The F.C. Tucker Giving Circle was established to give agents and staff the opportunity to pool their donations as a group, nominate worthy local philanthropic organizations for funding and then vote on which organizations to support. For 2021 funding, 33 incredible organizations applied and agents and staff selected nine to receive a combined $81,000 in grants.
Each month, we’ll feature one of the nine organizations to learn more about the amazing work they do in our communities.
Getting to Know Damar Services
What population of people and geographic area does your organization serve?
Damar serves 1,500 families each day around Central Indiana. Damar offers services to a range of people living with developmental and behavioral disabilities, from toddlers to senior citizens … from people with the mildest of symptoms to those with the most pronounced disabilities … from diagnosis through treatment and beyond.
What is the story of your organization’s founding?
In 1967, Theodore and Beverly Farkas simply wanted the best situation for David and Martha, their two children with developmental disabilities. Sadly, they didn’t have many options in Central Indiana. They couldn’t care for the children at home, but they weren’t interested in the prevailing alternative of that time: a state institution with limited visitation privileges.
So they combined their love for their children with a creative vision and developed what they named Damar (combining the names of their two children) Homes.
From two parents looking for answers for their children … to becoming a national leader in the care of children and adults with developmental, behavioral, and intellectual disabilities … Damar’s history is one of innovation, compassion, and remarkable results.
What one thing most surprises people about your organization?
Just how much of an impact Damar makes on the lives of those living with developmental, behavioral and intellectual disabilities across Central Indiana.
In short, for over 50 years, Damar Services has helped children and adults challenged by autism and intellectual developmental and behavioral disabilities live more successful lives. From its main campus on Indianapolis’ southwest side (where nearly 200 kids with developmental disabilities call home), three ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) Autism Services clinics and other locations across the state, Damar offers a full continuum of services for individuals of all ages, including residential and community-based treatment and therapeutic services, outpatient behavioral health services, public and private schools, and foster care services. Damar serves over 1,500 clients and families each and every day.
Tell us about one of your newest projects.
Damar Services is building a “Damar Village” community that will provide a public, low-income, high-quality housing option for the community and those with developmental disabilities. It is a much-needed residential option for those near Damar’s campus on Indianapolis’s southwest side and even an opportunity to enhance vocational education for residents with area businesses. Phase I of “Damar Village” is slated to open February 2021, followed by Phase II that will focus on transitional housing for young adults with disabilities as they learn to be more independent in an apartment style environment.
Bruce and Cindy Agan, parents of 33-year-old twin disabled sons, knows firsthand the impact Damar Village will have on so many throughout Central Indiana. “As aging parents, our biggest concern is what will happen to our adult disabled children when we are not around,” they shared. Bruce and Cindy aren’t alone in their concern. Most parents who serve as caretakers for their adult children worry about the day they can no longer care for their child. Understandably, they have questions on finding affordable housing with understanding, knowledgeable staff and have the best interests of their child in mind. Cindy Agan added, “I have prayed for (the twins) to be taken care of in a loving and professional manner without placing undue burdens on other family members,” and Damar Village will make this a reality.
Cindy Agan finished by sharing, “Damar saved one of our sons’ lives when he was younger. Although we know there will always be challenges to their care in the years ahead, we also know the boys will be safe and secure living in Damar Village.”
If people want to volunteer with your organization, what is their next step?
Post pandemic there are several opportunities to volunteer at Damar. One example is volunteering as a “Damar Elf” and helping shop and wrap Holiday gifts for kids with disabilities to ensure they receive a gift during the holidays.
To volunteer, contact: Erin de la Rosa at [email protected]
Is there anything else you’d like readers to know?
Damar is in the midst of a “Road to Remarkable” campaign. This campaign will transform Damar by remaking campus and extending services to more people in more communities, while helping people facing life’s greatest challenges. The Road to Remarkable campaign will allow Damar to construct a Children’s Crisis Center, which is a 20-bed facility on our main campus. It will bring much-needed services to the growing number of children with development and behavioral disabilities, and especially those who are victims of abuse and neglect. Lastly, (as stated above) the campaign will also allow the completion of Damar Village. Damar Village will provide affordable housing for those with developmental disabilities. It will allow those with disabilities be part of the community, and gain independence. Something that is very much needed in Central Indiana.