Cattle trailers stop for traffic alongside ProAct’s Zumbrota location in this intimate downtown where the provider has been a stable community asset since 1994.

“We get to know the person as a whole,” said Site Manager Jo Erickson, who leads a staff of six. These serve 16 participants and a rotating group of individuals from the Red Wing location.

Group homes and families appreciate the service in Zumbrota, which for some is their only socialization, Erickson said.

She said staff connect well with individuals and understand their behaviors. People want their voices to be heard, and staff pick up on any rising tensions. They figure out the triggers and work on their sources. This helps to avoid the power struggles and to maintain options for the people they serve.

One 45-year ProAct participant teaches classes on topics picked by his cohorts, from lectures on E.B. White and Stuart Little, to gardening tips, volunteering and Christopher Columbus.

Individuals pack food for area children, make cards for nursing home residents, do craft projects and go on community outings. People might do one activity for a half hour, then move on. “It’s a pleasant atmosphere,” said Erickson, who has been with ProAct for nearly 11 years.

Employees become attached, which makes it even more difficult when someone passes away. Three individuals did so in the past two years, the manager explained.  “They were all well liked, which made it really hard on staff.”

Zumbrota offers adult day care and occupational therapy. Activities are constant, with horse outings, a pumpkin patch and an apple orchard to visit. When on site, games and puzzles are abundant, as are books. The choices are many.

Zumbrota is a popular place for Red Wing participants. About 40 rotate, coming in smaller groups. Their desire to come is limited only by spots on the bus.

[This story first appeared in the ProAct Annual Report, which is sent by mail. To join our mailing list, please email Melinda Lien.]