A grant has been awarded to a local center that helps prepare those with autism for independent living.

$11,100 has been received by Howell’s Excel Employment Options on behalf of the Edward and June Kellogg Family Foundation. The grant will help fund the Kellogg Independent Living Center, which is a mock apartment in their center designed to provide independent living skills instruction to those on the Autism spectrum. Those affected spend the day in the center which has a bed, a fully functioning kitchen, and a washer-dryer. Regional Director Natasha Doan-Motsinger said the apartment space is a valuable tool for helping those with Autism reach a point where they can survive on their own. While there, technicians work side-by-side to make sure skills are being completed accurately. Part of the money from the grant will be used to provide food for the kitchen so that those affected can learn to cook and prepare meals.

Doan-Motsinger said that while Excel has always helped adults with disabilities, they’ve recently reached out of their comfort zone to start helping children. She said the need was there to help children and families affected by Autism get the services they need but couldn’t because of the insufficient number of service providers. More information on the services they provide can be found through the link below, emailing natashad@excelemp.org or by calling (517) 518-8637 (MK)