PerCo Grant

Representatives from the Elks Lodge #509 presented a $3,800 grant to Jay Barnhart and PerCo Inc. From left is Mike Sherlock, Mark Shoemaker, Jay Barnhart and Gary Stevenson.

NEW LEXINGTON — PerCo Inc. Professional Support Services was given a grant by the local Elks Lodge #509 to help assist people with cerebral palsy in Perry County. This is the 15th consecutive year that PerCo Inc. has been given this grant.

PerCo Inc. is a non-profit, private provider of services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. All county boards in Ohio cannot provide services directly to individuals. All providers must be private entities in order to directly assist individuals. PerCo Inc. is the largest agency provider in Perry County.

Last week, Mark Shoemaker, from Elks Lodge #509, visited PerCo Inc. to present a grant to the organization. Jay Barnhart received the grant which is $3,800 and will go towards helping people with cerebral palsy. PerCo has been receiving the same grant since 2004.

Cerebral palsy is the most common motor disability in children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About one in 323 have been identified with having cerebral palsy based on estimates from the CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network. Globally, approximately 17 million people suffer from cerebral palsy, according to the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation website.

The Ohio Elks Association provides financial support for organizations that provide treatment and aid for individuals with cerebral palsy. Every year, local Elks Lodges raise money to aid treatment centers, like PerCo, who help those suffering from the debilitating disease.

Cerebral palsy is a disability that affects a person’s ability to move. It is due to damage to the brain during pregnancy or shortly after birth, according to the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation. The disability can affect an individual in different ways such as muscle control, muscle coordination, reflexes, balance and body movement.

The Perry County Board of Developmental Disabilities applied for the Cerebral Palsy Grant, which is given by the Cerebral Palsy Fund Board in Ohio Elks Association.

“It’s that time of year when we take the time to thank our friends at the Elks Association for their ongoing support for those people diagnosed with cerebral palsy in our community,” Service and Support Administration Director Ronald Spung wrote in a letter to the Elks Association.

Spung wrote that the grant from last year “greatly” helped those with cerebral palsy in 2018. He also gave examples of what the grant did for people in Perry County. One example was that one man was provided equipment for his motorized wheelchair so it could support independent mobility. A child was given a mobility tricycle to help with physical development. One young lady was able to purchase a laptop so that she could better communicate with her friends and family.

“As we look forward to the needs of our individuals with cerebral palsy who are supported by the Perry County Board of Developmental Disabilities/PerCo, the benefit of your generous donation could support areas of transit tokens, gas/food cards, adaptive equipment and ongoing assistance and maintenance for power wheelchairs,” Spung noted.

PerCo Inc. was first founded in 1970 as a government organization but recently privatized in January of 2018. The company started privatizing in 2016. The organization’s main goal is to help individuals with developmental disabilities, cerebral palsy, down syndrome and/or autism learn and succeed. They help with goal setting and assisting those individuals reach that goal.

“We provide mentoring to assist individuals to reach their full potential,” according to PerCo’s Facebook page. “We make sure they know how important they are in their community. Our goal is to provide professional support and services.”

Since 2004, PerCo has been presented a grant from the Elks Association. With that grant, PerCo has helped several individuals with cerebral palsy by giving them assistance in everyday life scenarios.

PerCo currently treats 440 clients with 41 of those individuals being treated for cerebral palsy.

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