Winning Wheels Celebrates 30 Years

Fall 2009
Family Fun Fair

On September 30th, Winning Wheels celebrated 30 years of serving individuals with mobility or neurological impairments. The facility, originally opened in 1979, was the fulfillment of a nine-year effort to fund and construct a specialized care center for wheelchair users and was first conceived by Mike Maki, a quadriplegic who hoped to open a facility for young adults. Before Winning Wheels, most wheelchair users went to geriatric nursing homes. Mike, then a resident of Riverside Good Samaritan Nursing Home in Prophetstown, organized a grassroots effort to raise the money to make his dream come true.

In the 30 years since we opened, we have served the needs of over 600 residents. Winning Wheels also serves the community by holding the annual “Safe Wheels Bicycle Rodeo,” through which it has contributed more than 1100 bicycle helmets to students of Prophetstown Grade School as part of our brain injury prevention program, is a regular donor to the local Food Pantry, and is one of the largest employers in the area.

We have also grown into a provider of more extensive services. Now, along with the original facility, we offer care for developmentally disabled individuals at S.T.R.I.V.E., developmental and vocational training programs and a child daycare center at Lyndon Progress Center, and more independent living at Frontier Hollow. Over 100 visitors joined us in celebrating our anniversary at our open house and Family Fun Fair, where residents, staff and friends enjoyed food, games and prizes.

Winning Wheels Residents Transported by Music

Fall 2009
We've Got Talent!

Winning Wheels believes it is important that our residents are invited to express themselves in many different ways. Michelle Mortensen, our Director of Music Therapy, leads solo and groups of residents in making music and singing along with their own music. Participants are encouraged to play the instrument of the day, which may be a drum, washboard, tambourine, or xylophone. The really fun part is when everybody has a different instrument playing at once! Music Therapy facilitates self expression, sensory stimulation, experience in gross and fine motor skills and decision making. Music is known to stimulate, relax, and bring residents back to another time. Many residents find Music Therapy so enjoyable, they don't even know they're working!

Winning Wheels Creation Station Woodshop

Spring 2009
Let's Get Creative!

Winning Wheels residents get creative in the Creation Station woodshop and are rewarded for their efforts at a monthly pizza party. RJ Tolley, who has hosted the parties for 3 1/2 years now, says they are funded with money made from the sale of the items made in the woodshop. Residents have made such items as benches, stools, plant stands and Adirondack chairs.

Not only do the residents make these items in the Creation Station, but also socialize there by playing checkers and putting puzzles together. Staff with offices near the woodshop will tell you there is always music playing and singing is often heard coming from the room.

The purpose of the woodshop is to teach learning and memory strategies and interpersonal and organization skills, but it's also a really fun place to hang out.

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