PICC closes due to heat - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Heat forces PICC to close early

Lifechoices PICC, People in a Caring Community, a program in Jackson and Hillsdale counties that teaches life skills to people with developmental disabilities is open only half days this week due to the excessive heat.

Lifespan executive director Barbara Freysinger says getting their clients out in the community helps to reduce the stigma associated with developmental disabilities.

"Just being in the community has exposed Jackson and Hillsdale counties to seeing people that may not look like everyone else," Freysinger said.

Because the learning doesn't happen in a classroom, but out in the community, Freysinger said any extreme type of weather like heat or snow necessitates closing it down.

"Our biggest issue with the heat is that we could have unanticipated complications and it's just better to be safe," Freysinger said. "Better to be safe than sorry."

Freysinger canceled the afternoon sessions Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and says she may have to cancel Friday if there is a tornado warning.

She says it's more than a school. Rather for many of the participants it's their only social outlet. Not only do they build life skills like buying things in a store and walking safely across the street, for many, it's their only chance to do things that people without disabilities get to do every day.

Program participant Maryann White has come twice a week for about ten years. She love it.

"I love (everyone at PICC) so much," White said. "This is my best friend in the world to me."

Freysinger said this is how most of the participants feel, which makes canceling for the weather heartwrenching.

When they tell White she won't be going bowling tomorrow, she nearly cries. But she soon forgets her distress and happily poses for the 6 News cameras as the car she's in drives away to take her home.

Freysinger hopes the weather breaks next week so none of the participants will have to miss out again.

 

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