Coastal Opportunities offers residential services with a range of care and supervision levels in five Knox County communities, where the homes and their residents have been welcomed: Camden, Rockport, Rockland, Thomaston, and Owls Head.
The Katherine Brown Home, now located in Rockland, is an intermediate-care facility (ICF) for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Specifically designed to be occupied by people who use wheelchairs, this ICF offers an intensive degree of assisted living for up to eight individuals. In order to achieve as much self-determination and independence as possible, residents work on improving or maintaining skills to communicate, care for themselves, ambulate, and perform basic tasks independently. The home’s name honors the late Katherine True Brown, a longtime board member who dedicated her energies to supporting Coastal Opportunities. Her son Cony was one of the first residents of the original home in Hope. The picture accompanying this article is that facility - we will soon have an updated picture of the Rockland location for you.
The Shirley Drinkwater Home, a duplex home located in Rockport, offers a structured setting for four residents requiring a high level of staff support. With guidance, residents are encouraged to help with the responsibilities of maintaining the home by assisting with cleaning, cooking, laundry, and household errands. Recreational activities include arts and crafts, computer and tabletop games, exercise, movies, walks, picnics, window-shopping, and community events. The home is named for the late Shirley Drinkwater, a co-founder of the Camden Trainable School (predecessor of the Henderson School) and an active member of the Camden Association parents’ support group. Shirley’s daughter is a resident at the Katherine Brown Home.
The Vera Brandes Home, located on Main Street in Thomaston, offers its residents a homelike atmosphere, private bedrooms, and the convenience of being within walking distance of town. While living in a supported group setting, six adults with intellectual disabilities learn and use the skills that are necessary to live more independently. For Thomaston’s annual Fourth of July Parade, the residents have a longstanding tradition of playing host to the staff and residents of all the other Coastal Opportunities group homes. The late Vera Brandes was a dedicated board member who urged that Coastal Opportunities establish residential services for clients who were participating in its day program.
The Annette Overlock Home, located in Owls Head, provides the opportunity for three adults with intellectual disabilities to achieve independence in the least restrictive environment. The home encourages each of the residents to develop skills that focus on daily tasks, such as planning menus, shopping, meal preparation, caring for themselves and their home, and learning social skills by interacting with each other and with the community in which they live. The home is named for the late Annette Overlock, the first teacher at the Camden Trainable School, established in 1967 in the parish house of the First Congregational Church. Annette taught many of the current clients when they were children and continued to be a loyal supporter of Coastal Opportunities throughout her life.
The George Robishaw Home, located on Rankin Street in Rockland, on land adjacent to the Jenkins Home, can accommodate up to four adults with intellectual disabilities. The Robishaw Home provides a varied range of supports, including medication management and skill building in areas of self-care, general safety, communication and personal interactions, and access to the Rockland community. The late George Robishaw, a longtime dedicated Coastal Opportunities board member, was the father of the late Albert (A. J.) Robishaw, a Coastal Opportunities participant.
The Jenkins Home is located on Rankin Street in Rockland, on land adjacent to the George Robishaw Home. Built in 2005, this one-story duplex accommodates up to four residents with intellectual disabilities. Each side of the duplex has two bedrooms and a bathroom, a modern kitchen/dining area, and a comfortable living room. This peaceful setting, in a quiet section of Rockland, is convenient to many of the residents’ social and volunteer destinations. The home is named for a family long associated with Coastal Opportunities. The late John Jenkins was a devoted board member, and his son Jim has carried on that tradition for many years. John’s late wife, Justina, provided support in a great variety of ways. Their daughter Martha (Jim’s sister) was a longtime participant in the Coastal Opportunities day and residential programs before her death in 2008.
Individuals who live in their own apartments receive assistance with budgeting, transportation, community awareness, safety issues, shopping, cooking, and supervision of social activities. The two supported-living facilities operated by Coastal Opportunities are the Julia Spear Payne Apartments and the Worthington Home, both in Camden.
The Julia Spear Payne Apartments are located on Limerock Street in Camden, on land adjacent to the Thomas F. Corcoran Center. Three apartments at this site provide housing for two or three adults requiring support and one person sympathetic to their needs. Residents receive assistance with budgeting, shopping, cooking, safety skills, transportation, community awareness, medical and emotional needs, and coordination and supervision of social activities. The late Julia Spear Payne was the Coastal Opportunities board treasurer for several years before succumbing to cancer in 1996.
The Worthington Home, located conveniently close to downtown Camden, provides private, accessible, ground-floor apartments for three adults with intellectual disabilities who need minimal support to live independently. A fourth apartment, on the second floor, is occupied by a person sympathetic to the needs of the residents. This building, completed in 2015 with distinctive Eastlake-style features, stands on land purchased from the First Congregational Church of Camden. The home is named after the late Gertrude “Trudy” Hurlburt Worthington, a longtime Camden resident who supported Coastal Opportunities for many years, most notably as a founder and the original treasurer of the Cash for Clothes Sale in 1975.
We know that equality of individual ability has never existed and never will, but we do insist that equality of opportunity still must be sought.