History

Some highlights of our history

How Options Started

2010-Present

2021

Carrie Mercke became OPTIONS President/CEO.

2021

During Hurricane Ida OPTIONS responded to the needs of people with disabilities by utilizing 4 of its locations as storm shelters. For two weeks OPTIONS provided natural gas generators, food and hands on care to ensure approximately 80 people (54 people with disabilities and 26 staff) were safe, health and content.

2020

OPTIONS keeps people with disabilities safe and socially distant and develops new and creative ways to meet their needs during all of the COVID-19 restrictions. Innovative activities included: a virtual day program, Virtual Legislative & Business Appreciation Event, to drive by Employee Appreciation opportunities and Movin’ & Grovin’ 4 OPTIONS. The purpose of Movin’ & Groovin’ 4 OPTIONS was to promote health and wellness and physical activity while adhering to social distancing guidelines. In November, OPTIONS hosted 20 physical activity sessions to encourage participants to get up, get moving, and have fun!

2018

Good Morning America Co-Host and OPTIONS Advocate/Supporter, Robin Roberts, comes to visit OPTIONS Program Participants.

2017

In August, OPTIONS established a satellite enrichment day program location at First Christian Church in Downtown Hammond.

2017

OPTIONS partners with Spoga to hold the 1st Ballin’ 4 OPTIONS Charity Basketball game. With the leadership of Jeff Day, co-owner of Spoga, this event was created to promote health and wellness. OPTIONS participants practice to form two basketball teams the Orange Rockets and the Purple Knights. After many weeks of practice they demonstrated their skills at the Ballin’ 4 OPTIONS Charity Basketball game.

2015

On November 12, 2015 OPTIONS held its 1st Be the Key Breakfast fundraiser. The OPTIONS Be the Key Breakfast purpose is to raise funds to fill the gap in funding for the agency.

2015

Thanks to the vision and passion of Karen Pfiefer, OPTIONS Weaving Studio opens for business on OPTIONS main campus.

2014

On March 17, 2014 the OPTIONS Enrichment Program was started. This program encourages people with disabilities to enjoy self-growth, friendship, recreation and arts through community partnerships.

2014

C’est Tres Bon! a HUD housing apartment program with 6 handicapped accessible apartment units opens.

2011 - 2012

OPTIONS creates a new business to provide employment for people with disabilities, OPTIONS Fabulous Finds. It is a resale store located in Ponchatoula.

2011 – 2012

OPTIONS Safe Haven had its grand opening and beginning operating as a vocational day program. It was used as a hurricane shelter for Hurricane Isaac on August 28th, 2012.

90's-00's

2005-2006

Land was also donated by Jerry & Sheila Kinchen to a 6 unit handicap accessible HUD apartments (C’est Tres Bon!).

2005-2006

After Hurricane Katrina, OPTIONS gets land donated by Ed and Peggy Hoover to build a 7000 square foot facility (Safe Haven) that will provide additional space for vocational services and a safe location in the event of a hurricane or natural disaster. OPTIONS Safe Haven building was constructed to withstand 110 mph wind load and is fully handicap accessible to meet all of the participants needs.

2003

OPTIONS Capital campaign raises money to build new home for six ladies who live at Our House community home and a building for OPTIONS horticulture program.

2003

OPTIONS Capital campaign raises money to build new home for six ladies who live at Our House community home and a building for OPTIONS horticulture program.

1998-1999

OPTIONS 1st TELETHON was held at Hammond Square Mall and was shown on Channel 17. Community leaders and advocates join together to promote awareness of the needs of people with disabilities and to raise money to support OPTIONS mission.

OPTIONS 1st Legislative & Business Appreciation Breakfast was held.

1989-1990

TARC’s board of director decides that two separate non-profit agencies will better serve the growing needs of people with disabilities in the community. OPTIONS was created. TARC will provide early intervention services and advocacy and OPTIONS will provide adult residential and vocational services. TARC transfers 2 community homes, supervised apartment program and vocational services to OPTIONS.

70's-80's

1985

TARC begins finding individual jobs for people with disabilities in the community

1985

TARC begins the first supervised apartment program in Tangipahoa parish.

1984

As part of TARC, the first community based small residential living home, known as Our House opened in Tangipahoa parish. Six ladies with developmental disabilities lived together with around the clock staff support.

1982

Parents of people with disabilities personally guaranteed a loan for TARC to build a permanent building for community based Day Program services on Shelton Road.

1979

TARC hires its first Chief Executive Officer, Sylvia Bush.

1972

In the 1960’s and 1970’s there were very few community based services for people with disabilities and it was parents who advocated for their children to have a opportunities for education and opportunities to be part of their community. Mary Pirosko moved to Hammond with her husband and children. One of her children, Stephen had Down syndrome and she wanted community services for him. She worked with other parents and in 1972 to first community based Day Program was started for children of all ages. The parents’ organization had several names over the years, but it is most well known as TARC.

Download our employee handbook 2020