Unlimited Services, Inc. awarded three-year CARF accreditation


"It's just U.S., bringing independence home!" say directors of Unlimited Services, Inc., whose business has been accredited by an independent, nonprofit accrediting body that establishes consumer-focused standards to help organizations measure and improve the quality of their programs and services. From left are partners Amy Vonderhaar, Angi Lawson, Barry Armstrong, Michelle Armstrong, and Johnna Sweers. (Photo submitted)

By Molly Moser

Early this month, CARF International announced that Unlimited Services, Inc., of Guttenberg, has been accredited for a period of three years for its community employment services. This accreditation is the fourth consecutive three-year accreditation that CARF has awarded to Unlimited Services.

Unlimited Services began in 2003 with five HCBS homes and 25 staff, and now serves roughly 80 consumers and supports 13 homes in Guttenberg, Dyersville, Dundee, Manchester, West Union, and Elgin. With offices in both Guttenberg and Manchester, Unlimited Services employs 100 people who work to further the company's mission, ‘Bringing Independence Home.’ Unlimited Services provides supported community living on a daily and hourly basis, and their recent CARF accreditation highlights another important aspect of their business – vocational rehabilitation.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of business at Can Do Redemption Center, Unlimited Services’ vocational program at the Manchester Vocational Center. Trainees are paid working wages while learning or regaining skills to prepare for competitive employment in the community. 

“You might be surprised at how many jobs were created at a can redemption center,” said Amy Vonderhaar, the company’s director of human resources and accounting. Not only does the redemption center process up to 8 million cans each year, it provides training in workplace safety, problem solving, and following and retaining instructions to those with intellectual disabilities and mental illness.

Unlimited Services also provides assistance for people seeking employment through partnerships with many area businesses. This supported employment program helps people choose, obtain, and retain integrated employment in the community. Day program services, like the Hopes Club of Manchester, are yet another venue for people to optimize personal, social, and vocational competency and to live successfully in a community. Hopes Club members volunteer, take day trips, and participate in planning activities. 

“During the first year of operation, we placed 50% of consumers at jobs in the community,” said Barry Armstrong, director of employment services, in regard to Can Do. According to community relations director Angi Lawson, that level of achievement relates directly to CARF’s intensive accreditation process. 

Unlimited Services has received the highest level of accreditation that can be awarded to an organization, which shows substantial conformance to CARF standards. An organization receiving a three-year accreditation undergoes a rigorous peer review process and has demonstrated to a team of surveyors during an on-site visit its commitment to offering programs and services that are measurable, accountable, and of the highest quality.  “People that have come through the program are successful because we have these standards,” Lawson told The Press.

Lawson also noted that following the CARF review process, Unlimited Services was correction-free in their Medicaid certification review. 

Partners Amy Vonderhaar, Barry and Michelle Armstrong, Angi Lawson, and Johnna Sweers extend their gratitude to consumers and staff. To celebrate the accreditation, Unlimited Services will hold an open house at the redemption center in May. All community members are encouraged to attend.

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