In 2017, Gallagher Services celebrated 40 years of opening doors to a fuller life for individuals with intellectual disabilities. What begun as a residential program for children in 1977, today, Gallagher Services offers a range of homes for adults, a medical day program and support for vocational training and employment. All of our offerings focus on helping every person explore their personal vision of a fulfilling life—and on creating a pathway and support system tailored to help each individual achieve his or her vision of where to live and how to have a meaningful day.

Shawn Haynie and Rudy Boston have been familiar faces in the Gallagher Center kitchen for more than a decade. Both men have a passion for working with and around food, and Shawn, an avid Orioles fan, has a singular focus on his version of success—a job in food service at Camden Yards.

When Gallagher Services was seeking a vendor for its meal service, Shawn and Rudy inspired a pilot vocational program with the vendor, Culinary Services Group (CSG). This move is part of a larger shift in the organization’s journey to a person-centered model of planning and thinking about how to support individuals in achieving their goals and dreams. This program is one of many innovative approaches to meaningful work opportunities for adults with intellectual disabilities.

Each person’s path is unique, and may include volunteer work, involvement in the Center’s gardens or on a local farm and bringing vegetables to farmer’s markets, making artwork or participating in a wide range of entrepreneurial ventures—designing and creating clothing, custom floor mats or sachets and soaps from herbs grown in the Center’s greenhouses.

Rudy has been a Gallagher resident since childhood. Shawn entered the program in 1994, and is a representative on Gallagher Services’ strategic planning committee. This year, they graduate from training to developing additional abilities in the CSG kitchen at St. Vincent Villa—the next step in pursuing community employment. And two more residents will take their place in the training kitchen, following in their footsteps.