Mosaic Celebrates 100 Years

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A Nebraska-based organization that helps those with intellectual disabilities kicked off its centennial celebration Tuesday.

It all began in 1913 as Bethphage Village in Axtell.

"In the beginning, the services were for just anyone who had a need: the homeless, the disabled, the very poor, just anyone who had a need for services," said Debbie Herbel, executive director of Mosaic at Bethphage Village.

Now, Mosaic serves nearly 4,000 people with intellectual disabilities throughout the country.

The organization held small centennial celebrations like at its various locations Tuesday and will have a Centennial Festival in late June. They're celebrating accomplishments that have touched thousands of lives.

"It gives people the chance to live as independently as possible here," said Audrey Weaver, who works at the Axtell location.

"I think the work of Mosaic is so important to let everybody know that there is a place for kids to go and for adults," said Bette Diamon.

And it's not just those with disabilities whose lives are changed. Diamon teaches at Axtell Community School and has brought her fourth-graders to socialize with Mosaic clients for 16 years.

"It was very important for kids, nine- and 10-year-olds, to be aware of people out there, that have challenges but are no different than us. They still love, they have feelings, they care about one another, that they're just like us, God made us and we're all the same," Diamon said.

Mosaic leaders say they hope the first 100 years is just a foundation of what's to come.

"We have a need to serve people with disabilities, so we serve a purpose there. And also for the community, for employment. We're one of the large employers of our community," Herbel said.