To the delight of staff, Indiana Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch presented The Village of Merici in Lawrence with a $200,000 grant on April 7 that the state awarded to Indianapolis. The grant was part of $1.63 million set aside for select communities to assist adults with developmental disabilities.
The Village of Merici, 5707 Lawton Loop East Dr., is an organization that, according to its website, brings residential and community opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities.”
“Friends with disabilities are just our friends with different abilities,” said Crouch, who presented the check to Colleen Renie, the executive director of The Village of Merici.
The Village of Merici will invest much of the grant into the app Quillo, a social media startup that aims to better facilitate connections between people with disabilities facing isolation.
“We understood that (adults with developmental disabilities), maybe more so than many Hoosiers, have struggled with social isolation and being able to connect,” Crouch said. “With everything being virtual, we wanted people to be able to develop new technology to connect those individuals with services that they couldn’t access in a pandemic.”
The Village of Merici is looking at expanding its footprint on the Fort Benjamin Harrison campus to address the problems of isolation for those with disabilities both virtually and personally.
“Seeing the smiles on the faces and hearing the stories from people that are benefiting from these services, or are going to benefit from them, those smiles is what today is all about,” Crouch said.