A Beautiful Evening for Janus Developmental Services

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June 2017

Writer / Janelle Morrison    Photography /Stuart Meyer and submitted by Janus

Janus is recognized as the partner of choice for people with disabilities, their families and the community. It offers opportunities for education, employment training, independent living and information for individuals and their families. Janus’ activities promote the confidence and choice that will result in a sense of achievement for the people who take part.

The Work Experience program at Janus provides individuals the opportunity to explore and develop abilities in a work setting that matches their needs and interests. All individuals in the program are paid for the work they complete and feel a sense of accomplishment for their work. Businesses that partner with Janus enjoy cost savings, timely completion of top quality products and a flexible workforce.

Currently, Janus’ Community Employment program is partnering with 41 local area businesses. The community and the individuals served benefit from a strong and lasting employment relationship. Additionally, Janus operates the only on-demand, affordable public transit system for Hamilton County.

The program is designed to meet the transportation needs of individuals with disabilities as well as the public. Janus operates Riverview Health Rides, a service providing door-to-door, shared ride transportation to medical appointments at Riverview Health facilities. The program is operated under contract with Riverview Health. Rides are available to patients with appointments at any of the 29 Riverview Health locations. Vehicles are wheelchair-accessible.

“Within the last year, Janus’ transportation programs have provided rides to many Carmel residents,” said Janus President-CEO Christina  Sorensen. “Janus operates two demand-responsive, or reservation- based, shared ride transportation services. ‘Shared ride’ means that multiple more riders may share their ride on a Janus vehicle in order to provide the service more efficiently. Hamilton County Express, which serves the public, and Riverview Health Rides, which provides rides to medical appointments at Riverview Health locations, have provided approximately 70,000 one-way passenger trips in the last year to over 1,100 individuals.”

Like most things in life, these valuable services are not free to operate and administer. Janus is supported by federal grants and foundation and corporate/individual donations to keep its programs going and growing. With the county’s population growing and the needs of its citizens increasing, Janus is looking for ways to engage its supporters in a meaningful way that will help with its advocacy and awareness efforts while growing its donor base. In an effort to proactively budget and plan for the increasing demand for services, Janus is actively fundraising and increasing its awareness efforts.

“Janus has held the annual Create, Connect and Commit Fundraising Breakfast for a number of years,” said Janus Board Chair Brian Poindexter. “With over 450 guests in attendance and $97,000 raised, this was the largest fundraising breakfast event that Janus has presented. Some people may look at a person with a disability and be concerned with what their limitations are. At Janus, it’s not a bout what their limitations are but what great things can they achieve. We have clients with cognitive disabilities or physical impairments that would keep them from being in a traditional workspace, but at Janus, they thrive.”

Mary Ann Coffing, a Carmel resident and director of clinical study monitoring at Roche Diagnostics, is in the process of joining the Janus board. “The mission of Janus really hits home for us because we have a child with special needs,” Coffing said. “We have experienced firsthand what it means to have a child with special needs in this community , and Janus does an awesome job. The programs at Janus give opportunities to those with special needs to give something back to their communities and contribute in a positive way. Janus also provides benefits to folks like our daughter. I have held board positions for nonprofits in the past, but my pursuit of a
board position at Janus is so I can give back to an at-risk population that I think needs the recognition and needs the positive support system that Janus provides them.”

Another dedicated volunteer, Leigh Ann Clayton, vice president of mortgage lending at Union Savings Bank, is an active member of the newly developed ladies’ guild for Janus and is also in the process of accepting a position on the Janus board.

“I recently spoke at the fundraising breakfast, and the bank [Union Savings Bank] was a table sponsor,” Clayton stated. “Our chairman, Louis Beck, has always told his employees that the company believes in giving back to the community, and that if we are involved with a nonprofit that we are passionate about, the bank is willing to help as long as we are willing to ‘get our hands dirty.’ I told Louis that I felt a calling with Janus and explained what the organization is about, and he has been incredibly generous and supportive.”

The board members, staff and volunteers at Janus are hosting an evening fundraiser, La Bella Sera at the Barn, on June 15 at 6:30 p.m. with the collaborative efforts of two Noblesville businesses, Mustard Seed Gardens and Matteo’s Ristorante Italiano. The event will be hosted at the gorgeous Mustard Seed Gardens venue featuring a delectable menu and an array of wines, chosen by Chef Matteo Di Rosa. Live music will be provided by Dan and Amber. The net proceeds of this unforgettable evening will benefit Janus.

Adson Franco, general manager at Matteo’s, is excited to help host the fundraiser for Janus. “One thing that I have realized about this community is there is a real sense of family and community. When Mark Skipper with Mustard Seed Gardens and I were talking about putting something together for the community and help a local institution, Janus was the first one that came to mind. We decided to join forces, and with the Hoosier idea of helping each other out, we are also helping our local community.”

Echoing the sentiment of his co-organizer, Mark Skipper shared the source of his inspiration to get involved. “Mustard Seed Gardens is a faith-based company,” Skipper shared. “When we are approached about giving back to the community, we don’t hesitate. It’s something that is part of the culture part of our business model. Janus and Mustard Seed have helped each other for several years and will continue to do so. When Franco suggested that Matteo’s and Mustard Seed collaborate and do something fun in our old barn, we both thought the beneficiary needs to help Janus, and it all came together. I know a young man that has ‘capabilities’ – I call it that instead of disabilities. The man is employed at Janus, and I saw him there one day. It was evident that he is happy. There’s just a lot of good that comes out of what they do at Janus.”

To purchase tickets for La Bella Sera at the Barn, visit or call Matteo’s Ristorante Italiano at 317-774- 9771. Tickets are $50 per person with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Janus Development Services.

Janus Development Services Board members and Carmel residents:

• Brian Poindexter
• John Schuler
• Robert Jones
• Lawrence Schafer