After more than 30 years with Progressive Community Services, Executive Director Lynn Smith is set to retire on July 31, 2019. Smith began with PCS in 1988 and was promoted to Executive Director in 1998.
“I think of the work I have been honored to do as civil rights work,” she said. “People with developmental disabilities are marginalized in most every aspect of their lives, things most of us take for granted. Families of people with disabilities must fight for everyday opportunities and to be included. I am constantly in awe of the fortitude and strength of families.”
During her time with Progressive Community Services, she has seen the organization change as families’ wants and expectations change. PCS began 40 years ago after local families worked to get a levy passed, which formed the local Senate Bill 40 Board (a local taxing entity), so their children could live, love, work and play in their community.
“As I reflect on the last 30 years, I think the thing I am most proud of is the willingness of the PCS Board of Directors to evolve, like everything in our lives, over the last four decades,” Smith said. “This has been demonstrated in many ways and can be seen throughout Buchanan County. Like the universally designed Jumpin’ Jungle playground, which was followed by other city playgrounds also designed so all children play together. Businesses are also hiring people with developmental disabilities, realizing they can be great employees and bring diversity into their business.”
PCS has recently focused on building partnerships with other entities like UCP, Vocational
Rehabilitation, SJSD and Mosaic to bring “All Students Achieve” to fruition, just like the Jumpin’ Jungle playground was completed through partnerships with the YMCA, Buchanan County and the City of St. Joseph.
“I am very proud of the quality and commitment of the employees and Board of Directors of Progressive Community Services for never losing sight of our vision, “An inclusive community where all people have value.”

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