FRIDAY FOCUS: Bay Community Support Services

Bay Community Support Services (Bay-CSS) is a terrific organization that dedicates their time and resources to providing living services, care and Bay CSSopportunities for people with disabilities. Bay Community Support Services is able to provide the assistance people with disabilities need, while still giving them independence they desire. Community Bank of the Chesapeake recently had the honor of assisting Bay-CSS on “Day of Caring” with some of their group home landscaping and got to see first-hand the wonderful service they provide. After speaking to Brandy Blackstone, Communications Manager at Bay Community Support Services, we learned about one of their favorite moments and their upcoming golf tournament!

Q: Tell us about your organization (who you serve, what you do, etc.)

A: Bay Community Support Services (Bay-CSS) is an area provider that supports individuals with disabilities to live and work successfully in their community. Our services are customized to the individual’s personal needs and include residential support both in the individual’s home and in group home settings, vocational support including supportive employment and job coaching, day activity programs, transportation, nursing care and much more. We serve individuals from young adults who are transitioning out of the school system to older adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities including Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Autism and a wide range of physical disabilities.

Q: What is your favorite “moment” (example of how your organization helped)?

A: This is our 25th Anniversary of serving individuals with disabilities and their families throughout Central and Southern Maryland (Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s Counties). There are so many success stories, but one that stands out the most is the success one of our individuals has achieved. The young man I am referring to is named Stephen. Stephen had just graduated from high school and came to us seeking support to help him find a job 25 years ago. Stephen had never had a job, had few skills and he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with his life. Stephen has cerebral palsy and an intellectual disability and there were few opportunities available for him. Even though his mom and dad were great, he knew he didn’t want to live at home with them forever. Stephen and Bay-CSS gave it their best – looking at what Stephen wanted to do and finding him a series of jobs. He eventually found one that fit him at Giant Foods and he’s now been there for 21 years. One success led to another and with supports from Bay-CSS, he even moved into his own apartment! Now, with only a few hours of support from Bay-CSS a week, Stephen is a contributing community participant. He is living a successful, challenging and self-fulfilling life – dating his girlfriend of two years, living on his own, working at a job he loves, and giving back by volunteering regularly with the local Boy Scouts Chapter. Bay-CSS is thrilled and honored to have been part of Stephen’s success story.

Q: What is your biggest challenge?

A: One of the biggest challenges we face is the cost of transportation. We have an aging fleet of vehicles that we maintain. Bay-CSS is licensed by and receives partial funding from the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA), however, the funding our agency receives isn’t enough to cover the ever growing cost of the comprehensive programs and services we provide – particularly with purchasing new vehicles to supplement our aging fleet.

Q: Are there any upcoming events?

A: To supplement the funding Bay-CSS receives from DDA, it is necessary for our agency to depend on generous donors and our own fundraising events. Our largest event of the year is coming up on September 12, 2016 – it’s our Annual Golf Tournament & Silent Auction that is being held at the beautiful Golf Club at South River in Edgewater, Maryland. We welcome support from wonderful organizations like yours. There are many great ways to show your support – there are many volunteer opportunities available, you can join us for a fun day of golf for a great cause, or you can become one of our valued donors or sponsors. Please visit the golf section of our site (https://www.baycss.org/golf.html) for more information or contact Brandy Blackstone at (301) 863-8870, ext. 322 or blackstoneb@baycss.org.

Q: How can people get involved with your organization?

A: Volunteers, donors and sponsors are always welcome. In addition to our Annual Golf Tournament, we have an Annual 5k/10k event that takes place in April in St. Mary’s County (the Annual Walk, Run & Roll), and we are always looking for volunteers to assist at any of our 12 residential group homes throughout Central and Southern Maryland. We are also now offering an Adopt a Group home program that allows organizations to sponsor one of our homes and help with the ongoing care of the home. These are all wonderful ways to support Bay-CSS’ and the individuals with disabilities whom we are proud to serve.

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