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Senator Joni Ernst makes Mosaic visit, meeting with staff part of 99-county tour

by Joe Moses

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst visited Mosaic's Waukon office Tuesday, April 11 as part of her 99-county tour following a town hall meeting in Elkader April 10. Ernst met with the administration and staff at Mosaic, an organization that serves individuals with developmental disabilities, to discuss the organization's positive impact, advocacy, current needs and concerns relating to legislation.

Mosaic Executive Director Brent Aberg provided an overview of the organization's history and service. Aberg advised that Mosaic is the result of a merger between two faith-based legacy organizations, Martin Luther Homes and the Bethphage Inner Mission Association, with Bethphage's history dating back 104 years. Aberg discussed the organization's impact nationally with Mosaic serving 3,700 individuals with developmental disabilities across ten states and the importance of matching clients with host homes where faith and personal interests align, allowing for the best quality of life outcomes for clients to live as individuals.

Associate Director Angela Mincks discussed that Mosaic's northeast Iowa locations serve 25 individuals in the Waukon and Decorah area between four group homes and five host homes, with a sixth host home likely in the near future. Aldrich also touched on the history of Martin Luther Homes, one of the legacy organizations of the Mosaic merger, dating back 31 years in the Waukon area.

Mosaic Community Relations Manager Sammi Scholtes discussed community outreach, building partnerships with businesses and organizations, event planning, work being done in advocating on the federal and local level, and fundraising, with the Partners in Possibilities fundraiser in June as a specific example in the near future.

John Howe, who lives within one of the Mosaic homes, provided his personal story and discussed his role with the organization's efforts in the community and how his own life has benefited through the services offered.

Following the meeting, Ernst and the Mosaic staff toured one of the Mosaic resident homes in Waukon. At the home, Ernst discussed the value of the personal stories of those who benefit from Mosaic's services, which she described as important, beyond statistics, in conveying to the Legislature the value and need for organizations like Mosaic in rural areas. Ernst described helping those with mental and physical disabilities as being a priority for her team in addition to healthcare, poverty and education.

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