Southern Maryland Community Resources, Inc. (SMCR) is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization that helps to bridge the gap for individuals with developmental differences in our community.
What We Do
SMCR promotes the inclusion of persons with developmental differences into the life of our community. We advocate for individuals with special needs, to recognize the inherent dignity that is theirs because they are members of our one human family. We promote social recreational and educational opportunities where individuals with developmental differences can contribute their unique gifts and develop their potential.
We provide monthly programs to provide our members with social and recreational opportunities in order to enrich their lives. Members enjoy our programs at no-to-little cost through our partnerships with businesses and organizations throughout the community.
SMCR has a broad vision of how communities and persons with developmental differences can live, work, play and learn together. We implement that vision at the personal level, one person at a time, because each person’s needs and dreams matter. We hope to continue to grow so that we may touch the lives of more people in our community.
As we continue to move forward – we will continue to provide high quality programs that focus on the following areas:
- Inclusion-Plus Model
- Building the Bridge: Community Integration
- Starting with Preferences: Workforce Readiness
How We Do It
SMCR provides its members with programs that go beyond inclusion to incorporate persons with developmental differences into the life of the large community. SMCR programs are designed to first prove the concept that a person with disabilities can succeed in challenging activities in new settings, such as a cooking class in a commercial kitchen or a movement class in a for-profit gym. Then each program offers the SMCR member the opportunity to grow from competence to community involvement.
The community is noticing. Within its first year of providing programs, SMCR became an “award-winning” organization. SMCR’s “Art to Heart” classes won the 2014 Innovative Program Award from the St. Mary’s County Commission for Persons with Disabilities. The “Art to Heart” classes are an intergenerational collaboration providing authentic community integration for adults with disabilities from the Center for Life Enrichment and St. Mary’s Ryken High School students and faculty in the Creative Arts Department. Designed and implemented by SMCR, the “Art to Heart” program offers classes in music, dance, art and theater games beginning in the Spring of 2014. To showcase the achievements of the dance class students, SMCR provided a venue for their performance in January 2015.
Building the Bridge: Community Integration
The key is SMCR Networking. SMCR staff and board members regularly meet with businesses, educational institutions, service organizations, government leaders, religious congregations, advocates and individuals. The goal is to build a bridge between SMCR members (teens and adults with developmental differences) and the community at large. SMCR regularly inventories its membership to see what kind of supports and programs they need and want and then develops partnerships in the community to provide these programs.
Members pay a modest user fee or a partner DD agency contracts with SMCR to provide the design and implementation of a specific program for its clients (including insurance, training of volunteers, rosters, assessments and marketing). Staff training can also be provided. Complimentary benefits of an SMCR Partnership include higher satisfaction from client families, guardian and support staff. Having SMCR work with an agency’s individuals allows for a successful branding of that agency in the larger community, in organizations and businesses not previously known to that agency.
Starting with Preferences: Workforce Readiness
SMCR members, like anyone else, want their lives to be full of interesting and engaging activities. SMCR expects all people to be lifelong learners. This educational model is the basis for finding what motivates an individual, what is important to them. With a member’s preference as a starting point, SMCR can design programs that teach new skills, skills that can lead to later employment or volunteer opportunities (perhaps with an SMCR Partner).
What We’ve Done
SMCR has been an active member of the Southern Maryland community since we were founded in 2013. During our short time as a part of the Southern Maryland community, we have formed partnerships with many community organizations, businesses, faith communities, advocates and families.
By leveraging these relationships, we have developed several social and recreational programs for our members that are inclusive and affordable. Our successful programming has been recognized throughout our community.