A unique looking minivan now parks at MCAR. It’s a smaller, economical wheelchair van recently purchased with funds provided by The Edith L. Trees Charitable Trust. This new vehicle provides much-needed transportation for MCAR’s day programs, including the adult training and older adult day centers.
The funding for the van was part of a grant proposal submitted by The Arc of Mercer County Foundation to the Trees Charitable Trust requesting $79,000 to finance both the van, as well as fire sprinkler systems for three of MCAR’s group homes.
The new vehicle is a Ford Transit Connect van, from MobilityWorks, and offers seating for five people and another person seated in a wheelchair.
Entrance for passenger seating is through sliding side doors or for wheelchair entry through two rear folding doors. The vehicle is used by MCAR staff for day outings and transportation to appointments and events for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities attending MCAR’s adult day programs.
“This van helps the transportation needs for our adult training facility and our older adult center,” said Nicci Jones, day programs manager.
“Our day programs have been using large multi-chair lift vans that our group homes no longer used. Having a smaller, easier-to-use vehicle is great for both staff and our individuals. The fuel economy of this van is also a great feature.”
In addition to greater gas mileage, the van’s safety features include ABS, traction-control, an anti-skid system, and front side airbags. Along with the purchase of the van, The Edith L. Trees Charitable Trust grant funds the purchase and installation of residential fire sprinkler systems for three group homes.
These systems will increase the number of MCAR homes with this fire safety feature to six.
Robert R. Beach, CEO of MCAR, noted, “Smoke alarms are designed only to signal a fire threat, and high-risk populations such as people with disabilities can have difficulty responding to smoke alarms.”
He continued, “We are grateful to the Trees Charitable Trust for funding these sprinkler systems. Being able to stop a house fire early is critical to the lives and safety of our individuals.”
MCAR intends to equip each of its 17 group homes with the sprinkler systems.
The residences scheduled for the fire sprinkler system installations include two group homes in Farrell and one group home is Sharpsville.
MCAR, a subsidiary of The Arc of Mercer County, has provided programs and services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities since 1952.
Nearly 200 individuals receive residential, employment, habitation, vocational training, and older adult day services from MCAR.