“Turnstone provides a comprehensive set of services for people with disabilities,” said CEO Mike Mushett. “So most any kind of service that an individual with disabilities would require, we either provide it here or we can provide them with some direction.”
Turnstone, established in 1943 by a group of parents whose disabled children couldn’t go to public schools, served more than 2,200 clients in 2014
“Our mission statement sums up what we do pretty well: we provide programs in the areas of education, therapy, health and wellness, and sports and recreation, with the goal of empowering people with disabilities,” Mushett explained. “It’s to foster independence so people with disabilities can maximize their potential in society and live as independently as possible as long as possible.”
“We have a strong team of social workers that provides intake and support to clients,” he continued. “Our daycare program is very structured. And the objective for the younger children is to get them ready to go to kindergarten…our staff works with the students in developing social skill sets and other reading and writing skills that will allow them to integrate into a kindergarten class.”
“Our sports teams draw players from a 150 mile radius,” Mushett said. “There’s not a lot of teams that provide opportunities for athletes with disabilities.”
Especially not at the level of Turnstone. All 7 of Turnstone’s competitive teams–in power soccer, sled hockey, and wheelchair basketball–are nationally ranked. In addition to competitive sports, Turnstone offers a variety of recreational sports opportunities, including track and field, archery, and bocce.
All of this is made possible by the most recent addition to Turnstone’s campus: the $14 million Plassman Athletic Center, which opened this past summer. Turnstone is in talks to host regional and national paralympics events in the facility. Mushett adds that all of this would be impossible without the support of the Fort Wayne community.
“65% of the funding that supports Turnstone is raised from the community,” he explained. “That provides the biggest chunk of our budget.”
And he believes that Turnstone returns the favor.
“There are a large number of people who have children or elderly parents or others that are a part of their family that have a disability. And knowing that they can relocate to Fort Wayne for a job or a business opportunity, and these services are offered for family members, makes Turnstone a valuable asset.”
“It’s really important that we become a contributing member of this community, and it’s allowed us to get engaged,” he said. “Turnstone is a proud member of the Fort Wayne community, and being an active member of Greater Fort Wayne [Inc.] has provided us with an opportunity to give back to the community that has been so good to us.”