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The best of all options

August 29, 2016 | FM and JD BeLocal online issue |

The Best of All ‘Options’

Local non-profit builds esteem, independence for people with disabilities

BeLocal Community Options, Inc., located at 216 W. Manlius St., E. Syracuse provides employment and residential support for people with disabilities Community Options, Inc., located at 216 W. Manlius St., E. Syracuse provides employment and residential support for people with disabilities. Their goal is to empower these individuals to make their own choices and experience the highest degree of independence. With a mission to develop housing and employment opportunities for people with disabilities, Community Options believes in the dignity and freedom of every person to experience the highest degree of self-determination. Throughout its history, Community Options has participated in institutional closure and community residential placement for thousands of people across several states.

Embracing this philosophy, Community Options works with individuals through residential services, day programs, and other specialized programs. Home is a natural setting where we can connect face-to-face with friends and family. Community Options understands the fundamental importance of home as a physical and emotional support for people who want to live independently in community settings. We buy, build, renovate and furnish the kind of homes we want for our own families, empowering those we serve to choose the setting that best meets their needs.

Darren Duson is a Residential Coordinator and has been with Community Options for 6 years. He supervises managers at 7 different residences. Darren says, “I love helping people; that’s my main interest. It’s a true blessing to see an individual’s growth and development. I enjoy visiting the residences and have a family-style dinner, creating a real spirit of friendship. This is also a wonderful place to work. Imagine the personal fulfillment of working for an organization that educates, advocates and provides support services to ensure a life without limits for people with a spectrum of disabilities. What could be more rewarding than that”?

Meet Wayne Williams, just one of many success stories. Wayne lived at Sun Mountain in Tupper Lake, an institutional-like setting for 14 years. He had an opportunity to become part of Community Options, Inc. in 2013, and hasn’t regretted a day since. Wayne is employed by Liberty Resources and loves the independence his job has given him. He likes the camaraderie with his co-workers and also with his friends at the day hab center. Wayne says, “I like meeting new people and especially making choices for myself. Wayne lives independently and loves the fact that he has a real home”. Wayne values his freedom more than any other aspect of his life, saying “I am most happy being around people, and I even tell jokes once in a while”, grinning from ear to ear. Wayne has goals just like everyone else. Goals are the backbone that support the core issues related to developmental disabilities.

Serena Jackson is the new Day Hab Coordinator since June of this year. “Making sure the day hab runs smoothly, that the staff is ok, and each individual is OK”, says Serena when describing some of her duties. Continuing, she states, “I do whatever the individuals want. I am completely focused on them personally to get the most out of everyday they’re here. This is their day, and it’s all about them. I want each person to feel that I am making a positive impact on their lives”. One of her goals is community integration. Serena says, “I want the general public to have a better understanding of these bright, loving individuals and to get to know them and realize they are just like everyone else and deserve to be treated fairly”.


Community Options, Inc. is pleased to announce their ninth annual Cupid’s Chase 5k Run that will take place on Saturday, February 11, 2017 at Onondaga Lake Park. You can definitely make an impact in the lives of every individual and see a lasting and tangible change as the result of your contribution. There are several sponsorship opportunities available. Without the generosity of individuals and business, we wouldn’t be able to serve those in our community who need our services the most. For more information, please visit We are always looking for volunteers who are the backbone of non-profit organizations. Please visit our website at to see how you can use your gifts and talents to benefit others.