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Millcreek Journal

Cupid's Chase 5K to aid people with disabilities seeking jobs and homes

Feb 11, 2022 05:56PM ● By Deb Hafner

By Deb Hafner | [email protected]

People with disabilities such as autism, cerebral palsy, down syndrome and traumatic brain injury often need guidance and advocacy when they are job hunting. Sometimes adults with disabilities who have never lived on their own need help finding a place to live and going about day-to-day household activities. 

Enter Community Options, a nonprofit that helps people with developmental and intellectual disabilities find jobs and places to live.

Harmon’s Brickyard and Goodwill of Millcreek have benefitted by hiring Community Options supported individuals. Shannon Wilkins, the director of employment services at Community Options, said they recently helped an individual who had been looking for a job for over a year before he came to them for help. Wilkins said they focus on the person and their job needs and skill levels, then partner with local businesses to assist with the interview and employment processes.

Community Options operates in 11 states, having expanded to Utah in 2017 when they were alerted to a need for services in the Salt Lake valley. In Utah, Community Options supports 60 people in their independent work program and 35 people in their residential living program. Community Options owns seven homes in Utah with four-to-five people living in each home with full-time support.

Community Options is mostly funded through the Medicaid Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Waiver Program, but like most nonprofits, it has to fundraise to cover gaps.

They do this with the annual Cupid’s Chase 5K in February, in honor of the month they opened their doors in 1989. This year, the Cupid’s Chase 5K will be held in 34 cities across the country, with nearly 10,000 runners, donors and volunteers. 

The Utah Cupid's Chase will be held on Feb. 12 from 9 a.m. to noon in Sugar House Park.

They hope to raise $15,000 to bridge their funding gap, raise awareness of the ways they can help people with disabilities, and attract direct support professionals who want to work in their residential homes.