MRCI preparing to reopen
To the editor,
My name is Dave Borchert. I serve on the MRCI Board of Directors and would like to update the community on some exciting changes that MRCI is making. Also, I would like to dispel any rumors that we are permanently closing. We are actually making progress with some transitional changes and are confident that the “new MRCI” will be stronger than ever and continue to serve the New Ulm community.
In March 2020, for the first time in more than 65 years, MRCI did not open its doors and was not able to serve individuals with disabilities in the New Ulm community. This was in direct response to Governor Walz’s executive order to close for safety concerns involving COVID-19. When the pandemic hit, MRCI was serving individuals in communities across southern Minnesota. Our buildings served as a transportation hub, training site, work site, and a place for enriching activities for the population that we serve. As a member of the MRCI board, I can tell you that when COVID forced us to close our doors, it weighed heavy on our hearts concerning what the 130 individuals who participated in MRCI services in New Ulm on a daily basis would do now?
Motivated by our mission to provide innovative and genuine opportunities for individuals with disabilities, we got to work to find ways to continue to serve those we care about. I am proud and excited to announce that on October 19, MRCl’s EASE program will reopen! With safety protocols in place, we will welcome our friends back to our facility at 2100 North Broadway. Additionally, later this month will be opening a new and innovative community-based day service program for individuals that we are excited to share more about in the coming months, but for now please say “yes” when called to ask to volunteer.
Another new focus of the “new MRCI” is to help our neighbors find community jobs versus simply working within our own building. When ready, we are supporting their personal goals to get them working competitively in jobs throughout New Ulm. Speaking of New Ulm, I think you will join me in celebrating our area businesses that have stepped up to employ those that we serve. Thank you for seeing what is possible! It was always MRCl’s long-term plan to have everyone we serve integrated into the community. And this program is another step in that direction.
The truth is some of our clients never stopped working. Deemed essential workers, they persevered even as COVID kept many people at home and with following safety measures, continue to work within New Ulm and the surrounding communities. I just want take this opportunity to thank the community for the ongoing support. New Ulm is a great place to live and work in. All of us at MRCI are sincerely proud to be part of this community. I am eager for the community to see what the “new” MRCI can do!