When The School of Piano Technology for the Blind closed its doors for the last time back in July, it brought a wave of sadness to the community that had supported its vision since 1949.
If every cloud has a silver lining then the new occupants of the familiar building at 2510 E Evergreen Boulevard are that hope. Reside Residential Care closed on the roughly 5,000-square-foot space the first of August and they are excited to carry on the core beliefs of the Piano School.
“It (the building) is a great fit for us and I think that’s what The School and The Piano Hospital thought,” said Rich Nakanishi, co-owner and administrator of Reside Residential Care. “They felt good leaving the building knowing the spirit of our work would fall in line with Emil Fries’ (The School founder) vision. We’re still working with people who have disabilities in the community and it’s nice that this building will continue to operate in the same spirit it was initially intended for.”
Reside Residential Care contracts with the State of Washington and Oregon to provide support to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities such as autism, fetal alcohol syndrome and cerebral palsy. Some of their clients also have physical disabilities, predominantly mobility. Their goal is to help the individuals they support to live as independently as possible.
Through a team of direct support professionals (DSPs), Reside goes into the homes of their clients to assist with and teach the skill set known as “activities of daily living” such as cooking, cleaning, taking care of a home, administering medications, utilizing public transportation and traveling to doctor appointments. This is known as the Supported Living Program.
Coming up on their 10th anniversary, the move to Evergreen Boulevard will allow Reside to consolidate their administrative offices and training offices, currently housed in two separate buildings.
About 130 employees help Reside follow through with their mission to provide around-the-clock support to a population that can often be misunderstood or labeled.
As a community program, every client must be able to function as law-abiding citizens to receive services from Reside, but there are a small percentage of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who can become victims of exploitation. As a result, criminal challenges are a reality.
In Washington, Reside’s Community Protection Program hits this issue head on. It focuses on clients with a history of criminal behavior and teaches individuals positive skill sets to draw from in the face of adversity. In Oregon, the organization’s 24-Hour Residential Program is similar and partners with the Oregon Department of Community Justice and mental health professionals.
“We’ve had a lot of people pop in and they were sad (about The School of Piano Technology closing) but they were happy we’re moving in,” Nakanishi said. “I think we have a huge responsibility to the community to increase awareness and acceptance and opportunities for the population that we support.”