HELENA — Bridges of Montana Disability Services has recently opened here in Helena.
The company works to connect those with disabilities to caregivers and support staff to accomplish daily life activities and life goals. Bridges was started by Peggy Burlison, a mother of a son with disabilities.
Upon hearing that the options for her son with disabilities would be different than for her other son, she founded Bridges. She worked to create a company that advocated for and provided quality service for those with disabilities.
Bridges provides residential habilitation supported living in 6 states throughout the country. This means that they hire employees who work one-on-one with those with developmental or intellectual disabilities, providing an alternative to group homes.
They help with everything from cooking, cleaning, shopping, and even activities like fishing.
“Not every person with a disability is meant for a group home, and they're also, like, not meant to just live with their family. I support my niece, who is living with disabilities, and she is so high functioning so she can stay with me forever, but she doesn't want that. She knows that she's different, but she just wants to be independent,” says Shayla Crandell, Regional Operations Director.
Jesse Stoecker has been with Helena Bridges since Nov. 1 and is the first client of the Helena location. He says he is thankful for all the support he’s received from Bridges in areas such as cooking, cleaning, and shopping. Stoecker says that without Bridges he would still be in a group home, instead of living on his own.
“I’m gonna thank Bridges of Montana, and I say thank you to the staff, and the, my friends too, helping me get as far as I have come,” says Stoecker.
Bridges also has locations in Missoula and Billings. If you’d like more information on Bridges and its services you can follow this link: https://montana.bridges.us/