Driven by the purpose of providing children, teens and adults with disabilities with greater skills, choice and opportunity, Tesh Inc. is a private nonprofit organization that has impacted the Coeur d’Alene community for decades. Contributing to the self-sufficiency, employability and community involvement of over 8,000 individuals with disabilities since 1976, Tesh continues to provide innovative services in the areas of child development, independent living, adult employment and skills training.
Tesh is nationally certified by the international Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. The mission of CARF is to promote the quality, value and optimal outcomes of services through a consultative accreditation process and continuous improvement services centered on enhancing the lives of those served. CARF accreditation indicates a service provider’s commitment to continual improvement, encouraging feedback and a dedication to serving the community.
The organization focuses its services on individuals in three program categories: Child Development, Independent Living and Employment. Their well-trained staff is ready and available to work with parents, guardians, caregivers, teachers, school systems and other important members of an eligible individual’s life.
Their Child Development programs provide support for children with developmental disabilities throughout the calendar year with their after-school program, summer camp, and habilitation intervention and support services.
With the goal of fostering a strong sense of self-esteem, the after-school program celebrates the unique abilities of each child. The program supports children at a crucial point in their self-growth and aids the development of life skills necessary to instill an optimum level independence and overall success. The program provides a one-on-one learning opportunity for each child in a positive atmosphere and is administered both on location at Tesh and in the community to qualified children of ages 4 to 18.
Students can continue to stay engaged after the school year with Tesh Inc.’s summer Camp Independence. With registration now open, the camp provides a one-on-one setting with coordinated community activities to provide enjoyment and empowerment in the summer months. Group activities directed by a life skills coach are also included.
Tesh’s individualized habilitation intervention and support services encourage the development of positive behavior and skills. Through positive reinforcement, education and nationally recognized behavior replacement methods, they focus on encouragement for children with developmental disabilities who have demonstrated particular behavioral needs in verbal communication, social interaction, leisure and play skills.
Habilitative support services focus specifically on children who have gone through the Health and Welfare system and have a case manager through the state.
Habilitative services are provided in the most appropriate setting for each unique child, whether it’s on location at Tesh facilities, in the home or in educational settings throughout the Kootenai County community, including Coeur d’ Alene, Post Falls and Rathdrum school districts. The administering staff are professionals certified by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, specifically trained in habilitation intervention. Each professional service provider has hours of experience working with children with developmental disabilities, up to at least 1,000 hours for habilitative intervention staff.
Tesh Inc. aids the transition from high school to employment with the one-year Project SEARCH program, an excellent transition opportunity for students who have met all academic requirements for graduation. Located at Kootenai Health, the program combines classroom instruction with an unpaid internship running the length of a single school year. Participants receive instruction on independent living and employability while working with a mentor to ensure their ability to maintain employment within the community. Internships rotate through three departments, and participants are consistently engaged in development activities.
For adults 18 and older, Tesh Inc. provides independent living and employment programs to assist participants to become active members of their community. Class options included in the programs include budgeting, safety skills, meal preparation, task completion and getting along with others.
Individuals are aided by certified job coaches who use proven intervention techniques to help develop necessary interpersonal skills and employment-based abilities. Participants are given direct, hands-on assistance, immediate feedback and continued follow-up from their designated support coach to best prepare them for work in the community.
Recent high school graduates participate in the Summer Work Program. Their grant with the Idaho Division of Vocational Rehabilitation gives them the opportunity to provide job coaching and five weeks of paid work experience with a local business. Through experiences such as conducting inventory, packaging and shipping, or filling online orders, each student gains valuable skills and experience. At participation rates of about 40 students per summer, Tesh looks forward to aiding more students in finding work opportunities in the summer of 2020.
For adults, Tesh offers job placement services through Ability Works, a subsidiary allowing highly qualified staff to match the needs of local businesses with a client’s skill sets. This provides the business with cost-effective labor solutions, relief for their employment needs, and filling open positions with a qualified individual. Some individuals who complete the training have been employed by Tesh Inc. itself.
Additional employment services provided by Tesh Inc. include benefits counseling, access to an employment network approved and recognized by the Social Security Administration, pre-employment transition services and life skills training.
There are numerous opportunities to support the initiatives behind Tesh Inc. They hold three major fundraising events throughout the calendar year: The Hangover Handicap Fun Run on New Year’s Day, an auction event in March, and an October luncheon in which they share their mission with the community.
This year’s auction event is fast approaching—save the date for Tesh: Home on the Range, taking place at the Best Western Plus Coeur d’Alene Inn on March 7 at 5pm. With a promise of food, games and both live and silent auctions, the event is one the organization looks forward to each year. To match the theme, jeans and boots are the recommended attire.
To learn more about the available ways to donate and contribute to the cause behind Tesh Inc., visit their website at TeshInc.com.
Tesh Inc. believes in a community of cohesiveness, inclusion and empowerment. A “sunrise in the lives of their clients,” they are continuously finding ways to engage children, teens and adults with developmental disabilities in greater opportunities, independence and success.