Providing a Support System

Providing a home means many things, including building a support system that addresses all aspects of personal well-being. Positive experiences and interactions with others elevate an individual’s self-worth. These experiences help St. Louis Center residents reach their full human potential. 

At the core of St. Louis Center are its services and programs. St. Louis Center staff members work with residents’ parents, guardians, direct care professionals, and caseworkers to ensure that each resident’s specific needs are met. Services include on-site nursing staff, social work department, and specialized food preparation of home-cooked meals accommodating individual dietary needs.

St. Louis Center strives to provide unique programs for residents and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities from the community that help them develop their full human potential. Residential programs range from local employment, public education, and field trips to community events and therapies. SLC also offers non-residents with I/DD the opportunity to participate in its day program and respite care.


St. Louis Center offers the following services:

  • Assessment
  • Development of Person-Centered Planning
  • Basic and preventive health care services; medication management; regular follow-up with residents’ medical providers
  • Help with referrals and provide transportation to specialized behavioral, medical, and mental health services
  • Emotional and spiritual support
  • Enrollment in formal schooling and support for adults up to age 26
  • Maintain close working relationships with residents’ teachers and counselors
  • Job placement and retention services
  • Transportation to and from places of employment
  • Preparation for community living
  • Onsite programs that build body, mind and spirit
  • Extracurricular activities, volunteering, special events, field trips, home visits for family integration, and other activities (view programs below)
Families of residents who reside at St. Louis Center are encouraged to visit and remain involved in their loved ones’ lives.


To be eligible for admission into one of St. Louis Center’s residential homes or day/respite non-residential services and programs, an individual must have a diagnosis of an intellectual/developmental disability and cognitive impairment (Full-Scale IQ less than 70) that significantly impairs life skills in the following areas:

  • Self-care, personal care, and independence
  • Expressive/receptive language
  • Learning
  • The ability to make healthy personal decisions
  • The ability to relate to others in a positive way

During an intake interview the treatment team will have a more in-depth discussion about the individual’s needs addressing areas of:

  • Feeding
  • Bathing/personal hygiene
  • Mental health status, behaviors/needs & support
  • Sleeping
  • Social skills

Length of stay varies and is based on residents’ needs.

St. Louis Center’s Social Work staff advocate for the residents of SLC.
officeThe Social Work Department is staffed by a team of qualified Social Workers and support staff who are involved with the residents in many areas of their lives from admission to discharge. The department provides ongoing support, enhancing residents’ quality of life, and provides assistance with community connections. As a team, the social work department works to encourage the residents to strive for independence to the best of their ability, while recognizing them for the dignity to direct and encourage choice in their own lives. They work to ensure that SLC is the right placement for each individual, that his or her personal care plan is followed, and that regular gains and progress are made.

The Social Work Department manages the following:

  • Assists CMH in implementation and monitoring of goals and behavioral plans; Oversees Treatment Planning for those who are not a CMH participant
  • Liaise with the residents’ medical providers, agency workers, family members, and guardians regarding basic and preventive mental health and basic care services
  • Regular follow-up with residents’ medical providers; psychiatric and other mental health services
  • Oversee educational placement and programming
  • Individualized counseling services
  • Ongoing communication with family members, guardians, agency workers, medical and educational personnel, and courts when required
  • Admissions and Discharge for all services and programs
  • Help families and potential residents who want to learn more about resident admission and how to apply.

“I love it when they just stop by to ask how I’m doing. The bond with them and camaraderie is really special.  I believe they are equal to us, regardless of their need.  Meeting them on their level and seeing their growth is so rewarding.”   -Sheryl Mohr, Former Social Services Supervisor

Meet some of our Social Services Specialists here.

The St. Louis Center nursing staff is the fuel that powers the agency.

The medical needs of the residents are varied and can be extensive, making St. Louis Center all the more blessed to have compassionate medical staff who care deeply about every person who walks through their door.

On a daily basis, the St. Louis Center nursing staff:

  • Manage medications, including monitoring of effectiveness and side effects
  • Assess residents for illness or injury to determine whether their illness warrants a doctor visit
  • Respond to medical emergencies and facilitate transportation to local emergency rooms
  • Liaise with the residents’ medical providers to determine a medical plan that is most effective with the least amount of medications
  • Liaise with the interdisciplinary team at St. Louis Center to review residents’ progress with regard to medical plans.
  • Provide therapeutic communication with doctors and the pharmacy
  • Communicate with families, guardians, and work/school
  • Take blood pressure
  • Track residents heart rate
  • Observe residents with diabetes
  • Measure height and weight
  • Chart temperatures
  • Assist direct care staff with resident care


“The new medication system has completely changed our nursing department and allowed us to focus on all aspects of nursing.”   -Emily Wild, SLC Staff LPN

Meet some our Nursing Staff here.  Read more about SLC’s Nursing Department transformation here.

St. Louis Center’s Food Services Department infuses the flavors of home into every meal and snack that passes through their kitchen.
kitchenThrough their culinary creations, the food services staff are central to not only bringing everyone together but also being mindful of the importance of a healthy diet. The Department’s role at the Center is vital with a reputation that extends beyond the kitchen, having earned praises from countless guests and supporters that are never hesitant to come back for more.

The Food Services Department staff:

  • Prepare approximately 29,000 home-cooked meals per year including sack lunches and snacks
  • Prepare weekly menus for each home
  • Determine ingredients needed and source them
  • Order ingredients used by staff and residents who prepare their own meals
  • Liase with nursing staff to accommodate individual dietary needs
  • Prepare specialty meals and foods for guests and events
  • To reach the Food Services Department, contact St. Louis Center.
Modified Diets

Some residents require modified diets for one or more of the following needs:

  • Calorie Count (high or low)
  • Carbohydrate Count
  • Diabetes
  • Food Allergies
  • Swallowing issues – food must be chopped, ground, or processed

Read more about Food Service: The Heart of St. Louis Center here.

Residential Programs

St. Louis Center programs are designed to provide people with I/DD with an enriching, dignified, respectful, safe, comfortable, and supportive environment in which their right to self-determination and personal decision-making are honored.


St. Louis Center’s Residential Family

St. Louis Center strives to provide its residents with opportunities that will help them develop their full human potential. They participate in a variety of on- and off-site programs and therapies each week, many of which are also open to non-residential Day Program and Respite Care guests.

Staff embrace the residents as a family. They ensure that the residents receive the assistance and supervision that is needed with the activities of daily life. The Residential Program Director, Supervisors, and Direct Care Professionals staff members lead by example, striving to help residents develop new abilities and talents.

St. Louis Center continuously looks for ways to enhance program offerings through potential partnerships and collaboration with organizations throughout the community.

Residential staff daily care:
  • Provide residents assistance with their daily needs
  • Assist residents with organizing their homes and schedules
  • Provide informal instruction in areas such as personal hygiene, refining their social skills, decision making, etc.
  • Lead residents in on- and off-site activities
  • Ensure residents’ safety, security, and supervision
  • Create opportunities for personal growth and wellness
  • Transport residents to and from activities, appointments, visits
  • Facilitate enrichment programs including scheduled therapies and extracurricular activities
  • Special events, holiday celebrations, field trips, home visits for family integrations
  • Participation in Michigan Special Olympics, Kiwanis Aktion Club, Optimist Club, and others
Carlie HardwickPartner with Us

If you’re interested in partnering or know an individual that would like to participate in new or existing programs, submit this form or contact Carlie Hartwick, Assistant Residential Program Director at 734-475-8430 to pursue something new!

Two female adults assist a disabled ma in the St. Louis Center lobbyDirect Care Staff

SLC Direct Care Professionals provide round-the-clock care for residents – a community of care that becomes a family. Meet Direct Care Supervisors here, and read stories about life at St. Louis Center here.

Non-Residential Programs

Individuals with I/DD who wish to participate in St. Louis Center Day Programs or be a Respite Care guest must meet the eligibility requirements listed under Services and fill out an application. Please contact the Social Services Department at 734-475-8430 with inquiries.


St. Louis Center’s adult residents who are not employed or are employed part-time have the opportunity to participate in St. Louis Center’s Day Program. Through the assistance of Direct Care Professionals and volunteers, residents learn basic life skills, teamwork, and independence. Some skills that they are taught include how to care for plants and flowers, basic cooking skills, how to set a table, and creating arts and crafts. Residents interact with one another and deliver Meals on Wheels to the local elderly people that live in the extended community, improving their social skills (pictured).

The Day Program is located in the Life Enrichment Area, but program participants also leave St. Louis Center for field trips and outside learning experiences.


Respite Care services are designed to meet the needs of families and agencies who need a place for their loved one/client to stay while they take a break or attend to other needs. The average length of stay is typically from two to seven days but is flexible. Our guests stay in an assigned bedroom, based on their needs, with adjoining baths and are included in the Center’s activities.

Respite stays are an excellent way for an individual with intellectual and developmental disabilities who live at home to make new friends and expand their horizons.

Individuals who wish to take part in the SLC Respite Care program must meet admission criteria (listed under Services) and may apply for respite care here.

Community Integration

Community EngagementPeople with intellectual and developmental disabilities are like all of us; their lives are made much richer when they have the ability to work in and be involved with the community. St. Louis Center engages with the community on several levels in order to build awareness and promote acceptance. St. Louis Center’s residents are part of the fabric of Chelsea community life and they make Chelsea an even better community.

Chelsea and the surrounding communities offer many opportunities to engage with the residents on the St. Louis Center campus. Residents of St. Louis Center are provided regular opportunities to participate in activities and experiences outside of the Center, including competitive employment opportunities. Through these experiences, they explore Chelsea, Ann Arbor, Jackson, and surrounding communities. They volunteer, work, participate, and build healthy relationships with others.

St. Louis Center also welcomes groups of community volunteers to engage with the residents by working with the Program Director, Rick Visel, to organize sports, arts and crafts, barbecues and other activities. For more information, please contact Rick Visel or call the Center at 734-475-8430.

Community Engagement Activities

St. Louis Center offers a variety of therapies, fitness opportunities, volunteer activities, local outings, and special events scheduled to engage residents and enhance community life, both on campus and in the larger community.

On-Campus Music & Pet Therapies

Studies have shown the great benefits of music. Residents of all ages are given the opportunity to play instruments during the weekly Music Therapy sessions offered in the main building on campus.

Service dog handlers have also been bringing their certified Therapy Dogs to St. Louis Center for campus visits. The impact these faithful friends have had on Center residents is priceless.

Regular Local Outings

Residents of St. Louis Center regularly visit the Chelsea District Library and local restaurants.

Interested residents are provided transportation to bible study groups in the community and to weekly services to other denominations. Catholic services are provided on-site and in Chelsea. Residents also have the opportunity to go to sporting events, local theatre productions, Sights & Sounds, the Chelsea Fair, and to partake in Challengers Bowling, Special Olympics, and volunteer activities like Meals on Wheels.

Health and FItness Opportunities

St. Louis Center residents have the opportunity to participate in various activities in conjunction with the Chelsea Wellness Center and to bowl with fellow Saturday Morning Challengers at Belmark Lanes in Ann Arbor. Residents also may attend Special Olympics annually.

Ballet Chelsea offers Move and Groove classes on campus for residents in the Day Program during the week. Several residents go off campus to Ballet Chelsea on Fridays for Adaptive Dance.

Festivals and Special Events

The residents’ lives are made richer by regular outings to local and regional sporting events, festivals, and other special activities such as the Hometown Holidays Parade, Sounds and Sights, and other seasonal community events.

Resident Volunteer Activities

St. Louis Center residents volunteer at numerous community events such as the Chelsea Community Fair, the Heart and Sole race, Chelsea High School football games, Faith-in-Action, Meals on Wheels, Goodwill, St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea, the Chelsea Summer Fest, and the Grass Lake Sanctuary.

Kiwanis Aktion Club

Kiwanis Clubs from the area made their mark on campus when they facilitated the charter of the St. Louis Center Aktion Club. This organization has led to leadership opportunities for the residents and a chance for them to give back to the communities that have been so generous to them.

Through their involvement with the Kiwanis Aktion Club, residents of St. Louis Center are developing their leadership and social skills by identifying, organizing, and carrying-out charitable projects at the local level.

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