KenCrest’s Meaningful Day Program Comes to Delaware


The Meaningful Day community initiative is opening a new branch in Delaware to individuals in our residential homes.

By Sydney Kerelo

This year, KenCrest’s Meaningful Day program expanded its reach to include those with an intellectual or developmental disability living in New Castle or Kent counties in Delaware. As a 100 percent community-based program, the Meaningful Day community initiative encourages those KenCrest supports to engage with and become a part of their community.

KenCrest spoke with Larae Shorter, the Meaningful Day Program Coordinator, about the new program's implications for our supporters.

What is the Meaningful Day Community Initiative?

The Meaningful Day Community Initiative encourages people with an intellectual or developmental disability living in a KenCrest residential home to become part of their community. The program here in Delaware is 100 percent community-based and built around the schedules of those we support so they can go out and do activities that are important to them. Many of the individuals we support enjoy going to Painting with a Twist, local museums, rec centers, and libraries.

Many of the people we support enjoy going to a rec center that offers “Sit and Fit,” an exercise class for those with walkers and wheelchairs. Others attend a Senior Coffee Hour at a local library every Monday, where people can come, have coffee and little snacks, and chat with others. It’s an excellent way for the people we support to create and build relationships with other people.

How does this program help the people KenCrest supports to live a meaning-filled life?

The Meaningful Day program is entirely community-based, encouraging the people we support to get outside and into their communities. When COVID-19 hit, many of those we support were sitting in their homes all day and would only leave for appointments, so having them in the community promotes a sense of independence and a desire to be involved with the world. It's different than a day program where you are in a building all day long and only interact with those in the day program. With Meaningful Day, they meet new people, experience new things, and learn new skills.

One person we support wanted to learn how to live independently and manage her money, so she used her Meaningful Day activities to go to the library and learn math. She even taught herself how to pay her phone bill and understand her taxes.

Who can participate in the program?

Currently, anyone living in our residential programs in New Castle and Kent Counties, which includes our community living homes and Lifesharing participants. However, we are looking to expand to include individuals who don’t live within KenCrest, including graduating seniors and those in the school system.

Why is this program so important to those with an IDD?

This program is so important because it allows those we support to feel like they are a part of the larger community. It will enable them to be included and teach them not to fear the outside world but to embrace it. It also brings people with disabilities into the light, teaches the rest of society that they are just like them, and breaks down that barrier.

For me, this program is about showing those we support that they, too, can be included in the world. It shows them they are just as important as everyone else and highlights what inclusion means.

If you live in New Castle or Kent County, Delaware, contact Meaningful Day Program Coordinator Larae Shorter at If you live in Pennsylvania and want to join the program, contact Melissa Bailey-Raison at