The Purple Cat was founded in 2003 to offer day-program alternatives for adults. Clients participate in a wide range of vocational functions, creative projects and classes that develop daily-living skills. The goal is to prompt each individual to achieve his or her potential. The Purple Cat motto is “Work hard, be kind and have fun.”
The creative arts program develops talent in the areas of ceramics, painting, theater, music, drawing, writing, jewelry making, and sewing crafts. Purple Cat creations are handmade products and gifts by artists with disabilities. Proceeds are paid to all Purple Cat clients.
With training and coaching, clients perform duties in agriculture, lawn care, snow removal, building maintenance, food service, animal care and office work. Individuals enjoy the satisfaction of receiving a paycheck for a job well done.
Clients learn supplementary skills that benefit them at home, work and in the community. Healthy eating, exercise, pedestrian rules, reading and computer usage are skills that promote independence.
In 2015, Joe Gallagher’s Lunch Bucket opened in the cafeteria space of the Oakhill Renaissance building, former home of the Southside Hospital. The Lunch Bucket is a fully functioning cafeteria operated by Purple Cat clients and staff. It is open weekdays for breakfast and lunch with a variety of menu options. At Gallagher’s, the clients independently assist in meal prep, cooking, kitchen maintenance and clean-up.
The Phelps St. location in downtown Youngstown features Golden String Radio, a 24-hour internet radio station run by adults with disabilities. It is also home to The Feral Cats band.
The Pearl St. Mission offers an array of fine art programs, along with a cooking class. It is also the headquarters of PCTV, an A/V program focusing on news around Purple Cat.
Farmer Casey’s Ranch in Lowellville is the largest Purple Cat site, overlooking a vast pond and occupying over 50 acres. It houses a number of animals cared for by the clients, along with an apiary for producing honey. Not only do clients work with animals, they also have opportunities to learn agricultural skills and harvesting and selling what is grown.
Purple Cat also occupies St. Lucy’s in Campbell and a location in Boardman. Each offers unique environments and opportunities.