Steven Michael Carr is the Director of Development for Mattingly Edge, a local organization that seeks to enhance the experience of people with disabilities through endeavors that result in distinctive lives. In his spare time, Steven is an active member of Highland Baptist Church, The Chamber of St. Matthews, and the Hash House Harriers. He and his husband, David, enjoy board games, horror movies, hosting parties, and finding new and unique restaurants in the area. His favorite restaurant? Shirley Mae’s; they serve “magical sweet potatoes!” We sat down with Steven to learn a little bit more about him and the unique services Mattingly Edge provides in Louisville.
SLG: Steven, tell us a little bit about Mattingly Edge.
SMC: Mattingly Edge was founded in 1950 by the Sisters of Mercy as the Cerebral Palsy School of Louisville. The nuns believed every child should have access to education, including children with disabilities. Over the years, various versions of the original idea continued to morph, including a day center for adults. In November 2015, Mattingly Center (as it was known then) was renamed Mattingly Edge. In October 2017, Mattingly Edge stopped providing day program services, allowing the group to focus on community integrative services. Our mission is to partner with people with disabilities to allow them to thrive alongside their neighbors in a real community. We help folks who are often devalued by society obtain better access to good, quality lives. We work with them to find housing and jobs, providing them a support system as they journey through their lives, taking advantage of the privileges and responsibilities that come with being a valued citizen. Our greatest resource is good quality people who are interested in providing good quality of life to those we support.
SLG: How do you fund the important work at Mattingly Edge?
SMC: We receive about 75 percent of our funding through Medicaid and its waiver program. The rest is raised through grants, events, and through individual donations. For 2018-2019, the James Graham Brown Foundation will be matching gifts, dollar for dollar, of all donations we receive, up to $350,000. Every dollar counts!
SLG: Can you tell us a brief story of someone whose life has been positively impacted by his/her partnership with Mattingly Edge?
SMC: Where should we start?! We are fortunate to have many success stories. For example, take Graham. He wanted more out of life than to simply attend a day program. He and his family partnered with Mattingly Edge to identify his skills and talents. We discovered that Graham loved fitness, magic tricks, music and theater. We helped him join a gym. Once he was a gym member, his fellow students in a spinning class adapted a stationary bike so Graham could attend the class. We have supported Graham over the years in his endeavors to learn to kayak, brew beer, and we continue to back him in his efforts to really engage in the community around him. We supported him as he moved into his own home where, with assistance, he cooks, keeps his place clean, and hosts get-togethers for friends and family. He is interested in politics – he’s advocated for curb cuts in his neighborhood. He goes to the local pub and performs magic tricks. We all want to progress in our lives … Graham is no different in that goal. Graham is also currently seeking employment.
SLG: How did you come to be involved with such a great organization?
SMC: Highland Baptist Church had an ad on its community bulletin board for a company called Realizations, LLC, to do this kind of work. I was in college at the time, and it was in my field of study. I figured I’d get paid and gain experience at the same time, so I applied. My director at the time, Hope Leet Dittmeier, hired me. When she joined Mattingly Edge in 2014, she negotiated to bring her team from Realizations along with her, so we all got new jobs! Nine years later, I still love it.
SLG: The Roll ‘N Stroll at Bellarmine is coming up, and it sounds like a lot of fun! How can we get involved?
SMC: It really is so much fun! It’s Saturday, June 30, 2018 from 10:00 – 11:30 a.m., and we hold it at Bellarmine University. If you’ve been to campus, you know it’s quite hilly. There are three courses to pick from: a quarter-mile path, a three-quarter mile path, and one that’s three miles long. If you’re going to roll your way through, we recommend a power wheel chair. You can also walk, and it’s quite a workout. This is a wonderful, family-friendly event that really helps support our mission. There’s a $25.00 registration fee, but hey – it comes with a free t-shirt! Visit our website at www.mattinglyedge.org for more information; we’d love to see you there!