Opportunities for Positive Growth
Local Organization Celebrates 20 Years of Service & Support
Writer: Jon Shoulders
Photography provided by Opportunities for Positive Growth
Opportunities for Positive Growth, Inc. (OPG), a Fishers-headquartered organization devoted to helping children, adolescents and adults with disabilities, has been serving Hoosiers statewide for two decades. Talent Acquisition Manager Sierra Holmes says the reason for the company’s longevity is not necessarily due to the diversity of skill sets among staff, nor even the wide range of specific services it offers. Holmes says it simply comes down to its collective values and adherence to its mission.
“Opportunities for Positive Growth has always been a persons-first organization,” says Holmes, whose job includes recruiting new staff members. “We really care about the people we support, and we put their needs and their dreams at the top of our list in everything that we do. I think it’s really our values and our integrity that makes us effective.”
In 1998 Gail Kahl, a special education teacher at the time, saw a need in her local community for better support for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Working out of her basement, Kahl launched Consultation Services for Behavioral and Educational Growth, setting out in earnest to provide meaningful behavior management services for individuals throughout Central Indiana.
Kahl’s husband Dan came on board the following year as chief operating officer, and after a formal name change, OPG has grown to nearly 250 employees with offices in Indy, Kokomo and Lafayette, serving Hoosiers all over the state. Holmes says even after 20 years, each OPG employee approaches the company’s mission with the same passion Kahl felt while bringing her idea to fruition out of the meager confines of her basement.
The OPG staff breaks its services down into four key areas:
- Behavioral Support Services, geared toward those with intellectual disabilities that may lessen their capacity to flourish in a family or independent setting.
- Self-Directed Services, for which individuals design their own programs for residential and community rehabilitation and development of independent skills.
- Music Therapy, through which OPG staff members partner with local schools and hospitals to improve motor skills, cognition, social and emotional skills and communication.
- Employment Services, which assists developmentally and intellectually disabled persons in finding opportunities throughout the workforce.
In April of 2011, OPG obtained accreditation from The Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL), a national organization founded in 1969 for the improvement of quality of life for those with disabilities, mental disorders and substance abuse issues. Representatives from CQL work directly with their accredited entities to help ensure positive outcomes for clients.
“We were one of the first organizations in the world to get that accreditation,” Holmes says. “It’s really a seal of approval saying we are working for the people and are dedicated to every individual we serve. It’s not an easy task to get that accreditation, and we’re very proud of it. We’ll be going for it again in 2019.”
For eight of the last nine years, OPG has been recognized as one of the Indianapolis Star’s Top Workplaces, a distinction based on employee feedback surveys given jointly by the Indy Star and Pennsylvania-based Energage.
Holmes says OPG is actively seeking qualified direct support professionals, who she says provide front-line support for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This includes focusing on goal development and dreams, transportation needs, following a behavioral support plan, developing social skills, personal care and advocating for clients’ rights.
Each fall OPG’s collective staff gathers for its Day of Greatness, during which the organization’s leaders celebrate the work each employee does in the community, including an awards ceremony for staff standouts. Holmes says this fall’s Day of Greatness will include a celebration of OPG’s 20 years of community service.
“We’ve maintained our commitment to putting people first for the past two decades, and that’s helped us to remain successful,” Holmes adds. “I think that’s why we currently have waiting lists for our services. I’m really proud to work for an organization that I get to see, on a daily basis, really make a change in others’ lives. We can go to bed at night knowing we’re really making a difference every day.”
Opportunities for Positive Growth, Inc.’s central office is located at 10080 East 121st Street, Suite 112, in Fishers. Call 317-813-1780 or visit opgrowth.com for more info including employment opportunity details.