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Anne Carlsen Center unveils logo, expands service statewide

A young boy hiked across bridges of playground equipment Tuesday, appearing fearless against the stepping stairs' incline and slope of the elevated walkway.

A young boy hiked across bridges of playground equipment Tuesday, appearing fearless against the stepping stairs' incline and slope of the elevated walkway.

Born a premature twin with respiratory complications and other heath problems, 18-month-old Jaxon Schneider is accustomed to tackling challenges.

So was Dr. Anne Carlsen, whose name, and now her signature, are memorialized as The Anne Carlsen Center.

Administrators, employees, students and stakeholders gathered Tuesday as Dan Howell, the center's chief executive officer, unveiled the school's new logo -- a purple butterfly shape with the silhouette of a human between the wings and, underneath the image, Carlsen's autograph.

Howell also announced the center's expansion of outreach services across the state.

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"The center will help children thrive while remaining in their own home," said Harvey Huber, member of the center's board of trustees.

Carlsen was born without forearms and lower legs. She became administrator of the school for children with physical disabilities in 1950. Her penmanship rivaled that of most people without disabilities, Howell said. Today, the center focuses on treatment for young adults with developmental disabilities, including autism.

Already, the center has an office in Grand Forks, which provides outreach services in the community, and expects an office in Bismarck within the next 18 months, Howell said. The current center in Jamestown is not going anywhere, Huber said.

"We can help more families benefit from a greater quality of life," he said.

Grand Forks was chosen because of the need for those services in the northeastern part of the state as well as its proximity to UND's medical school, Howell said.

Some of the services that the six Grand Forks employees provide are similar to the services Jaxon receives -- in-home occupational and speech therapies, as well as day care services at the center when no other facility could care for him, said Jaxon's mother, Jennifer Schneider.

Jaxon's medical needs were too great for standard day care, Schneider said, but without someone to watch Jaxon and his sister, Jaleigh, she could not work.

"It was a lifesaver. It was the only way I could go back to work," she said.

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The outreach centers also will provide training opportunities, vocational support, programs and activities for people older than 21, such as Zachary Hofmann, a graduate of the Anne Carlsen Center and current resident.

Hofmann works a handful of formalized jobs, including paper shredding at South Central Human Service Center in Jamestown and morning deliveries within the Anne Carlsen Center.

These duties are important, said Hofmann's caregiver, John Andrus, because it makes people feel needed and useful.

"Everyone needs to have a purpose in life," he said.

For years, medically fragile graduates such as Hofmann had no where to live but nursing homes, said Gina Horgan, family resource coordinator at the center. Now, the center will provide residential services to adults who require them, she said.

The Jamestown Sun and the Herald are Forum Communications Co. newspapers.

On the Net:

www.annecenter.org .

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