MOKA is a Muskegon-based nonprofit organization
that supports children and adults with autism, development, developmental disabilities, and mental illnesses throughout West Michigan.
The organization’s mission is to create opportunities for independence and acceptance in local communities by supporting people in making choices, building relationships, sharing places, developing skills and enhancing reputations.
A great example of an organization putting its mission in action is MOKA’s recent construction and opening of the group’s newest group home in the region: Forest Trail Home, located at 3088 South Hilton Park Road in Fruitport, Mich.
Thomas Zmolek, executive director, says the new home is a direct reflection of the organization’s mission. Zmolek says the home is situated in a nice, residential neighborhood and there will be three to four men living in the house, which is less than the typical group homes that might have six people living together. “We are removing the stigma from group homes for people with disabilities,” he says. “Where someone lives tells a great deal about how society values people.”
Zmolek says his organization supports 37 group homes in the four-county area (Muskegon, Ottawa, Kent and Allegan), with about 200 people living in both group settings and independently. He says that the smaller sized home, with less people per home, is much better for clinical treatment and, ultimately, less expensive for the organization to support. “The range of options we can provide helps us get people to where they need to be,” he says.
The agency, which was founded in 1978, supports more than 900 individuals and provides more than 750,000 hours of direct source annually. It employs 585 people.
To learn more about MOKA you can visit their site here.
Writer: John Rumery, Innovation and Jobs News Editor