About Us

The idea of Candeo began in early 1992 stemming from the minds of a group of parents who all had teenagers with significant disabilities. As their children were transitioning into adulthood, the parents found that the only service option available for their children after graduation was moving them into a large, segregated group home. The parents were dismayed by the fact that they would have to move their child out of the Ankeny area where they had built relationships and a foundation within the community. Quickly, the parents realized that their one option was not good enough. There needed to be a service that would support adults with disabilities in their own environment; services designed specifically to meet each individual’s unique needs.

This group of parents met to discuss options for starting a not-for-profit organization to serve their children in their home-community rather than moving them out after graduation from 2009 Special OlympicsHigh School. By 1993, what was then Creative Community Options, provided their first Supported Employment Services and quickly added Supported Community Living Services. All services at this time were for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Candeo was growing, developing and learning more about supporting adults with disabilities every day.

By late 2002, it became apparent that there was a significant unmet service need for individuals with Autism/Asperger’s which at the time was a fairly recent discovered disability with relatively little research and understanding. In August of 2002, we were able to capture some incredible talent in the area of Mental Health and began serving individuals with Autism and Asperger’s. The year 2003 and 2004 were filled with rapid expansion as case managers learned about the new service Candeo provided. In 2003, we officially added mental health services and now provide Home Based Habilitation (commonly called Supported Community Living) and Supported Employment to adults who have a diagnosis of Mental Illness.

In early 2008, the Board of Directors voted to add Brain Injury services. At the same time, the Board of Director’s role began to expand and develop. The Board began working on raising community awareness of the services Candeo provides and how our services are tailored to each client we support; no one person is exactly alike and not all individuals with a disability need the same amount or types of supports. 

2008 also brought about a name change for our organization. We went from Creative Community Options to Candeo. Candeo is a Latin word meaning “to grow, to shine, to grow brilliant”. Every day we see growth in our clients; we see their light and their worth and support them in shining as brightly as they can. Our clients are an inspiration. Our clients are more than their disability. Our clients have sought out Candeo services because they are trusting in the quality of supports we provide. Our work at Candeo inspires others to develop a voice, to develop confidence and to develop a community where all are included.