By Morgan Andreanopoulos, Marketing Coordinator
In recent years, the West side of Indianapolis has bustled with excitement as new improvements in the town of Avon have emerged. Rockville Road is the central thoroughfare in the popular area with many businesses, shops and dining options.
As Cornerstone has continued to maximize the lives of children living with autism, it was only natural to continue to expand the footprint of our centers by offering our services to more families in need of them. As our staff have fulfilled their dreams of becoming Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) we have aimed to create even more leadership opportunities within our organization.
The search to find a suitable place began in early 2020, but once COVID-19 hit, plans had to be placed on hold for several months. The search resumed in late summer and a place that met all the criteria was located shortly thereafter.
“Having done this several times now, we have a pretty clear vision of what we are looking for,” reports Debbie Ide, Founder and COO. “When I see a space, I can determine pretty quickly if it will work for us. I’m able to look past dated wallpaper and teal countertops to see what it will become. For me, that’s the fun part.”
Once renovations began, the leadership team would meet with contractors every two weeks to make decisions and keep the project moving forward. Moving walls, selecting flooring, finishes and paint colors started to breathe new life into the space until it had the “Cornerstone” touch.
“It was really hard to imagine kids playing in each of the rooms at first,” said Clinical Director Holly Barszcz, Ph.D, BCBA-D. “However, it has been amazing to see the transformation from start to finish.”
The center opened for services on February 1, 2021 and it was a team effort to pull it together so quickly. Experience and keen organization streamlined the project and several staff members contributed their time and talents towards a successful and timely opening.
“The Avon center will allow us to serve even more families and help them gain access to crucial ABA therapy,” said Rachelle Vaughn, Polk Center Manager. “Speaking as a parent of a previous client, ABA is life-changing for families so I’m so happy we get to help even more children and their families as well.”
The space offers a wide array of creative spaces for our staff and clients. Several themes—from Ocean Animals to Pirates to Outer Space and more—inspire and make therapy fun and motivating!
On February 11th, the Avon Chamber of Commerce directed an official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at the front entrance. Click here to view the video.
Our Virtual Tour is now available online. View our tour here, or call to schedule your tour at 317-622-8904.
Q&A: MEET YOUR AVON LEADERSHIP & ADMINISTRATIVE TEAM
Dr. Holly Barszcz, PhD, BCBA-D, Clinical Director
Dr. Holly Barszcz has been working with Cornerstone since its inception in 2010. She has been an ABA Therapist, Team Lead, BCBA, Clinical Director and now has her PhD and BCBA-D. Her years of experience in the field have changed hundreds of lives for the better.
What are the most prevalent goals for the Avon location?
“We want to provide best-in-class ABA therapy in the same way that we have implemented therapy at our other locations. We would like to continue to grow our center with the community.”
Can you talk about the leadership of Debbie and Ken while opening this center?
“It is great to see owners invested in making a difference in the lives of children diagnosed with ASD. They start by selecting qualified staff, buildings that will promote learning, and they pay attention to each detail that facilitates best-in-class therapy. Both owners come with their own strengths, working together to pull together the opening of a new center.”
What are you most excited about with regards to Cornerstone opening the 5th center in 10 years?
“I am honestly just excited to be able to impact many more lives including both children and their families. It will be beneficial to provide great services to the west side of Indianapolis and impact families in need of these services.”
Ashley Willey, MA, BCBA
Ashley has been with the company for over 6 years, working at the Greenwood Polk location as an ABA Therapist, Clinical Support, Team Lead and now a BCBA. She is excited for the opportunity to work at a new location and see the overall growth of the center from the start.
What prep work did you do before Avon’s opening?
“I’ve had the opportunity to help with intake assessments for all the families on the waitlist for our Avon location. It’s been a pleasure to meet with many parents and sweet kiddos, getting to know them a little prior to Avon opening!”
How will Avon help families within the West side of Indianapolis?
“Our Avon location is going to provide even more services for children with Autism on the westside of Indianapolis, who might not have services available to them otherwise, which is very exciting!”
Erica Bushnell, MA, BCBA
Erica has been with Cornerstone almost 8 years. She started as an ABA therapist, then became Clinical Support, then she transitioned into the Team Lead role and now she is a BCBA. Erica has worked at both of our Greenwood locations.
What is a fun fact about you?
“I am a lover of coffee, mainly Starbucks! It is my fuel in the mornings.”
What prep work did you do before Avon’s opening?
“I assisted with the intake assessments for our future clients starting back in January. Currently, I continue to conduct assessments and hold interviews for future therapists.”
Which is your favorite themed room and why?
“I love the art room! It is so fun to see how creative the kids are and how their personalities come out in their art.”
Bryan Swift, Center Manager
Bryan has been an ABA Therapist at Cornerstone for 3 years, and he is now transitioning into a new role as Center Manager. He will be overseeing the daily operations of the center as well as running the front office space. Bryan will be one of the first people families greet, welcoming them into the center!
What role did you have in helping Avon open this year?
This was the first time I have helped with the opening of a center, so my role was to assist in any way possible! Throughout the process I was in and out of the center helping move items in, build toys and furniture, as well as organizing the rooms.
Which room at Avon is your favorite and why?
I would have to say there is a tie for favorite room for me. I really like the construction room and the space room. The construction room will be a great place for the kids to use their building skills to create awesome things with the Legos and Duplo blocks! Then in the space room there is a very cool mural of space stickers where the kids can pretend to be in space or flying rocket ship!
What would you like the community to know?
I would just like the community to know that we are here for you! If you have any questions about autism or our centers, or anything else, please do not hesitate to reach out!
Jack Moyer, Maintenance Technician
Jack has been working for Cornerstone the past 5 ½ years. He has helped with the opening process of three centers in that time. Jack helps with anything from moving furniture and installing appliances, to hanging artwork and maintaining the facilities HVAC and plumbing and loads of stuff in between!
What was the best part about helping with the Avon center?
“This project was extremely satisfying due to the tremendous amount of staff that was involved in pulling all of the many details to making the center functional.”
How will this new center impact the town of Avon, Indiana?
“I feel the Avon center will serve as a shining example of how to serve the community by providing safe and loving care to children with autism. Every effort is made to have the best staff, facility and equipment on hand.”
To learn more about each of our Avon Team Members, view the full team at this link.
February 17, 2021, Morgan Andreanopoulos