New Picayune service supports individuals with intellectual, developmental disabilities

Published 1:31 pm Thursday, August 13, 2020

PICAYUNE – A collaboration between Saint Francis Ministries and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church will offer Picayune area adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities opportunities for fun and educational activities.

Saint Francis Day Services – Adult opened its doors Aug. 3, 2020, at 1421 Goodyear Blvd., IN a building at St. Paul’s campus that formerly housed the parish’s education center.

“We’re excited to expand Saint Francis services in this area, reaching beyond the residential living facilities we currently have in Picayune and Gulfport, to support adults with IDD in Mississippi,” said Jason Kirkland, director of operations for Saint Francis Mississippi programs. “Day services offer participants the ability to expand their horizons through building relationships with others and learning new daily living skills.”

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Day services also afford caretakers a chance to take a break while knowing their loved one is in a safe, supportive environment, he added.

The 2,300-square-foot building had been vacant, and Kirkland’s staff and church staff have been working hard there to create an atmosphere that will be welcoming to as many as 37 program participants daily. The building has been inspected by the State of Mississippi and the new program received its certification to open, Kirkland said.

“Saint Francis is well established in Picayune and has an excellent reputation,” said Joel Wesson, Sr. Warden at the church. “St Paul’s is community oriented, and we’re always looking to help those in need. Working with Saint Francis to create this new day services program seemed a natural fit. We have a building that fits their requirements, enabling them to provide a much-needed service to the community. This partnership has the added benefit of keeping the St. Paul’s campus in use during the week.”

Plans to open Saint Francis Day Services have been in the works for several months and were delayed because of the pandemic, Kirkland said.

“We’re excited to open and to be providing these community services,” Kirkland said. In the two facilities Saint Francis operates, Bridgeway in Picayune and Cheshire in Gulfport, Saint Francis already provides supervised living and employment services to adults with IDD. The new program will expand the organization’s ability to support the community.

Typically in programs like this, participants will come one or two days a week, Kirkland said. While the building is licensed to serve 37 adults daily, the number of participants served in the community likely will number 75 or more.

Saint Francis Day Services creates six part- and full-time jobs in Picayune.

Families interested in enrolling a loved one in Adult Day Services can call 601.749.4848.