Cape Abilities has been working since 1968 to serve individuals with disabilities on Cape Cod. They offer education, counseling, and residential, therapeutic, social, and employment supports that empower adults with disabilities. Their services provide community opportunities, enriching the community and providing those of all abilities with meaningful and valued roles in society.
The organization was originally founded in Orleans as Nauset Workshop. The group worked out of the old Orleans fire station, supporting a handful of participants. Now, 50 years later Cape Abilities’ work has benefited thousands of individuals, providing high quality services.
Work Done by Cape Abilities
Cape Abilities collaborates with individuals with a broad range of developmental and intellectual disabilities. These include, “autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, blindness, down syndrome, acquired brain injury, hearing impairment, mobility limitations, seizure disorder, mental health issues.” The organization has program centers in Hyannis, Eastham, and Falmouth.
Cape Abilities Programs and Services
Programs and services offered by Cape Abilities include pre-employment transition, day habilitation, community-based day supports, residential services, adult family care, shared living, community employment services, and transportation services.
The pre-employment transition program helps disabled students prepare for and make plans for their lives after high school. This involves training in job and workplace skills, resume and interview help, as well as help developing and communicating marketable skills.
The Life Skills Day Habilitation program is offered at the Eastham and Hyannis centers. It helps individuals in need of more structure to develop skills for wellness and independence. It includes physical, occupational, speech, and language therapy and support.
The Community Based Day Supports provides career exploration, community integration, skill development, and more that allows folks to get on the path to community-based employment.
The Residential Services at Cape Abilities helps those with disabilities to enhance their quality of life. This includes supervised living in homes operated by Cape Abilities. It’s available to those who have developmental/intellectual disability. They also have a supervised living program for adults with Acquired Brain Injury and those with external Traumatic Brain Injury. The Community Living and In Home Supports programs aid folks in their homes. Cape Abilities also offers Adult Foster care support, and Shared Living to foster community and support in living situations.
The Community Employment Services offer vocational support for folks with disabilities so they can work in the community.
Cape Abilities is also working to fill in the gap in public transportation that can make life for disabled people on Cape Cod more difficult. Their Transportation Services have 80 vehicles that they report cover 500,000 miles per year to help folks with disabilities remain active and connected to the community.
Cape Abilities Social Enterprises
In addition to their programs, Cape Abilities also runs a few social enterprises that support the disabled community on Cape Cod. These include the Cape Abilities Farm & Market in Dennis, and the Cape Abilities Thrift Store in Yarmouth.
Cape Abilities Farm and Market
The Cape Abilities Farm and Market in Dennis embodies the mission of Cape Abilities by supporting and empowering individuals of all abilities through employment at the farm and market. The farm employs up to 50 people with disabilities to support the farm management. They help with producing the food from seed to harvest, growing local produce using organic and hydroponic methods.
Much of the produce is sold right next to the farm at the Cape Abilities Farm Market. The market also sells flowers, gifts, and art in an inclusive community. Both enterprises provide opportunities for people with disabilities, and give what Teddy Roosevelt called the best prize life has to offer: “The chance to work hard at work worth doing.”
The Cape Abilities Farm and Cape Abilities Market provide training, employment, as well as the opportunity for participants to interact meaningfully with the local community, by feeding the community! The farm and markets empower participants, providing job satisfaction and fostering confidence and self-esteem in employees.
In addition to produce from the Cape Abilities Farm, the Cape Abilities Market offers a wide range of goods including holiday gift baskets and farm market membership boxes.
Cape Abilities Thrift Shop
Located in Yarmouth, the Cape Abilities Thrift Shop supports Cape Abilities in a number of ways. The shop trains and employs folks of all abilities. They promote and educate the public about the mission of Cape Abilities. The Cape Abilities Thrift Shop also raises money to support the work Cape Abilities is doing. Those interested in supporting the work of Cape Abilities can donate items to be sold at the thrift store, or shop to pick up some of the great items for sale at the shop.
Volunteering and Giving to Cape Abilities
Those interested in volunteering for Cape Abilities can visit their website to learn more. Cape Abilities can also always use financial support to continue their work providing services to those with disabilities across Cape Cod.