is 38-6038121.

2. How has funding for St. Louis Center's annual residential support and Legacy Project been utilized?

Annual residential support funds offset the cost of providing a safe, comfortable, supportive and family-like environment that is respectful of the residents’ right to self-determination and personal decision-making. These funds ensure the highest quality services and provide benevolent care, the cost of care beyond what residents or their families are able to pay.

In 2010, St. Louis Center embarked on the vision of building St. Louis Guanella Village, an integrated community where those with I/DD and those without could live side-by-side in a supported environment. In addition to the main building, constructed in 1960, the campus includes:

  • St. Joseph Hall for young adult men, built in the 1980s
  • Fr. Guanella Hall, a 20-bed assisted living facility for aging men and women, renovated in 2014
  • Four cottage homes for five residents each, opened in 2018

With these most recent additions:

  • Two cottage homes for adult residents opened in Spring 2021
  • An administration building opening soon
  • A duplex and single-family home available for lease to families who would like to live in an integrated community

3. Why is the Legacy Project important to St. Louis Center?

The Legacy Project will sustain the Center’s tradition of delivering compassionate, loving, charitable care to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and will provide them a full continuum of care. The Legacy Project is comprised of renovation and new construction projects, culminating in the construction of St. Louis Guanella Village, as well as the creation of new therapy and enrichment programs.

4. If I am unable to attend a fundraising event, what way could I contribute to the success of the event?

We understand that life is busy and that you may not be able to attend the events that interest you. If that is the case, you could sponsor the event, make a donation online, or help organize another event. Please contact the Development Department staff for more information.

5. I would like to become more familiar with St. Louis Center before I give to help fulfill its mission. How can I learn more?

Come take a tour! Attend one of the fundraising events! We would love to have you. Call our Development Department staff and we will make these arrangements for you.

6. How can I become more involved with St. Louis Center?

A great way to become more involved is to visit the center or attend a fundraising event where you will meet many staff, residents, and dedicated volunteers. Another great way is to volunteer to join a standing fundraising event committee. There are many ways to show you care. We are happy to hear how you might like to be more involved. Call 734-475-8430 x262 or email the Development Department staff to learn more.

7. I can't afford to give St. Louis Center a gift right now, but would like to. What are my options?

You could potentially make a gift to St. Louis Center through planned giving. By definition, a planned gift is any major gift made over a lifetime or at death as part of a donor’s overall financial and/or real estate planning. Often, donors can make larger gifts to an organization through planned giving versus what they could make using their income. Whether a donor uses securities/stock, real estate, artwork, personal property, insurance, a retirement plan, etc. the benefits of planned giving can make this a very attractive way to give for both the donor and for St. Louis Center.