Nurturing Community – Endeavors Adult Development Center

As published in the Intercounty Leader on July 20, 2023


Endeavors Day Center, Serving the Community for 58 Years

Endeavors Day Center began in 1965 in the basement of the Wanderoos School in Amery. It was started by a group of parents looking for group “arts and crafts” time for their developmentally disabled adult children. Endeavors is now a 501(c)(3) nonprofit located in Balsam Lake, and it operates to support as many as 100 developmentally disabled adults.


The mission is for adults with disabilities to participate and thrive in their communities by reaching their highest level of independence. Endeavors helps participants develop hands-on living skills, and promotes personal growth while providing meaningful employment and educational opportunities. Director Leslie Larson spoke of “promoting our clients’ abilities, not their disabilities.” Endeavors is the only agency of its kind in Polk County and the surrounding area, providing valuable assistance in a rural community with limited resources and finances.


Here are just a few of their services:

Transportation. Endeavors provides an average of 250 door to door, wheelchair-accessible medical transports per month. In addition, clients are transported to and from work and to and from the Endeavors Day program. Endeavors’ transportation program is key to the participant’s ability to have gainful employment and independence.


DVR (Division of Vocational Rehabilitation). The DVR program aids clients in finding jobs in the community, completing necessary paperwork, and providing on-site job coaching until the clients are comfortable working on their own. Currently, Endeavors clients are working at Kwik Trip, Marketplace Foods, Polk County Recycling Center, Adventures Restaurant and many other businesses in the area.


Day Service. Endeavors Day Service aids adults with the most significant disabilities by enhancing personal growth and teaching them living skills in a home type environment.


Day Friends. Day friends is a place where caring and trained staff provide a safe, secure and supportive environment for adults with dementia and other memory issues. Caregivers are also provided with a respite from their demanding responsibilities.


Greenhouse. One of the most interesting facets of Endeavors is the beautiful year-round greenhouse in Milltown. The greenhouse opened in 2011 to help clients engage in job skills while earning paychecks. Greenhouse workers raise hydroponically grown tomatoes, flowering plants, succulents, seedlings, and even package and sell a dozen varieties of their own bird seed. Consider shopping Endeavor’s greenhouse for your gardening needs, and you will be buying locally while supporting this worthy organization.


Financial support is one of the biggest challenges for Endeavors, especially since the beginning of COVID-19. They depend on donations, community support of the greenhouse, and grants to fund their many essential services and programs that impact the community. For more on Endeavors, go to or visit their Facebook pages: Endeavors, Endeavors Greenhouse, Endeavors Day Service and Endeavors Day Friends.


The Northwest Alliance Community Foundation is an affiliate of the St. Croix Valley Foundation. We support our area nonprofits with educational opportunities and grants. Please consider joining us by making a donation. See our website for more information or email