Everyday Connections opens office in downtown Seymour | #specialneeds | #kids


Two days in a row, Chrystal Henry had to drive to Bloomington to take her younger sister to a talent show in Bloomington.

While she appreciated her sister having the opportunity, Henry thought it would be nice if something was offered closer to Jackson and Jennings counties.

“So I said, ‘That’s it. We’re taking care of this. We’re going to start an organization,’” she said, referring to a conversation with her fiancé, Jeremy Hendrix.

Henry, who also is a behavior consultant for Meaningful Day Services, said during a team meeting, she heard about all of these wonderful things available to the special needs population around the state.

“I’m like, ‘We don’t have any of that because we are so rural,’” she said. “I just said, ‘That’s it. We’re going to have to step it up and do something.’”

In 2018, Henry and Hendrix received nonprofit organization status for Everyday Connections to provide individuals with special needs and their families support, skills and social experiences to lead a more fulfilling, happy life.

So far, they have conducted an ice cream social and co-sponsored a talent show to help introduce themselves and their organization to the community.

On March 1, they opened an office on the third floor of the Community Agency Building, 113 N. Chestnut St., Seymour.

The purpose of that space is to have one-on-one meetings with the clients they serve, and they also have access to a nearby conference room for other types of meetings, events and training.

“I think it’s important to have a resource or an agency that helps direct you to find answers, no matter where it is or what it is,” said Hendrix, who also is community service coordinator for Community Ventures in Living. “We’re just looking to help improve the quality of life for underserved individuals. We want to help people with disabilities”

The organization has three tiers: Support, educate and integrate.

Henry said with support, they would like to offer support groups for family members and siblings of those with disabilities.

“That’s a whole population that people don’t think of, people who are siblings of people with disabilities,” she said. “Their struggles are different than parents growing up with someone that takes extra attention or time.”

Educate includes assisting with independent living and pre-employment skills. A couple of years ago, Henry graduated from Partners in Policymaking, a program designed to teach people with disabilities and family members the power of advocacy to positively change the way people with disabilities are supported, viewed, taught, live and work.

“I wasn’t really concerned with the employment part too much until I sat through that, and I’m like, ‘What are we doing down here?’” Henry said. “I would really like to kind of dip our toes into some of that, teaching people the basic skills they need to go get jobs in the community where they are making a living wage.”

Integrate involves offering ways for those with disabilities, especially adults, to socialize with others. Everyday Connections has done that with the ice cream social and talent show, and Henry and Hendrix would like to do more.

After the talent show in February 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic put a halt to other events for the rest of the year.

Now, the organization is ramping back up, first offering the new Neighborhood Connections program. This will assist individuals with developmental disabilities with home repairs and upkeep as well as personal items that will assist with health and quality of life that they may not be able to obtain otherwise.

There will be an application process for approval of funding, and the organization hopes to start that in June. Until then, it’s raising funds and gathering resources.

“We both got the idea because we both work with families. Sometimes, they need something fixed that Medicaid won’t cover, but they are on a fixed income,” Henry said. “We just need people to help out, so we’re trying to get funds. … We would welcome anybody who would like to volunteer or donate any funds.”

To donate time or resources, a form is available by messaging Everyday Connections on Facebook or stopping by The Magic of Books Bookstore, 113 W. Second St., Seymour.

Once they have a list of people willing to help, Hendrix said they will be matched with a project for a client in need.

“It’s essentially creating a directory of these people who donate these kinds of services, and as the need comes, we can go to that directory and then we’ll pull from our funds and we have volunteers that have those skill sets to help get it done for us,” Hendrix said.

Other plans for this year include doing another talent show and releasing a cookbook with recipes submitted by people with disabilities.

Also, the Family Supports and Community Integration and Habilitation waivers are supposed to have electronic filing options this summer, and Everyday Connections wants to educate people about them and assist them in applying.

“We do have a lot of resources, a lot of agencies that provide services; however, if you don’t have the waiver, you can’t afford the services, really,” Hendrix said. “There are a lot of people that sit at home with their son or daughter with special needs and they are missing out on a lot of opportunities and a lot of resources just because they don’t know that this waiver exists.”

Another goal for this year is to recruit more board members. Right now, it’s only Hendrix, Henry and her mother, Samantha Sandlin.

“Right now, we’re a 100% volunteer organization, so it’s finding the funding to do our events and finding the time and the volunteers to do them,” Hendrix said.

Board members would attend monthly meetings and help plan and execute events.

Sandlin said she feels blessed to be involved with Everyday Connections and invites others to join them.

“I am excited about getting the name out there and offering more assistance to individuals of all levels and ages,” she said. “I love having a daughter and future son-in-law who have these goals and desires, as well.”

At a glance


Everyday Connections is a nonprofit organization that supports, educates and integrates adults with developmental disabilities in Jackson and Jennings counties.

It now has an office on the third floor of the Community Agency Building, 113 N. Chestnut St., Seymour.

To make a tax-deductible donation, contact Everyday Connections on Facebook, call 812-767-4934 or email everydayconnections@yahoo.com.

Anyone interested in joining the organization’s board can call or text 812-767-4934.

Everyday Connections also is starting a Neighborhood Connections program that will assist individuals with developmental disabilities with home repairs and upkeep as well as personal items that will assist with health and quality of life.

To donate time or resources, a form is available by messaging Everyday Connections on Facebook or stopping by The Magic of Books Bookstore, 113 W. Second St., Seymour.



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