Lakeshore Community Services has been helping people with mental illness and intellectual disabilities since the mid 1980s.

The agency began with just three group homes. That has grown to 45.

The agency helping hundreds of people with intellectual disabilities each day, with trained employees assisting men and women in a residential setting rather than a large facility.

Chief Executive Officer Alan Benson said, "We do all forms of adult learning skills such as bathing, cleaning, cooking skills and community access."

Benson says the goal is to allow clients to live independently.

Sometimes that is just not possible. But many of the clients show significant progress with a helping hand from staff members.

Benson said, "I can tell you it has been dramatic over the years. We have seen people walk that never walked before. People talk who have never talked before."

In addition to helping people with intellectual disabilities in our community, Lakeshore also helps people with mental health issues, basically serving as a link between the clients and the services they need.

Lakeshore Vice President of Mental Health Sue Bennett said, "It is really critical that they have the kind of support that we provide and others provide as well.'

But providing that support throughout the community isn't easy. Still it is rewarding.

Bennett said, "Working with people everyday out in the field who face very series issues can be really taxing to staff. But we see people flourish."