New Ripple Effects Community Inclusion Center Is Already Making Waves For Portage Families

Ripple Effects Community Inclusion Center

Ripple Effects is a Community Haven For Southwest Michigan Families

Ask any parent or caregiver of individuals with developmental and learning differences how supported they feel, and you’ll likely hear the same thing: I’m barely staying afloat. 

But a new inclusion center in Portage is hoping to change that — and is already making waves in the community.

Ripple Effects Community Inclusion Center is a non-profit, community haven that offers support and resources for families and caregivers of individuals with developmental and learning disabilities. 

With a mission of helping individuals thrive academically, socially, and recreationally, inclusion is their guiding star. Regardless of abilities or challenges, Ripple Effects provides services for everyone, including:

  • Recreational events and social clubs 
  • Education and training
  • Family care and support
  • Personal care

If you’re a parent or caregiver of a child with disabilities or know someone who is, read on to see why this awesome nonprofit needs to be on your radar.

Ripple Effects Community Inclusion Center
2255 W Centre Ave, Portage MI 49024

13 Incredible Things Families Need To Know About Ripple Effects Community Inclusion Center

Ripple Effects offers so many supportive services to SW Michigan families. Discover their current offerings and plans to expand:

1. Their Inclusive Recreational, Educational, and Social Clubs Are Open To Everyone 

Yes, everyone: all ages, all disabilities and all interests. There’s something for everyone, with weekly recreational events like cooking, arts & crafts, STEM, video games, even Dungeons and Dragons!

Plus, Ripple Effects offers educational resources like academic tutoring. Coming soon is workforce development and supported employment services for adults with disabilities and learning differences.

Guided by experienced professionals, each session is designed to be adaptable so participants of all abilities can fully participate. And the best part? They’re great for physical health and mental well-being.

2. Numerous Family Services

When you need a change of pace or just can’t spend one more snow day cooped up in your house, Ripple Effects offers a variety of family-friendly services, including:

  • Free family fun nights
  • Day camps (think snow days, school vacation days, and summer break)
  • Adult day, social and recreational programs

3. Waves Sensory Hair Salon Provides Sensory-Friendly Haircuts

When haircuts can get — well, a little hairy — their sensory-friendly hair salon is a cut above the rest. Part of their personal care services, Waves offers accommodating hair appointments for all ages and sensitivities.

A one hour appointment will cost $45 and familiarization appointments are encouraged (but not required).

My son had the hardest times at salons and at home getting hair cuts. It always gave him a great deal of anxiety. Our experience at the Ripple Effects Salon was AMAZING! He was able to take his time, take breaks, and pretty much play the entire haircut!! Could not say enough great things about this experience and the women who talked him through/ played with him during the process. He is so proud and has been in the best mood the rest of the night! Thank you!

4. Caregiver’s Cove Delivers Respite Care & Support

Ripple Effects fully understands how overwhelming it can be as a caregiver of individuals with disabilities. They offer weekend and evening respite care and support to help you feel seen, heard, and empowered.

Caregiver’s Cove provides sweet relief while your child safely plays or engages in nearby activities. Connect with others and expand your support network while you relax, recharge, and enjoy refreshments. Or if you need some alone time (we get it), connect to their free wi-fi and surf the web in silence.

RECIC just gave me a free few hours of a break by hosting a respite night! Definitely my favorite 😍 It’s an amazing, new space that’s very inclusive and welcoming.

I’ve been hesitant to take (my son) to unfamiliar places, especially in the evenings with no support, given how unstable his mental health has been. Just being in the atmosphere felt nice because Isaiah was free to be his busy self and touch everything. Do you know how nice it’ll be to offer him a chance to play video games with friends in person for an hour while I sit in a clean space and read a book?

5. Ripple Effects’ State of the Art Facility Offers Accessible Bathing, Sensory Rooms, And More

Have we mentioned the Inclusion Center is a large state-of-the-art facility designed for multiple uses?

Spacious accessible bathrooms allow you to safely bathe or shower your child with privacy and dignity. 
A full-sized kitchen and dining room allows you to cook your own food and ‘dine out’.
They have an epic media room with multiple screens for movies and gaming. 
The outdoor enclosed patio is a safe and private area to sit, play, and get some fresh air.
A sensory room is also in development.

6. Affordable Family Memberships Are Packed With Benefits

While you don’t need to be a member to enjoy all the great things Ripple Effects has to offer, you might want to consider becoming one. You’ll get access to all of their services, facilities, and activities. Certain activities are an additional cost, but you will receive a membership discount.

An annual family membership costs $30, and flexible payment plans can be arranged. 

7. Non-Members Can Attend Events Too

You don’t have to be a member to benefit from Ripple Effects inclusive offerings, but some events may have a small fee to attend.

8. An Inclusive Preschool Is In The Works

A fully-licensed preschool is currently in development with KC Ready 4s and the Great Start Readiness Program.

The school will be open to all children ages 3 and 4 who have diverse learning needs, including behavioral challenges and physical, mental, or emotional impairments. 

9. Free Playgroups Offered for Babies and Toddlers

Looking for fun new activities to enjoy with your little one? Check out Movement Mondays and Wonder Wednesdays at Ripple Effects!

Geared toward babies from 3-months-old to precocious three-year-olds, you’ll explore gross motor activities and sensory exploration led by Miss Britney, a mom who is also a board certified behavior analyst.

When: Mondays & Wednesdays

Time: 10 – 11 AM

Cost: Free

10. eGift Cards Are Available

Think a program or activity would be great for a friend or family member to check out? Send them a gift card so they can attend! Available in any denomination, you can send it via email for instant use, or schedule it for a specific delivery date (birthday gift, anyone?) 

Bonus: gift cards can also be used toward Waves Sensory Hair Salon!

11. Ripple Effects is Available for Party Room Rentals

Add Ripple Effects Community Inclusion Center to your list of potential birthday party rental venues.

Available to families in Portage and the surrounding communities, you’ll have affordable, all-ages access to a large facility with multiple amenities:

  • Full kitchen
  • Large dining area with seating for up to 130
  • Media room with 4 tvs, a projector, and large screen
  • Toys and play equipment
  • Pool table and Foosball Table
  • Private, outdoor patio
  • Free Wi-Fi

12. Sister Company to Ripple Effects Autism Learning Center

As the name implies, the inclusion center is a sister company to Ripple Effects Autism Learning Center. With four locations, they provide tailored educational experiences for those with autism in Southwest Michigan.

Together, these organizations represent a “harmonious commitment to nurturing growth, understanding, and community engagement.”

13. Community Foster Closet Provides The Essentials

From clothing and baby essentials to toys and books, Ripple Effects’ Foster Closet is a welcome resource for foster families. Here you can find new and gently used items for children of all ages.

And for those late notice evening or weekend placements? The Ripple Effects team can open the Foster Closet quickly anytime by reaching out via Facebook, which is monitored 24/7.

Meet the Ripple Effects Team

Led by founder and CEO Lauren Cavalli, Ripple Effects’ growing team includes two board certified behavior analysts Megan McDowell Delgado (Clinical Director) and Britney Miranda-Gonzalez (Site Supervisor), COO Ron Swank, and Waves Hair Stylist, Megan Garcia.

Additionally, several instructors help make every event a success.

5 Ways To Help Ripple Effects Succeed

Community support is vital to non-profits. Here are five ways to help Ripple Effects that make a big splash in their inclusive mission:

#1. Volunteer Your Time

Whether your jam is organizing and cleaning or being a club buddy to someone who needs a hand, there are several ways to put your time and skills to use. It’s also a great way for students to earn volunteer hours.

Fill out the volunteer registration form to get started.

#2. Make a Monetary Donation

For non-profits, everything hinges on funding. Making a tax-deductible donation allows Ripple Effects to continue offering much-needed inclusive events and opportunities to the community.

#3. Buy From Their Wishlist

Pick an item (or two) from their Amazon wishlist and it will be shipped directly to the center.

From kitchen, cleaning, and office supplies to sensory-friendly toys, each purchase benefits the children and families they serve.

#4. Donate Items To The Foster Closet

Donations of new and gently used items for infants, young children, and teens are gladly accepted for Ripple Effect’s Community Foster Closet.

Clothes, bedding, blankets, shoes, toys, games, puzzles: whatever has been outgrown by your family will likely be appreciated and given new life to a foster family.

Their biggest request? New underwear and socks for all ages.

Check their website for a list of what’s accepted and drop-off information.

#5. Spread the Word

Word of mouth is a powerful tool. Ripple Effects Community Inclusion Center is a fairly new organization whose success largely depends on funding. And funding is easier to obtain with community support and backing.

Liking, commenting, and sharing their social media posts costs zero dollars and expands awareness more than you realize. If you’ve attended an event or used their services, leave a review and share your experience with others. Write letters of support.

These small acts truly create a ripple effect.

Contact Ripple Effects to Learn More

Ripple Effects Inclusion Center is an asset to the Southwest Michigan community. Learn more about this nonprofit through their website and social media:

Ripple Effects Community Inclusion Center

2255 W Centre Ave, Portage MI 49024