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Variety Club Delivers Van to 21st Street

A bit of sunshine was delivered to the 21st Street Home on December 3, 2013 when Variety Club officials drove from Des Moines to Emmetsburg with a new van for Horizons Unlimited.  Wild Rose Casino and Palo Alto County Gaming Development Corporation (PACGDC) partnered to make this new van possible for the members of Horizons Unlimited.  Welcoming the new van in this photo are, to the left of the van:  Audrey Hansen, Horizons staff at 21st Street; Travis Dvorak, Asst. General Manager at Wild Rose; Laurie Schneider, Horizons CFO; Mary Cooper, Horizons board member; Pam Beschorner, Human Resources Manager at Horizons; and Audrey Niemann, Human Resources Manager at Wild Rose.  Checking out the inside of the van are: Sheri McMichael, Executive Director at Variety Club of Iowa; Terry Hoskins, Horizons member; Jim Frederick, Horizons member; Jack Parish, Horizons member; and Dan Brennan, Horizons member.  Celebrating to the right of the van are:  Amy Rubel, Vice President of Operations at Wild Rose Resorts; Deb Davis, Associate Director at Horizons; Bill Lapczenski, PACGDC board member; Skip Wallace, PACGDC board member; Holly Carter, 21st Street Manager at Horizons; Jennifer Meyer, Development Coordinator at Horizons; and Ron Askland, CEO at Horizons.  Horizons Unlimited thanks Wild Rose Casino & Resort, Palo Alto County Gaming Development Corporation, and Variety Club of Iowa for making this possible.  Our members love their new van!

Thanks to a mini-grant from the Palo Alto County Gaming Development Corporation, Horizons Unlimited recently finished installing two egress windows in their King Street apartments.  Pictured next to one of the windows are residents (left to right): Donald Bordwell, Paul Breese, and Jodi Stewart.



photoJackson Earns CESP Designation

Kathy Jackson has attained the status of Certified Employment Support Professional for Horizons Unlimited.  This acclaimed certification demonstrates to colleagues, supervisors and individuals with disabilities that the individual has completed a rigorous process to earn a national professional credential.  Individuals who earn the CESP credential have demonstrated knowledge of the skills necessary to help expand equitable employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

“I found the CESP exam to be very intriguing, thought provoking and yet straight forward. I felt it was an opportunity to advance in this new and rewarding field.”

With Kathy Jackson’s assistance, Horizons Unlimited has 17 placements working with 13 businesses in our community.  Any business interested in Horizons Unlimited’s inclusive customized employment opportunities should contact Kathy Jackson at 712-852-2211, ext. 123.

Photo Caption:  Kathy Jackson, CESP at Horizons Unlimited

photoParrish and Kunz Win State Special Olympics Medals
Jack Parrish, member at Horizons Unlimited, won 1st place and earned a gold medal at the State Special Olympics Bowling Tournament held on Saturday, November 23rd.  Parrish earned his 1st place honor in the 51 and above age division.
“I’ve been bowling a long time, and this is the first year I really did it,” Jack commented.  “I was real proud of my medal.”
photoJim Kunz, another member from Horizons Unlimited, earned 3rd place at the State Special Olympics Bowling Tournament for the 51 and above age division.
Parrish and Kunz qualified for the State Special Olympics Bowling Tournament at a regional tournament held at Mason City in October, 2013.
Photo Caption Jack P Bowl 2013:  Jack Parrish, 1st Place, State Special Olympics Bowling Tournament
Photo Caption
Jim K Bowl 2013:  Jim Kunz, 3rd Place, State Special Olympics Bowling Tournament.


Support Horizons Redemption Center

Horizons Unlimited’s Redemption Center in Emmetsburg processed almost 4.5 million cans last year.  That’s a lot of cans.  Yet, why should we support our redemption centers when so many are closing?

When Iowa’s “Bottle Bill” was enacted in 1978, lawmakers assumed that grocery and convenience stores that sell carbonated beverages would take back each empty can and bottle in exchange for a nickel return.  Today most grocery stores would not want to
process the empty cans and bottles at their stores, making it difficult for most beverage
consumers to receive their nickel deposit through the store the purchases were made.

Grocery stores don’t want those empty cans and bottles back in their stores, either.  Store managers say the empty beverage containers are messy and take up valuable storage space.  “It’s a mess to deal with all the empty cans and bottles in our
store,” stated Randy Joersz from Emmetsburg Food Pride. 

Processing the empty cans and bottles use grocery employees’ time, too.  Some grocery stores have their customers sort and stack their returned cans and bottles on cardboard flats.  Customers that don’t want to deal with the hassle will avoid redeeming their empty cans and bottles at grocery stores.  Beverage consumers can easily be dissuaded from returning their empty cans and bottles for a nickel that is worth much less than it was in the 1980s.

That’s where the can and bottle redemption centers come to the rescue.  Horizons Unlimited Redemption Center processes empty cans and bottles on site, issuing the nickel refunds for the returned cans and bottles.  For each can and bottle redeemed, the redemption center receives from the distributor a mere penny extra for its efforts.   In return, Horizons employs people in our community, many of them adults with disabilities to do the difficult and arduous tasks of sorting, counting, and storing the empty cans
and bottles that will be picked up by beverage distributing companies
each week.

 “It would be a huge impact if we didn’t have the redemption center.  It would be a disaster for us.  We don’t have the space and we aren’t set up for it,” reflected Joersz on the importance of having a redemption center in our community.

It is an economic plus to have the redemption center in our community, as well as a convenient way to redeem the nickel deposit and help our environment by recycling our used beverage containers.

Horizons Unlimited encourages everyone to recycle cans and bottles through the Redemption Center located on Highway 4 south of Emmetsburg.  The Redemption Center is also raising funds to acquire a digital register and scanner that will make the process of returning empty cans much more efficient.  The Redemption Center accepts monetary and can donations for this project.

Winter hours at the Horizons Redemption Center are Monday and Tuesday 9 am to 7 pm, and Wednesday through Friday 9 am to 2 pm.

For more information about the Horizons Redemption Center, contact Deb Davis at
712-852-2211, ext.  102 or click here to learn online!

2013 Annual Campaign Letter


September 8-14, 2013 is Direct Support Professional Recognition Week.
Direct Supports Professionals (DSPs), have the title Residential Instructors at Horizons. These staff members are dedicated, well-trained professionals who provide hands-on daily supports, training, and habilitation services to persons with intellectual, developmental, and physical disabilities. This workforce is responsible for the health, safety, and emotional well-being of the people they support.

Our Residential Instructors are the bridge to meaningful lives of independence and community inclusion for our members, providing the supports and services that people with disabilities depend on.

Horizons Unlimited has been providing services to individuals with disabilities for 44 years. We provide residential, vocational, and day habilitation services to 90 individuals. We are proud of our new program that is assisting individuals find employment in the community.  I would like to extend a warm thank-you to all the Residential Instructors who have served our friends, neighbors, and community  members. While your work is frequently in the background, quietly making interdependence possible for others, your work is also invaluable. You make such a positive difference in the lives of the people you encounter and I salute you!

Ron Askland, CEO
Horizons Unlimited


Employment First at Horizons
In an effort to create more inclusive workplace environments in our community, Horizons Unlimited is adopting Iowa’s Employment First Initiative.  The Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE) defines employment first as:  “Employment in the general workforce is the first and preferred outcome in the provision of publicly funded services for all working-aged citizens with disabilities, regardless of level of disability.”

Kathy Jackson, Job Development Specialist, is heading up the efforts at Horizons Unlimited to bring Iowa’s Employment First Initiative to our community.  Her job is two-fold:  (1) Build business partnerships for job opportunities, and, (2) train members for individualized, customized jobs in the community.  Kathy works with businesses to find niche employment opportunities, and matches those opportunities with Horizons members that have the needed skill sets.

“It’s a win-win for everybody.  Businesses find people to do needed jobs, and our members find meaningful work,” Kathy remarked about the program.  Currently, the Employment First program at  Horizons Unlimited is working with Building Center of Emmetsburg and Soper Farms.

For more information about the Employment First program or to get your business involved,
contact Kathy Jackson at 712-852-2211, ext. 123.


computersHorizons Unlimited recently replaced two outdated computers, and installed server backup hardware and software to assist in recovering data through a mini-grant from the Palo Alto County Gaming Development Corporation.  Pictured with one of the new computers is Horizons CFO Laurie Schneider and Horizons member Gail.


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