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RIBBON-CUTTING CEREMONY JUNE 9-10 CELEBRATES GRAND OPENING OF NEW LISTEN CENTER

Grand Forks, ND—The LISTEN Center will hold a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and Grand Opening celebration June 9 and 10 at its new location, 2100 S Washington St. 

The Ribbon Cutting Ceremony will be Thursday, June 9 at 4 p.m.  Mudbucket will play 2-5 p.m. in the main entry of the building, and there will be a variety of food vendors in the parking lot.  

LISTEN purchased the property in March 2020 and has worked closely with Widseth for design of the building and Community Contractors to provide project management and construction of the site.  The new LISTEN building has enough square footage to house all of LISTEN’s program under one roof, with additional space on the second floor available for one or more tenants.  

“LISTEN for Everyone!” said Bret Roth, a client supported by LISTEN Day and Family Support Services.

“We are so excited to show off our new space to the community.  The Board of Directors, LISTEN staff and people we support have all been vital to designing this building.  Our goal has always been to have a more accessible and user-friendly space for everyone who chooses our services and everyone who works for us.  Our new building raises the bar on accessibility and disability services and spaces in our community,” said Christy Potts, Executive Director. 

“We belong side by side with everyone else,” said Carla Tice, director of LISTEN Drop In, which has operated for more than two decades in a separate facility.  “The New LISTEN will provide our community with opportunity to do many things as one.”

“On behalf of myself and the Board of Directors, I just want to say that we are so proud to be part of this special day and want to thank all of the Listen Drop In, Program, and Gaming employees for their tireless efforts in all they do for our clients.  This has been a vision of our past Executive Director, Charlie Bremseth, and is now a reality,” said Russ Prochko, President of the LISTEN Board of Directors.

LISTEN will also host food trucks, live music and tours on Friday, June 10th.  The community is invited to tour the building 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday, June 10.  Downtown Horns will play 5-9 p.m. for the first Friday night LISTEN Drop In dance in the new building.   

All members of the community are encouraged to stop by to grab something to eat, enjoy live music, and tour the new building both days.  All ages are welcome.  

LISTEN Drop In has operated for more than three decades out of its location at 624 N Washington.  LISTEN has listed for sale that property and an adjoining playground, and also, separately, an adjacent house owned by LISTEN, with Dakota Commercial.  For more information, contact Curtis Regan, 701.772.3101, cregan@dakotacommercial.com.

For more information about LISTEN, go to www.listencenter.org or www.facebook.com/WeLISTEN.

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LISTEN expands services to Grafton area

Programming for those with developmental disabilities
By Todd Morgan

GRAFTON—LISTEN is a new provider in the Grafton area that provides services to people with developmental disabilities. While new to Walsh County, LISTEN has been helping people improve their lives in Grand Forks since 1970. Listen provides a whole realm of services for people with developmental disabilities whether it’s day services or residential services. According to Executive Director Christy Potts, LISTEN provides residential services and operates a community center.

Program services
“We are a community provider in Grand Forks and Walsh counties,” she said. “We provide day services for adults with developmental disabilities and also residential services.” Potts said by residential services LISTEN supports both individuals with developmental disabilities living in their own apartments and family support services for those families caring for a loved one at home. “The family support services are for children or adults living within the family home,” Potts said. LISTEN has a site in Grafton on Lessard Avenue for their day services.

“We have been transporting six individuals from Grafton to Grand Forks for day services during the week,” she said.
According to program director Jennifer Contreras, LISTEN day services provides individuals more opportunities within the community whether it’s through voluntarism, jobs or relationships. “In Grafton it’s a smaller community so there are only so many jobs,” she said. “In a lot of those facilities you go to work with the same people you live with in many cases. With LISTEN they can continue to live where they’re at and still come to our day programs.” According to Contreras, individuals can choose to come one day a week or or as many days as they want. “There is no transportation fee,” she said. “It provides the individuals the opportunity to choose their days and services.” According to Potts, LISTEN has been a local non-profit independent entity in Grand Forks for more than 50 years providing services to developmentally disabled individuals. Just over a year ago LISTEN began branching out into the Grafton area. They recently broke ground on a new $6.4 million community center near Grand Cities Mall on South Washington Street. The facility is expected to be open to the public sometime this June.

“We support people who also use Developmental Homes here in Grand Forks, REM in Grand Forks and Grafton and CHI in Grafton,” Potts said. “They have those companies as their residential provider and in many cases have chosen us for their day provider.” “It’s an opportunity for individuals to further build relationships outside of their home communities,” Contreras said. “Everyone who is able to come here loves it,” Potts said. “The guardians are very satisfied also and bring a lot of encouragement and recognition to our staff.”

A big part of the programming at LISTEN involves social activities, whether its monthly celebrations or music and animal therapy. “The fire department comes once a year and goes over fire safety and everyone can see the truck,” Potts said. “The police department comes in once a year. We go to movies, go to Turtle River State Park, go to Fargo to the air museum, the Wahpeton Zoo, Bonanzaville, craft shows, the ag show at the Alerus Center, the library, we help with the Salvation Army bell ringing, we help out at the thrift stores and many more places.”

While there are six people from Grafton utilizing day services provided by LISTEN there is opportunity for many people to participate in what is going on through LISTEN. “Families or guardians can reach out to us and let us know they are interested in our services,” Potts said. “Services LISTEN offers is Medicaid funded.” Anyone interested in learning more about LISTEN can reach them at 701-746-7840 or by reaching out to Potts at Christy@listencenter.org.
The goal of LISTEN day services is to help people with intellectual or developmental disabilities to become as independent and self-sufficient as possible. The programming, according to Potts is personal and individualized. It is a safe and secure environment, nationally accredited and funded by North Dakota Department of Human Services.
“Once a year we put on a play at the Empire Theatre in downtown Grand Forks and we have dances every Friday night at the community center that are open to everyone,” Potts said. There is also a plan for a big celebration for the grand opening of their new facility in June to keep an eye out for. “We are glad to be able to reach out to the Grafton area and provide services that we believe really enhance and improve the lives of people,” Potts said. “We encourage anyone who has any questions to reach out to us. We would be happy to answer any questions.”

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Propel Nonprofits : STRATEGIC SERVICES : The L.I.S.T.E.N. Center

The L.I.S.T.E.N. Center (LISTEN Center) is preparing to make joy more accessible to the community with the opening of a new larger building, including an updated, more-accessible Drop-In community center in 2022. LISTEN Center is a nonprofit organization in North Dakota that strives to provide opportunities for all people. Their mission is to provide quality services for people with intellectual disabilities which will help them live as independently as possible. In addition to their Drop-In community center, the organization provides community-based day and residential services, hosts gaming sites, a festival of trees, community theater productions, and more.

“Our community center is what makes us stand out and remain visible in the community,” Executive Director Christy Potts said. “Our organization works to widen everyone’s world for opportunities to find joy, make choices, and take on responsibilities, and I think people see that most clearly when they think about the community center.”

The new building will feature a more-accessible, all-on-one-level space for the organization featuring ceiling lifts to better work with folks with physical disabilities, wide automatic doors, and wider hallways. The opening of the new building could serve as a metaphor for how Potts has approached running the organization since starting as Executive Director in 2018.

“I saw becoming ED at LISTEN Center as such a unique opportunity — I was so excited to be at an organization with such a strong history and community ties, and it was exciting for me to see all the opportunities we had to grow and change for the future,” Potts said.

As is common in the nonprofit sector, even more so in the past few years, Potts took over for an Executive Director who had been with the organization for multiple decades. In this case, 40 years.

Once she was in the role, she knew she needed support in updating staff policies, planning for growth, and building a working relationship with her board. With the support of her board chair, she reached out to Propel’s Strategic Services consultants.

Propel engages with nonprofits as a mutual and trusted partner using a three-step approach: assessing where your board is currently at, coming to an agreement on where you need to be (and how you want to be together), and then establishing an action plan to move forward toward your mission, together. Potts and her board chair have worked with Propel to define what steps need to be taken to move toward durability.

“I wouldn’t be where I am without Propel,” Potts said. “The team has been patient and thoughtful as we build out a plan for where I need to grow, and what I need from my board, and vice-versa, in order to create a stronger and more resilient organization.”

That included creating new policies, updating procedures, and continuing to be flexible and responsive during the pandemic.

“We are a 50-year-old organization, and I want us to be around in another 50 years,” she said. She sees the strong foundation of the organization and is excited to help cultivate the structure it needs to grow and continue to be what the community needs.

“I am so excited about where we are at,” Potts said. “We are growing in the right direction, not only literally with the opening of the new building, but figurately, too. I can tell how this work with the board will impact the whole organization.”

As she prepares for the opening of the new center, Potts sees it as a place where not only more clients can be welcomed, but a place for staff to feel supported as well.

“My colleague has said I move at the speed of light, but I think everything takes time, as long as you keep working on it, we’ll get there together,” she said.


To support listen center, you can donate at the pay pal link on their website, or via Facebook.

Article by Propel Nonprofits

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New Listen Center Groundbreaking Ceremony

“Our doors are made open to all!” Thank you to everyone who joined us at our Groundbreaking Ceremony!

Check out the ceremony on Facebook Live…or view images from the ceremony below.

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LISTEN Center to host groundbreaking June 10 for building that will be ‘Opening A Whole New Future’

After more than half a century, the LISTEN Center will launch a new era when it hosts a groundbreaking ceremony for its first-ever new building. The groundbreaking is set for Thursday, June 10, 4 p.m. at 2100 S. Washington St. in Grand Forks. The public is invited.

With construction expected to be completed in mid-2022, the new LISTEN building will have enough space to house all of LISTEN’s programs under one roof for the first time in years. There will also be additional space on the second floor for one or more tenants.

“LISTEN is excited to be a part of the continual growth, commercial renewal and development that is bringing value to our city,” said Christy Potts, LISTEN Executive Director. “This new building not only replaces an inaccessible old building that was on the property, but it will raise the standard for accessibility for everyone who uses our program services and our Drop In Community Center.  Our goal is to build a space that is accessible and user-friendly for people choosing our services and our staff that help them.”  

“With our programs growing and adding residential and in home support in the last 18 months to LISTEN services’ this building is opening a new future for us that is focused on the needs of the people we are supporting,” said Nancy McKay, Programs Services Director.  “It pioneers our potential for growth in our program services. With the new building, the skies the limit on what else we may be able to add to benefit our community.”

“A dream is a wish your heart makes and the Listen Drop In Center has been a part of helping people make their dreams happen for the past 50 years,” said Carla Tice, Drop In Program Director. “With this new building more dreams for more people will be possible. With state-of-the-art technology, universal design, and a culture that supports one another, we will have 50 more years of dreams come true.” 

LISTEN has partnered with Widseth and Community Contractors for design and construction of the building.

The LISTEN Center’s roots date back to 1970, when a program started in Grand Forks churches. It grew into S.M.I.LE. – St. Mary’s Is Love Exceptional – in 1972 and then combined with a Youth Arc program in 1974 to become Love Is Sharing the Exceptional Needs – L.I.S.T.E.N. LISTEN has evolved over the years, but its mission has remained the same: to provide quality services designed to help people with intellectual disabilities live as independently as possible.