Date: June 28, 2024

BE ABLE in Manhattan, KS

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How much do you know about BE ABLE in Manhattan, KS? I didn't know enough about all the amazing things they are doing until this week, it is impressive what they have done in four short years. This amazing organization is focused on helping its neighbors as no other organization can!

A cozy Manhattan room features two red chairs facing a table holding a magazine. Behind them, a bookcase filled with various books sits to the right. Artwork and a floor lamp decorate the wall, along with a large vase and a wooden easel.
This room was getting ready for an art class the afternoon I was there. Anyone is welcome to come in and paint with the group.

In the heart of Manhattan, KS, there's an organization making a monumental difference in the lives of many individuals in our community, that organization is, BE ABLE. This incredible nonprofit is dedicated to empowering individuals and providing them with the support, guidance, and resources to lead fulfilling and independent lives.

I will be the first to admit while I had heard of BE ABLE, I only had a surface view of what this organization is about. This week, that changed when I took a tour of their facility and visited with Marlon, their program director, and Scott their Executive Director.

This meeting came after Marlon inquired about adding their BE ABLE murals and programs to the blog. As I write this, I can not express my gratitude for Marlon reaching out to me. This opportunity allowed me to learn about BE ABLE and how it's transforming the lives of individuals and our community.

The Mission of BE ABLE

The mission at BE ABLE is to enrich people's lives through education, advocacy, and support services. BE ABLE believes everyone deserves the chance to achieve their full potential, regardless of their current situation, their past, or abilities.

While many organizations are bound by guidelines for those looking for assistance, BE ABLE is not. When individuals enter BE ABLE they are not required to "prove" they need help, or as Marlon shared with me, "If people come here, they need our help." This allows BE ABLE the flexibility to assist people and fill gaps unfortunately left by many other programs and service agencies.

A music room with a keyboard, three guitars, an amplifier, and a drum set, all placed on a purple wall with the message "YOU ARE LOVED" written in large blue letters. In this cozy Manhattan sanctuary, you'll BE ABLE to unleash your musical creativity.
This is the music room, the jam sessions are also open to anyone who wants to come play or learn

BE ABLE is a place for Community, but it also offers Individuals a range of Services

BE ABLE offers various services to meet the unique needs of the individuals they serve. These include:

1. Day Programs

BE ABLE fosters a sense of community while also providing a place for individuals to take a shower, do laundry, access art and music opportunities, and a place to share a meal. They also encourage social connections and provide individuals access to wifi and a place to relax. One of my favorite spots was the BE ABLE garden.

2. Vocational Training and Resources

Finding meaningful employment can be challenging for individuals. BE ABLE offers vocational training programs that help participants develop job skills, prepare for interviews, and connect with local employers. This not only boosts individuals' confidence but employment also enhances their financial independence.

BE Able also offers assistance with housing to reduce homelessness and provide more stability for individuals.

3. Advocacy and Support

Navigating the complexities of healthcare, legal rights, and social services can be daunting. BE ABLE provides advocacy services to ensure that individuals receive the support and accommodations they are entitled to. They also offer peer support groups, creating a sense of community and shared understanding.

4. Recreational Activities

Life isn’t just about work and responsibilities; it's also about fun. BE ABLE organizes recreational activities, from art classes, to jam sessions, and even weekly BBQs on Friday and Saturday at lunchtime. These activities help to promote social interaction, physical health, and emotional well-being.

A backyard garden in Manhattan, KS features multiple raised beds with various green plants such as tomatoes, peppers, and leafy vegetables. Enclosed by a wooden fence and under a partly cloudy sky, the mulched pathways separate the garden beds to be able to stroll through with ease.
The garden at BE ABLE

Impact on the Community

The impact of BE ABLE extends far beyond the individuals they serve. By promoting independence and empowerment, BE ABLE strengthens our entire community. Through outreach and education efforts, BE ABLE raises awareness about the challenges people face and the importance of inclusivity. This promotes a better understanding and a supportive community environment.

There is also an economic impact. By helping individuals find employment, BE ABLE contributes to our local economy. Employed individuals are not only independent, but they are also more likely to participate in our community, contributing to our economic health and diversity.

The sense of community extends past the walls of BE ABLE. The programs and activities often involve volunteers and local organizations, creating stronger bonds and a more interconnected community. The impact of BE ABLE lies in the personal stories of success, many of which are shared on their website! These stories are testaments to the life-changing impact of BE ABLE’s work. These stories are personal victories measured by what is best for each individual and are celebrated as much as possible!

Big Things Happening at BE ABLE

The folks at BE ABLE have big plans for the future! Some of the goals you will find on their website have become a reality, one of those most recent items is housing. BE ABLE was recently gifted two apartment buildings and a home that is a stone's throw away from the center. This will allow BE ABLE the opportunity to provide housing for its individuals as they are transitioning.

How You Can Get Involved with BE ABLE

BE ABLE’s success depends on the support of our community. Here are some ways you can get involved:

  • Volunteer: Offer your time and skills to support BE ABLE’s programs and events.
  • Donate: Financial contributions help sustain and expand BE ABLE’s services.
  • Advocate: Spread the word about BE ABLE’s mission and the importance of inclusivity.

BE ABLE is a beacon of hope and empowerment in Manhattan, KS. Their dedication to improving the lives of individuals is inspiring and aspirational. By encouraging independence, providing essential support, and creating a more inclusive community, BE ABLE is making Manhattan a better place for everyone. I am excited to celebrate and support this fantastic organization as it continues to empower our community, one individual at a time.

The BE ABLE mural

Inspirational mural with flower and hot air balloons.
To see more murals and art inside BE ABLE, click here!

Now about the mural that started this conversation! The BE ABLE mural is aptly named, Rise Above and directly connects with the mission, but it also serves as a reminder for us all to be positive and that life often requires us to rise above. The mural was painted in 2023 by Layne Stafford. The mural features bright colors and draws attention to the south side of the building but it also provides a fun backdrop for photos in Downtown Manhattan, KS.

My hope for this blog post is that it brings awareness to those who wish to support and to those who need help. Life can change in an instant for any one of us. Whether it’s losing your job, having an accident, or facing a health crisis, your entire world can be flipped upside down in a heartbeat and you need the support of the community. BE ABLE asks a question on their website, "Whose responsibility is it, to help our neighbors?” My answer, it is all of ours!

*You can also follow BE ABLE on social media, and connect to them on Facebook or Instagram.

**To see the BE ABLE calendar, follow this link and scroll to the bottom of the page!

Get Social With Little Apple Life!
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