RONAN - The COVID-19 pandemic slowed a lot of things down, but not the enthusiasm for a brand new facility for adults with autism.
Proactive Living Facility in Ronan is still on track to provide an all-inclusive facility that will not just support an underserved segment of our community but will also reunite families.
When Dawn Secord heard about a new facility that was to be built in the Mission Valley for adults with autism, she was so excited that she became the board chairwoman.
Her son, Logan — who is autistic — is currently in a facility in Mississippi because it was the only place that fit his needs.
Secord wants him home, "I want my baby home. I want to be able to drive here and see him, take him to dinner. Just interact with him."
“I miss him desperately and that's what's pushing me to push Proactive Living Facility and raise funds and organize the project and just keep moving forward,” Secord continued.
It's a project that's been in the works since 2018.
"Our goal is to have four facilities on this site. Our goal is to make it so that we can help the people that need to be helped, We're starting out small, but I think in the vision of it all our goal is to provide them with the skills they need to live. All of our clients and all of the people who will be utilizing our facility will need round-the-clock care. “But we also feel they are valuable to our society in so many ways." - Julie Janssen with the Proactive Living Facility
Not everyone with autism can go to a group home as many have specialized needs.
"What we've come to realize is that no one is going to do it for us. Montana spends More than $14 million a year to send these kids out of state,” noted Rich Janssen with the Proactive Living Facility. “And not just kids with autism but any high-risk kid; or a child that needs more help than they can get here and that's a lot of money leaving the state."
The non-profit plans on breaking ground soon. "Our goal currently is to have this done within the next year and we're pushing hard to make that happen,” Julie Janssen stated.
"I have no idea what he thinks when he's down there, does he think that his family abandoned him? Does he think where is my mom? Where is my dad? Where is my brother? So, I think him being able to see us, it will help him thrive,” Secord told MTN News.
Additional information about the Proactive Living Facility can be found at https://proactivelivingfacility.org/.