A local program that's been pairing developmentally challenged individuals with host families for the past 15 years will host an open house tomorrow to let area residents know about opportunities that exist in the Tamaqua area.

According to Sheila Davison, regional vice president, Access Service, Inc., this is a key time in the TIMES NEWS coverage area.

"We have some local people who need to be placed," she said, and there's a good chance that families would embrace the idea if they understood the many options within the program, the various levels of care, and how flexibility allows people to arrange a program that works for them."

Access Services is seeking more host families, especially those with wheelchair accessible homes. But all families and individuals are welcome to come out to enjoy light refreshments and learn more about the programs Access Services can offer.

"People who open their homes often say they cannot believe what a good thing this is for them, but there simply are not enough people who know what this is," Davison said.

To promote awareness, Access Services will host an open house on Tuesday at the Tamaqua LIFE Program Center, 521 Schuylkill Avenue. Access Services acquired the facility in May, 2010. The building once served as a Kingdom Hall, Jehovah's Witnesses.

At that site, Access Servies will host two sessions from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 5 to 7 p.m. Information on Lifesharing, respite and foster care will be presented, and various families who participate in these programs will be there to offer testimonials and answer questions, as well.

Glenn Mummey, Lifesharing coordinator, said he thinks more people would participate if they'd only become familiar with the details of how it works. "If more people knew about it would surely be very much embraced," said Mummey.

Access Services began in Schuylkill County in 1996 in Orwigsburg. The staff has grown from 20 to a corps of almost 200 today, serving more than 800 children, youth, adults and seniors each month.