CSS Celebrates its 25-Year Anniversary
Twenty Five Years of Exemplary Service to Our Community
On Sunday, November 10th, 2019 Community Support Services Inc. celebrated twenty-five years of providing support services to children and adults with developmental disabilities in our community. This anniversary belongs to all of us, as many people contributed to make this journey possible. Our community includes individuals and their families who shared their dreams and partnered with their teams to meet their needs; the dedicated employees including both the caring direct support professionals and the administrative team; the government officials who have given us aid and encouragement; and the businesses who provide work experiences
for supported individuals as well as needed goods and services. We appreciate that friends and families came to mark this momentous occasion and commemorate our journey together over the past twenty-five years.
Senator Chris Van Hollen attended our celebration and presented CSS with a citation from the Senate of the United States of America. Senator Van Hollen recounted the advocacy efforts that resulted in improvements in services for those with disabilities in which CSS participated. Congressman Raskin attended and spoke of the dedication and leadership role CSS plays in the disability community. Councilmembers Sidney Katz, Evan Glass, Andrew Friedson, and Thomas Hucker attended, presented a Proclamation from the Montgomery County Council and expressed their appreciation for twenty-five years of service.
Over four hundred people participated in our celebration to tell the story of how CSS began and grew. The CSS chorus performed with great energy and enthusiasm. The senior leadership of CSS described how each service began and where we are now. CSS has listened to, and responded to, the needs of our community, developing and changing as the needs of people changed.
CSS was incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1994 by Susan Ingram and Tammie Snyder. The state of Maryland was moving funding to community services as it transitioned people from state institutions and returned others from out-of-state placements. The government awarded a contract to CSS to develop residential and supported employment services for six people in our first year. In August of 1994 we leased and licensed the first apartment and now operate fifty four residences providing residential support services for over one hundred children and adults. Adult day services have also expanded to include individuals who live with their families in Montgomery County and now serves a total of 176 individuals on a daily basis. The CSS model is highly individualized for those with intensive needs and includes a balance of vocational, recreational, and community instructional activities.
In 2006 CSS developed the Marcia D. Smith school, a nonpublic special education program for students in need of residential or separate day special education services. Students have received community based instruction to facilitate their transition to adult services. Twenty-five students are currently enrolled in the school; all of whom receive residential or wrap-around services designed to meet their needs.
In 1994, CSS began a two week summer camp for twelve children in the basement of a church. A wide range of wrap-around services for children have since been developed to meet the needs of children at risk of out of home placement. While funding sources changed over the years, CSS designed individualized service plans for each child with a focus on inclusion in community life. Now, CSS provides after-school services to over fifty children a day, operates a Saturday program in the community, and organizes special camps during teacher workdays and school holidays in addition to a summer camp from June through Labor Day. From 1994 to today, CSS has responded to the needs of individuals and their families and we will continue to find new ways to support each person in the pursuit of his or her life’s goals.
The most important principle in the development and delivery of quality services is that it takes everyone. What has been built so far in Maryland will evolve and change. We all have a responsibility to be involved, to ensure the changes are helpful, that they include everyone, that they are fair and equitable, and provide for safety as well as honor interests and preferences. This service delivery system is fragile; it depends on good government decisions, and our advocacy will be needed going forward. We need to work with our county and state officials, and inform our elected officials of how they can help.
Together, we will strive to continue the work to build a truly inclusive, individualized, and comprehensive service delivery system through which people, with CSS support, can flourish.
Pictures from our event can be found here: https://www.css-md.org/25th-anniversary-celebration
the full-length video of our event can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6PPhYCqcB0&feature=youtu.be