Extreme Team Heads To Sandpoint To Help Panhandle Special Needs

SANDPOINT — Many people think of Sandpoint as a vacation destination but it’s much more than that, and this month KXLY4’s Extreme Team found an organization that constantly gives back to the community by helping to open doors for personal achievement.

Panhandle Special Needs in Sandpoint has been around for almost 30 years helping people with a variety of disabilities.

“When they come through our doors it’s because they want to a job it’s not because they have to come here. They just haven’t been able to find that job,” PSN employment services administrator Jean Post said.

Robert Lester is a PSN client who participates in their work services program.

“It makes me feel better inside about myself because at least I feel productive you know,” Lester said.

Lester’s employer couldn’t agree more.

“I just can’t put any sort of price or value on it. It’s immeasurable,” PSN employer Tom Kelsey said. “The job these people do and have done for me and for others is really a tremendous service for the community.”

Helping the individual and the community is really what Panhandle Special Needs is all about. They help people find jobs and develop life skills so they can give back to the town in which they live.

“Clients function in their local communities. They don’t drive most of them. They don’t do their shopping in Coeur d’Alene they live local,” PSN life skills administrator Trinity Nicholson said.

“It’s just wonderful seeing these people being successful and contributing to the community,” PSN job coach Lois Miller said. “It’s very important for us to take care of these people and help them become independent and happy.”

But now the non-profit that’s been giving back to the community for so long needs the community’s help to keep going.

“Our kitchen by far is our toughest area,” Trinity Nicholson said. “We can have up to 10 people in that kitchen at one time so client with a trainer preparing a nutritious lunch basically and it just gets jam packed.”

“There are only two bathrooms and they just get overloaded. The plumbing’s not great and so then you have plumbing problems,” Jean Post added.

And that’s where the Extreme Team came in, working hard for two days to try to give Panhandle Special Needs an improved place to meet with new clients and their families.

“We’d like it to be a nice place to come. We spend a lot of time here. Our clients spend a lot of time here,” Nicholson said.

And come Thursday evening a building that was once a machine shop will be transformed and will benefit the entire Sandpoint community.