Image description: Opportunities for Positive Growth’s Mission Statement: “Inspiring People in the Pursuit of a Rewarding Life” is displayed in cursive font on a blue background.
At Opportunities for Positive Growth, we are committed to providing meaningful and dignified support services to individuals with intellectual disabilities. Through a variety of services, we keep our mission top of mind, as we march forward to support self-advocacy and self-reliance.
In noticing a need for growth-oriented behavior consultation, Gail Kahl created Consultation Services for Behavioral and Educational Growth in July 1998 to provide positive and meaningful behavior management services for individuals throughout Central Indiana. In 1999, the organization was awarded certification as a corporation, changed its name to Opportunities for Positive Growth, Inc. (O.P.G., Inc.), and expanded to serve Kokomo, Noblesville, Fishers, Lafayette, and Marion. O.P.G., Inc. expanded to Indianapolis in 2002, while also expanding services to include residential habilitation, community habilitation, respite, and music therapy.
By 2008, O.P.G., Inc. provided a variety of positive services to over five hundred individuals in Central Indiana, while also undertaking a five-year journey to restructure supervisory positions to better provide quality care and provide person-directed planning. In order to promote and cultivate employee commitment to O.P.G., Inc., the organization established an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (E.S.O.P.) in 2010. O.P.G., Inc. proudly launched a community habilitation service named “On the Go”, which focuses on using a group support model that establishes community connections, cultivates goals, and promotes self-reliance.
Throughout O.P.G., Inc.’s early growth, the organization strove to set itself apart from others by focusing on bettering person-centered care, providing continuity of services, promoting self-reliance by fostering growth, and focusing on individuals through person-directed supports. This history naturally led O.P.G., Inc. to develop a relationship with C.Q.L., ultimately resulting in the honor of receiving C.Q.L.’s National Accreditation in April 2011 and 2015.
In order to fully share C.Q.L.’s values, the organization adopted a plan aptly entitled “Game Changer-What Really Matters” that focused on overhauling documentation, support standards, re-emphasizing fading, and driving supports toward outcome-oriented person-directed care. As a final component to “Game Changer-What Really Matters”, the organization focused on strengthening their policies and procedures, quality assurance procedures, and Orientation process to fully and explicitly incorporate C.Q.L.’s Basic Assurances®, Person-Centered Care®, and Shared Values® into each aspect of care provided by O.P.G., Inc. After upgrading and aligning O.P.G., Inc.’s systems and practices to C.Q.L.’s values, vision, and mission, the final capstone of these changes culminated into changing the name of the supported living department to the Self-Directed Services Department.
Beginning in 2016, O.P.G., Inc. once again expanded to include Employment Services. O.P.G., Inc. approached this service with a progressive, innovative and person centered mindset. This service is designed to assist people in finding meaningful, competitive and sustainable employment in the field of that person’s choice.
In 2018, O.P.G., Inc. announced the retirement of our founders, C.E.O. Gail Kahl and C.F.O. Dan Kahl. As of April 2019, Andrea Schwartz has stepped into the role of O.P.G., Inc.’s new C.E.O. In addition, former Executive Director of Self-Directed Services, Lucy Klym, has become O.P.G., Inc.’s new C.S.O.
Image description: Gail smiles and is wearing her signature purple glasses, a checkered blue and white scarf and a black cardigan. She is outside the Fishers branch of Opportunities for Positive Growth. In the background are blurred, green bushes.
A Message from Our Founder and First C.E.O.: Gail Kahl
Throughout my education and early adulthood, policies and awareness changed about people with disabilities in America. During these formative years, I saw legislation, educational policies, and attitudes expand to include new opportunities. I was a freshman in college in 1975. That was the same year that Public Law 94-142 (Education of All Handicapped Children Act) was passed by Congress. Now codified as I.D.E.A. (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), this law requires states that receive federal funds to develop and implement policies that assure appropriate public education, at no cost, to all children with disabilities. In 1995, I was teaching Special Education in Texas. That is the year that Governor George W. Bush put into law the Texas model of No Child Left Behind. This law’s intent, which became a federal law in 2001, provides fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high quality education for ALL students. My school district interpreted this law to require all students to be integrated in regular classes.
I have had the privilege in the state of Indiana to actively be on teams that led to the closure of the Silvercrest Residential School for Children with Disabilities in 2006, provide recommendations for people with intellectual disabilities to be discharged from Indiana facilities intended for people with mental illness in 2009, and these teams led to the closure of two nursing facilities, Arcadia Developmental Center in 2013 and Hickory Creek in 2014. It is no wonder that my career in education and as the [recent] C.E.O. and [former] President of O.P.G., Inc. was the force of our model of services for people with disabilities. This model of integration in communities has led to people being recognized with the desire to have dreams come true, and to strive for relationships with natural supports. Through this model, individuals can avoid dependency on federal and state dollar while building the capacity to lead independent lives with equal opportunities.
I have a huge amount of pride that O.P.G., Inc.’s employee owners demonstrate our company’s values within every interaction. I have tremendous confidence that O.P.G., Inc.’s mission will continue to impact the lives of people we have known, we currently know, and those we will meet in the future. I do not have the wisdom to know what O.P.G., Inc. will be like in the next 25 years but I do have the conviction that it will be unique, it will be an agency of hopefulness, and it will maintain the foundation it was built upon.
I thank you for the privilege of being your C.E.O. and President.
Image description: Dan smiles and is wearing glasses, blue and white checkered shirt and a grey suit jacket against a black background.
Image description: Gail and Paula smile in the O.P.G. conference room. Paula has her arm around Gail and is wearing a blanket with orange, white, green, red and grey flowers. In the background are balloons that read ‘Retirement’, a person getting food and a powerpoint with a picture of another party.
Image description: Gail and Dan stand in front of the Fishers branch of Opportunities for Positive Growth sign. Dan has his arm around Gail and Gail waves at the camera. They both are sporting large smiles.
On April 1st, 2019, our founders and inaugural C.E.O. and C.S.O., Gail and Dan Kahl, earned their well-deserved retirement.
A message to the Kahls from Andrea Schwartz, O.P.G., Inc.’s new C.E.O.:
“Thank you for lighting the way. We promise to continue to strengthen your legacy.
What an honor to be a part of this amazing thing you made!”
Thank you Gail and Dan for your vision for Opportunities for Positive Growth!