After 25 years of service, it’s time the unsung hero called Developing Potential, Inc. becomes a household name.

“DPI is a hidden gem,” says Amy Cox, director of Development, “but I LOVE LOVE LOVE sharing DPI’s story with the community.”

The mission of DPI is to provide quality day habilitation services to adults with developmental disabilities and to support them to reach their potential and achieve a dignified, adult lifestyle.

DPI opened its first location in 1993 at 16th and Prospect, its Independence location in 2002, and Lee’s Summit in 2008. This nationally-accredited, non-profit was founded to provide a setting where individuals having developmental disabilities could continue to grow after they graduate from high school.

Amy says that many people don’t realize that the services available for special-needs students during high school are not automatically in place for them as adults.

“DPI currently serves 150 people and has an extensive waiting list, which reveals the struggle to get quality services for adult loved ones having special needs.”

Amy says that individuals without services experience loss of connection to their peers and community. “We’re all created to connect to each other. It’s a fundamental part of being human. Without strong and varied connections, these individuals suffer.”

Amy says that DPI is undergoing a capital campaign to build an additional community center site in Lee’s Summit. “This would help alleviate our wait list and allow opportunities for the public to connect with those we serve.”

DPI uses the Gentle Teaching model to create a gentle environment for all.

“We create a space where people feel safe and loved,” Amy says. “The relationships are real, and the staff of 75 employees is amazing. The people we serve are gifted, loving individuals who enrich my life enormously.”

One special-needs adult especially touched Amy’s heart.

“This individual started with DPI’s day program but didn’t speak to anyone. Our staff continued to serve her with patience and love. Over time, she whispered to one staff member, barely audibly. Then a little more audibly. Eventually, she spoke quietly to other staff members and then other attendees. Today, she works at a real estate agency with the support of DPI’s Employment Connections program. She’s a shining example of what patience, love, high expectations, and perseverance can do.”

Amy says another example reveals the importance of family.

“One of our individuals had been in foster care and never known his real family, which created great loneliness for him. DPI was able to clear some legal obstacles to introduce the family members to each other. This was a day of pure joy that had a lasting impact on their lives. They continue to have contact and are proud of their family connections.”

One way the community can get involved with DPI is through its annual Community Recognition Gala on November 10 at Unity Village, which includes several auctions, a keynote speaker and a community awards presentation.

“We really need a new facility in Lee’s Summit to serve individuals from throughout Jackson County — so they’re not sitting at home, but are engaging with the community. These adults require a lifespan of quality supports, and they deserve that. I invite the community to come to DPI to tour the facilities and meet the people we love and support and to celebrate all the gifts they have to offer.”

For more info and ways to support, contact: Developing Potential, Inc. 251 NW Executive Way, Lee’s Summit, MO 64063

816.525.6000 ext. 101

DevelopingPotential.org