After months of remodeling, Jacob’s Ladder in Warsaw was proud to open its doors for a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house. The ribbon cutting took place at 1 p.m. today and was immediately followed by an open house event that lasted till 6 p.m.
“We are very excited and the kids are really excited, they’ve been waiting a long time,” said Jacob’s Ladder founder, Mary Ann Frigo.
Frigo, who opened the original Jacob’s Ladder location in Valparaiso, noted that the staff of both facilities would be working together closely during the initial opening period.
“We are working together and it’s saving us a lot of money because the Warsaw location is able to use all of our staff at the Valparaiso location for all the intake billing and insurance issues so we don’t have to hire all that personnel here – at least initially to get started,” said Frigo.
Rebecca Bazzoni, director of the Warsaw branch of Jacob’s Ladder, became inspired to work toward opening a new location closer to home when she noted the need for more assistance for families with special needs children. Bazzoni worked as a First Steps therapist for several years in the community and, though guidance is provided through the school systems, Bazzoni knew several important developmental necessities were going unaddressed.
“I’ve been a First Steps therapist for the past six to seven years here in Kosciusko County and I’ve just seen a growing need for care beyond the age of three,” Bazzoni said. “Children age out of First Steps program at the age of three and they are evaluated by our school system … We have a lot of fantastic school system therapists, but their goals for school therapy have to relate to the classroom so that leaves other areas of development unaddressed, and its not enough for some of our kids.
“As a First Steps therapist I had recommended to families that they travel for therapy and that means going to Fort Wayne, Goshen, South Bend or Plymouth and so many of our families can’t make that trip and their children never get the care they truly need,” she added.
Jacob’s Ladder has begun assisting some of the children on their wait list, however, due to complications with insurance providers, the staff is still unable to treat all children on their wait list. However, Bazzoni stated once Jacob’s Ladder receives the necessary approval from the remaining insurance companies, they will begin working with close to 40 children.
Jacob’s Ladder is already seeing close to 10 kids right now and will have close to 40 children when they open with a full case load.
Jacob’s Ladder staff includes physical therapists, speech therapists and COTA’s. It is also in a newly remodeled building equipped with exercise equipment and even a rock wall for children to play on.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun for our kids,” said Bazzoni with a smile when asked about the new rock wall. “It makes them not even realize that they are working. And that’s the goal here, to make it fun.”