The History of Options Unlimited
Options Unlimited started providing Supported Employment services to Bullitt County residents in February, 1985 as a program of Seven Counties Services. In March of 1987, Options was incorporated as an independent non-profit agency and an affiliate of Seven Counties Services. Contractual arrangements were also established with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation to broaden the array of services offered to persons with disabilities. In November, 1987 the Adult Day Habilitation Program was added to broaden the services capabilities. This program focuses on developing the independent living skills of the clients by participating in community based events. Community events are accessed daily in small groups. In 1992, this program moved to the Hillview Community Center where it operated for 9 years before moving to Options’ building on Castlerock Drive. In July 1995, Options obtained a grant to convert the day program to a more individually based program that increases the involvement of each individual in his/her community through employment and or volunteer experiences.
A third program was added in 1990 through a Projects with Industry grant. The “Imagine Tea Rooms” was established to provide on-site training and employment to a wide range of people with disabilities in a restaurant setting. This project received support from the Bingham Foundation who funded the purchase of the building that was used for the restaurant and administrative offices. This program was discontinued in February of 1994 due to lack of business. The grant was also discontinued at that time and the building was sold in June of 1995.
Over the years, Options has expanded by providing services in new communities with in the Seven Counties Region serving Bullitt, Spencer, Shelby and Southern Jefferson Counties. Options’ administrative and supported employment staff moved to the Hadley Building on Buckman Street in Shepherdsville in July 1994. We opened an office on Main Street in Shelbyville in May of 1996 and another office on Main Street in Taylorsville in July, 1998. We provide primarily employment services from these office.
Options Unlimited has been instrumental in the development of a United Way chapter in Bullitt County, first created in 2000. The United Way provides a resource for the discussion and implementation of programs that address service needs in the county. The need for a county wide effort to raise funds for human service organizations had been apparent for many years. Options continues to play an active role in establishing this chapter.
In 2001, Options passed more milestones in the development of services. In January, we moved our Day Program and Supported Employment staff into our building at 205 Castlerock Drive. This provided further sharing of resources between the programs and allowed more efficient use of staff. The Nicholas X. Simon Activity Building was completed in April, 2001. Later in this year, we became a vendor for Medicaid services and started billing Medicaid for our services instead of the families.
A new program to serve deaf people in supported employment was initiated in 2002. This program is unique to this region, and has received a number of referrals. Many of these individuals have secondary disabilities (mental retardation, mental illness, cerebral palsy, etc.) that pose additional challenges to employment. With the help of skilled staff many of these individuals are now working.
In 2006, Options started providing Speech, Occupational, and Physical therapies to SCL Medicaid recipients. This year also marked the year that the bookkeeping was brought completely in house.
In 2008, Options became a provider for people on the Michelle P. Waiver (Medicaid) and also started providing case management services to individuals on both the Michelle P. and the SCL waiver.
We now serve Bullitt, Spencer, Shelby, and southern Jefferson counties. Since its incorporation, Options has broadened it services to include a wide range of people with disabilities. We remain committed to expanding these services as resources allow to improve the lives of people with disabilities.
1985: Services Begin
1987: Options Unlimited incorporates, Adult Day Habilitation Program created
1990: Imagine Tea Rooms developed
1994: Shephardsville Office opens
1996: Shelbyville Office opens
1998: Taylorsville Office opens
2000: Options Unlimited helps in formation of local United Way chapter
2001: Expanded services through two new buildings and medicare agreements
2002: Creation of unique program focused on deaf individuals
2006: Speech, Occupational, and Physical therapy services provided
2008: Individual case management services begin
Now: We serve Bullitt, Spencer, Shelby, and southern Jefferson counties with a robust slate of services.
“When you find that person a job that is a good fit for them and they succeed there is no other greater feeling”Libby Gootee, staff member
Meet some of our dedicated staff
Employment Program Director
Brian started working at Options Unlimited in the Bullitt County office in April of 1999 in the Supported Employment Department. Brian received his Bachelor of Science from Brescia University in K-12 Special Education and a minor in English and Communications. He began his career as a 6-8th grade Special Education teacher. He has over 21 years of experience serving individuals with disabilities, the last 19 in the field of Supported Employment. In 2005, Brian was the chairperson on the Greater Louisville Business Leadership Network, where he was involved with area employers, such as, UPS, Kroger, LG & E. and Citi Cards, in regards to increasing opportunities for individuals with disabilities. Over the 19 years with Options Unlimited Brian has been involved in just about every aspect of the agency; supported employment, case management, billing, fundraising (bingo), and Ticket to Work.
UPS TLC Coordinator
Libby has been an Employment Specialist at Options Unlimited in the Bullitt County office for close to 13 years. She has close to 17 years’ experience working with individuals with disabilities. Libby worked for 4 years at Spencer County High School before coming to Options Unlimited. She worked with the students who had behavior disorders. For those 4 years she also worked in the summers for a federally funded program called The Summer Youth Program. This was a program that found over 200 juniors and seniors jobs for the summer. She was in charge of overseeing the program in Jefferson, Henry, Bullitt, Spencer and Tremble Counties.
Libby is currently overseeing the coalition agencies placements at UPS. She assists these agencies with placement at UPS and she makes sure that the consumer is successful there to the best of her ability. She works very closely with Human Resources, Managers and supervisors and other agencies to follow-up with the coalition employees so they can be successful on the job. She gets great satisfaction in working with people with disabilities.