Cortney’s Place, a Scottsdale facility for physically and mentally challenged adults, has expanded to offer more amenities and programming space.
Cindy Carpenter, president and founder of Cortney’s Place, created the non-profit organization in 2007. She and her husband, Jim, welcomed their firstborn, Cortney, into the world 25 years ago. Cortney was born with congenital nervous system malformations, leaving her non-verbal, non-ambulatory and incapable of caring for herself.
Like many families of severely disabled children, Cortney’s was faced with the prospect of limited services for her once she aged out of the public school system. How could they continue her life-skills education and maximize her potential?
Cortney’s Place offers a hands-on approach with uniquely adapted technology incorporated in computer labs, an art center, a kitchen and more, all tailored to be conducive to their learning and boosting the development of fine- and gross-motor skills.
The program is for adults who have graduated high school with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) diploma, usually around age 21 or 22.
An IEP is for children who have difficulty learning and performing, or have been identified as special needs students. An IEP makes children in public schools eligible for adapted education methods and support services in public schools that meet their unique requirements.
Cortney’s offers seven-day-a-week programming from about 8 a.m. to 3 p.m, much like the average school day.
“We’ve been pleased to provide a safe and secure place where individuals with special needs can find education, friendship, entertainment and independence,” says Carpenter. “With this expansion, we look forward to being able to increase the services for our existing program participants as well as serve many more of our Valley’s challenged adults.”
Cortney’s place started with about 15 adults and has grown to accommodate 21. According to Program Supervisor Jeannine Weindorf, the expansion was necessary to accommodate more of the essential programs. Cortney’s staff hope to meet the occupancy limit of 50 program participants.
“We started out as a program that was just going to accommodate about 15 people, but we’ve found that there are so many more people interested,” says Weindorf. “This is something that these people need.”
The non-profit receives some state funding but donations from the community “make this a better place,” says Weindorf.
Cortney’s Place provides hydrotherapy, pet therapy, healthy cooking classes, a specially designed multi-sensory room, field trips and more. Such programs are important to the continued growth and development of the participants.
With the expansion, Cortney’s is preparing to start programs to teach etiquettes classes, accurate table settings and dressing properly. Plans including buying new therapeutic mats, expanding the physical therapy program and trying to get more therapists through the doors. Nutritionists, music teachers and therapists currently are subcontracted and only available certain times throughout the week.
According to Cortney’s Place Chairman of the Board Benée Hilton-Spiegel, “We are adding 3,000 square feet of additional program area that includes multipurpose space, a conference meeting room, expanded changing facilities and much needed storage. Additional educational and programming amenities like Smartboards®, musical instruments and therapy space will also be added for the benefit of our program participants.”
The expansion of the facility was done in conjunction with Marc Center of Mesa, a private, non-profit organization that provides educational, therapeutic, rehabilitation and social services to children and adults living with developmental and physical disabilities and behavioral health challenges.