Choices Are For Everyone, Inc. was founded in 1996 by Sam Johnson and Polly Bradley. They have a combined total of over 50 years' experience supporting people with developmental disabilities. They met while working together at an agency in Portland. Both of them were driven by an intense desire to make life better for the people they served, but felt their efforts were often thwarted by "politics" and the clinical way consumers were treated by "the system". What Sam and Polly wanted to do was simple: treat consumers like individuals--like people--and give them more control over their own lives.
Over time, they conceived the idea of starting an agency with a different approach. Their approach would be to focus on offering consumers creative choices, and to develop consumer-centered programs, rather than forcing people to conform to settings they did not fit. And to top it off, they decided to do it with a program that was 100% community based. Up until this time, no other agency had offered a day program that was based totally in the community. They presented their idea to DHHS, and it was enthusiastically embraced. Then came a huge challenge: the Department gave Sam and Polly just six weeks to get things ready for CAFE to open its doors for business. Sure enough, they accomplished what might seem the impossible--they rented an office on Elm Street in Portland, raised the necessary funds, hired their first 5 staff members, and gathered together CAFE's first 19 consumers.
Now, over eighteen years later, CAFE's growth and success has exceeded their expectations. Today, CAFE serves around 120 consumers who are supported by about 85 employees and contractors. In addition to our extensive community supports, home supports, and children's program, CAFE currently operates five homes, and oversees nineteen Shared Living Option residences.
CAFE continues to focus upon simply helping people with the belief that the humanity within us all takes precedent over any restrictions, constraints, and controls that may be in place.