Community Support Services, Inc.

Community Support Services, Inc. is committed to the provision of quality community-based services to individuals with developmental disabilities. We provide innovative services to support an individual with their needs in school, work, home and the community. We strive to serve individuals in the environments in which they desire to live, work, recreate, and learn. Our services are flexible and designed in accordance with each individual's self-directed life goals.
Oct 22, 2013

Look Who's Coming To Dinner!

Having friends over for dinner is a time-honored tradition, and it’s no different here at Community Support Services. It’s not just a meal; it’s an event that gives individuals a chance to strengthen social interactions in a safe environment.

Dinner groups meet regularly at the CSS kitchen, but they also bring the fun into their own homes. Friends take turns having each other over, preparing and hosting the meals.

The planning begins earlier in the week, when individuals discuss possible meal options with their staff. While favorite meals can take precedence, dinner group offers the opportunity to introduce new options to guests. The individuals use what they can from the CSS gardens, and plan a trip to the grocery for the rest.

Eating in a group is a great time to work on table manners. Practicing meal etiquette with friends allows individuals to build on their skill sets, which they carry beyond the group into other meals and social interactions.

Bringing dinner group into the homes is a chance for individuals to fine-tune the life skills they are learning at CSS, building the confidence to do the same when they are out in the community and having fun with friends at the same time!

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Aug 1, 2013

Garden-to-Table: Summer Squash

Few foods in life evoke warm summer days better than sautéed squash fresh picked from the garden. Participants in the CSS Garden to Table program have been working hard and enjoying the results!

It’s mid-summer here in Maryland and the squashes are beginning to arrive in abundance.  Specifically we’ve begun harvesting summer squashes such as the typical yellow, crookneck and patty pan squash.

Squash is a vegetable with a long tradition in North America. It is the lynchpin of the “three sisters” crop technique. Often known as companion planting it means that when you plant the different crops close together they all do better than they would apart. In this case, the three sisters are squash, corn and beans. Corn provides the much needed shade for squash to be cultivated successfully while the squash vines prohibit weed growth allowing the corn and beans to flourish. Beans then add nitrogen to the soil sharing nutrients between all three plans. The CSS gardens at Wootton’s Mill Park are planted with this symbiosis in mind thus maximizing the space and increasing the yield from all three crops.

Crops are tended carefully by our Gardening Group throughout the workweek. Individuals work in shifts being careful not to overheat, and many breaks are taken for shade and water.  July is a busy time in the garden with weeding, harvesting and replanting. There’s more than enough work for everyone. The crew gathers ripened vegetables, taking care not to damage the produce.

The harvested vegetables are brought back to the CSS kitchen where the dinner group then gets the chance to use them in their meals. A crowd favorite is to simply sauté squash with onions and bell peppers. After cutting the vegetables into manageable pieces, they are placed in a pan with a small amount of oil and seasonings and cooked until the vegetables are tender. The Tuesday dinner group enjoys squash as an ample side dish. As Craig S. says, “I like it because I grow it at work!”

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Jul 22, 2013

A Healthier Lifestyle, One Recipe at a Time!

The Healthy Cooking class at 1 o’clock on Thursday is a favorite for individuals and staff alike! The group is full of energy and anticipation as they gather, chatting about how they like learning to cook – and the fact that the food tastes great while also being good for them is an added bonus! 

Adam Rast, the cooking instructor at CSS, guides the class through each step of the cooking process of today’s recipe for Peanut Butter Bread. Each member of the group takes a turn as head chef while another group member reads the instructions aloud. They rotate until all the ingredients have come together, staying engaged during each step and supporting each other with applause! 

With the bread in the oven, the group utilizes the time by cleaning up the mess inevitably left behind by any kitchen project. Dishes are washed and dried while the recipe is reviewed. As the aroma of peanut butter wafts from the oven, Michael S. keeps a close eye on the timer, letting the rest of the group know how much time stands between them and their delicious snack. The increasingly hungry group distracts themselves by asking questions about the recipe. Then they kick back and relax, discussing their upcoming plans. 

At last, the final minute of baking time has arrived. The class counts down the seconds aloud and erupts in a cheer as the timer buzzes! The warm bread is sliced and passed around the table. The group savors the fruits of their labor, proving the Healthy Cooking class is not only educational but fun, and most importantly, delicious as well! 

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