Community Partners of Portage County revitalizes programming
By Taylor Hale
PORTAGE COUNTY – A former community project aimed at connecting adults with disabilities with mentors is revitalizing itself.
The Community Partners of Portage County started in the 1980s, gaining official non-profit status in 1993. The group ran strong for over two decades before falling into stagnation due to COVID-19 and some internal issues.
Portage County native Samantha Szynskie decided to take the reigns and bring the program back to life. She participated with the group during her college years at UW-Stevens Point. She felt that the program is needed within the city to advocate for adults with disabilities and connect them with friends and mentors.
“I want this to continue because I am passionate about inclusion and giving a voice and an option to adults with disabilities,” she said in an interview with the Gazette.
Szynskie took over as director in August and has been working on refreshing the group’s program and image. She said that the organization used to have about 30 partnerships, connecting adults with disabilities with mentors, many times turning into lifelong friendships. She also hopes to host group events for partners in the future.
Those wishing to volunteer to be a mentor must be 18 or older. There is no set schedule or time mentors must spend with their partner, the group mainly works as a facilitator for connecting those with disabilities with their mentors.
“You could plan to meet once a week or twice a month,” Szynskie said. “And if you have a family, they can get involved, say if you are going for a day outside, you could bring your partner.”
The group hopes to be able to have enough partners for anyone who comes seeking a mentor or aid. Guests are also able to make a referral for an adult with a disability that may benefit from a partner.
To learn more, visit bettertogethercppc.wixsite.com or call 715-310-0492.