About Life Unlimited
Life Unlimited’s mission is to support people with developmental disabilities as they experience life with unlimited possibilities.
We seek to become the premier provider of supports and services for people with disabilities, signifying quality, innovation, and person-centered principles.
We are committed to ensuring the sustainability and growth of our organization and are driven by a ceaseless desire to improve.
The people we employ will be engaged, dedicated, and invested in our mission.
Our Core Values
Every day we are given the amazing opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives. We are a catalyst for growth, supporting others to see and pursue the many opportunities and options a meaningful life presents, and contributing to the happiness of those around us. The people we serve are our priority and the people we employ are our greatest resource. Our interactions are guided by three core values:
- Demonstrating an unselfish concern for the well-being and happiness of others
- Being open, authentic, and truthful
- Respecting the dignity of every person and every role
Our Aspirational Values
In addition to our core values, we will differentiate ourselves and succeed by aspiring in every action to:
- Serve as responsible stewards of all organizational resources
- Recognize mistakes, take responsibility and apologize with humility
- Hold ourselves and others accountable for results
Life Unlimited, Inc.
Life Unlimited was created when multiple long-term organizations, that provided exceptional services to people with developmental disabilities, decided to join forces knowing that they would be stronger if they worked together. In 2016 Immacolata Manor and Concerned Care joined together to form Life Unlimited and in 2018 Open Options joined to start the Jackson County division.
The merger of the these 3 nonprofits offers a broader scope of services with enhanced quality to all of the individuals it supports. Life Unlimited provides the same exceptional programs and individualized supports everyone has come to expect from all three of its founding organizations.
Established in 1981, Immacolata Manor – originally Broadacres, the country estate of Joseph and Della Bruening – was purchased by a number of families who had daughters with developmental disabilities. The Benedictine Sisters of Kansas City were engaged as caretakers until their retirement in 1997. In 1999, the first off campus independent supported living (ISL) residence opened as the Manor began its efforts to integrate individuals more fully into the life of the community.
The main house and carriage house were the residences for 28 women until capital campaigns in 2001 and 2006 were successful in raising over $2,000,000 to build 5 fully accessible homes. Today, the Main House is used for administrative purposes. In September 1986, the newly constructed Broadacres Recreation Center opened to provide a safe, comfortable space for the residents to participate in year-round activities designed to enhance their health, education and quality of life. In January 2000, My Day, the Manor’s community integration and day habilitation program opened in the Broadacres facility and in July 2013, a second My Day location opened in downtown Liberty, Missouri. In April 2016, Immacolata Manor established the Employment Services Program to help individuals with developmental disabilities find and maintain meaningful jobs in their community.
Concerned Care, Inc.
Concerned Care, Inc. (CCI) was founded in 1972 by a group of parents and interested individuals who worked with elected officials for passage of Senate Bill 40 “Handicap Tax” levy. The first group home opened in 1973.
In 1975, CCI began looking for more independent living opportunities for some of its clients and a Supervised Apartment Living Program was implemented. Responding to the needs of individuals living on their own or with families, the organization established the Community Recreation Program in 1976. Transportation and supervision was provided for both CCI residential clients and other individuals. The 1980’s saw growth and expansion for both residential and recreation programs.
In 1991, CCI pioneered the newly designated Individualized Support Living Program with the Department of Mental Health. The ISL program serves individuals who require 24-hour to only minimal supervision in an apartment setting. The agency earned accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.
The 1996 purchase of a historic bank building in North Kansas City provided permanent space for administrative offices and gave the agency much needed visibility. Funded through a HUD grant, the Lloyd & Carol Brown Opportunity Apartments opened in 2004 and provides 18 one-bedroom apartments for low income persons with developmental disabilities.
Open Options was incorporated in December 1977 with a focus of providing residential services to adults with developmental disabilities. The organization began its operation with a seven-bed group home in Kansas City, Missouri in the fall of 1979, and added three more homes by 1985. A range of support was provided to the adults living in these homes. A major expansion took place in 1987 with the addition of a ten-bed home serving individuals with Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS). This home marked the beginning of a specialized statewide program for individuals with a diagnosis of Prader-Willi Syndrome.
Open Options supported the important shift in residential services for people with disabilities as “Individualized Supported Living” became the preferred funding model in Missouri in 1990. Supported Living separates services from facilities, limits households to four or less persons served, and establishes customized staffing supports for people living in a home of their choice. Beginning in 1990, Open Options assisted many persons served living in group home with moving from houses with seven to eleven people into apartments with one or two roommates. These smaller settings allow for more individualized, person-centered supports and represent a positive philosophical shift away from larger group living environments.
In 1992 the mission of Open Options was expanded to include services to people whose capacity for independent living is challenged by illness or age, as well as disability. This brought the addition of the SeniorLink program that provides assessment, referral, coordination and follow-up of a cadre of senior services to help people remain independent in their homes. This program presently serves over 80 senior citizens in Clay County, Missouri.
On January 1, 1998, Open Options, Inc. and United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Kansas City completed a legal merger. In February, 2000, the organization registered with the Secretary of State to “do business as” United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Kansas City.
In January 2015, the organization rebranded as “Open Options UCP” for an interim period of time before permanently returning to the Open Options name in December 2015. At this time, the organization discontinued our affiliation with the UCP national organization, believing the Open Options name best reflects the diversity of the people we serve.
January 1st of 2019 Open Options joined the Life Unlimited Team knowing that together all three of these long-standing organizations could provide even better services if they work together.
Board of Directors
- Brennen Garry, President
- Sayard Parrish, Vice President
- Sue Miller, Secretary
- Tim Vonderbrink, Treasurer
- Marilyn Barth
- Julie Castillo
- Alisa Ford
- Brian Mall
- Lolita McShann
- Andy Protzman
- Cindy Sevier
- Jesse Smith
- Terry Stone
- Julie Edlund, Chief Executive Officer
- Mark Bertrand, Chief External Relations Officer
- Julie Edlund
Chief Executive Officer
- Mark Bertrand
Chief External Relations Officer
- Vincent Bustamante
Vice-President of Training
- Mary Davis
Vice-President of Community Living
- Sandy DeGase
Vice-President of Unlimited Properties
- Susie Schneider
Chief Employee Engagement Officer
- Amy Taylor
Chief Program Officer
- Paul Twenter
Chief Analytics Officer
- Brian C. Watson
Chief Financial Officer
- Megan Birzer
Community Living, Program Director – Jackson County
- Tiffany Green
Community Living, Program Director – Clay and Platte Counties
- Jim Huffman
Recreation, Program Director
- Julie Turley
“My Day”, Program Director
- Amy Young
Community Support Options, Program Director
- Ryan Hicks
Facilities and Maintenance, Director