Welcome to United Cerebral Palsy Heartland

Our mission is to provide the highest quality programs, services and supports while
advancing the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people living with disabilities.

Who We Are

UCP Heartland serves people living with disabilities and their families in the St. Louis Metro region and Central Missouri. We provide services in five primary areas: Children’s Services, Family Support Services, Adult Day Services, Residential Services and Employment Services. 

You can watch the video below to learn about our mission and programs.


We invite you to join us in our work by becoming a donor or getting involved as a volunteer. Your support helps create a “life without limits” for people living with disabilities.




Latest News

29th Annual Holiday Ornaments On Sale Now

Visit our online shop to learn more and place your order

Purchasing a commemorative holiday ornament from UCP Heartland helps create a “life without limits” for adults and children living with disabilities. Proceeds benefit programs and services for people living with disabilities in the St. Louis Metro Region and Central Missouri.

Each year’s ornament highlights a different landmark or historical icon from the St. Louis region. Our 2017 ornament features original artwork by Richard E. Long of The Muny outdoor theater.  All limited-edition ornaments are 24k gold-on-brass created at The Charleston Mint in North Carolina.

You can purchase this year’s ornament and collectible ornaments from previous years on our ornament shop page. Ornaments celebrating Southwest Illinois history and landmarks are also available while supplies last.


Damien Dishes with State Representative Jean Evans

Employment Resources Program participant Damien Bruening and Employment Specialist Duane Gruis met at Bandana’s in Manchester recently with Missouri State Representative Jean Evans as part of “Take Your Legislator to Work Month.” Rep. Evans is a member of the Missouri Workforce Development Committee and responded quickly to the invitation to meet with Damien and UCP Heartland.

Missouri State Rep. Jean Evans (L) visits UCP Heartland Employment Resources program participant Damien (M) and Employment Specialist Duane (R) at Bandana’s Bar-B-Q as part of “Take your Legislator to Work Month”

Damien’s visit with Rep. Evans is one of three visits UCP Heartland will be making in October as part of National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The goal of these visits is to demonstrate for legislators the valuable contributions that people living with disabilities can make in the workforce. It is also hoped that legislators will sponsor bills that benefit people with disabilities in employment.

Judy Grainger, UCP Heartland VP of Programs, said many job seekers have challenges in the job application process. These challenges become greater when an applicant has limited communication skills. Program participants like Damien benefit from working with employers who are flexible when interviewing people.

“Bandana’s was the first business that would consider allowing Damien to have a working interview when he was job seeking,” Grainger said. “Because Damien has limited verbal skills, Damien’s Employment Specialist with UCP Heartland, Duane Gruis, asked Bandana’s to have Damien demonstrate his abilities in the kitchen through a working interview.”

Gruis explained how a “working interview” functions. “A working interview is set up so the person with a disability does actual work to show the employer how they would perform the job every day,” Gruis said. “This approach worked better for Damien because he does not do as well going through a traditional interview process. Since Damien has a volunteer job as a dishwasher at Mercy Hospital’s Heart Hospital on Mondays, he was familiar with the dishwashing machine and working in a commercial kitchen.”

Grainger said the working interview was the key to Damien’s successful job application. “Within 10 minutes of training and instruction, Damien was efficiently washing dishes. He was hired on the spot as a weekend dishwasher for Bandana’s BBQ.”

Skill-based interviews are just one of many creative ways employers can connect with potential employees living with a disability. Rep. Evans said, “We have people with disabilities that want to work and employers who need employees. We just need to get them together.”

Describing Damien as a “model employee” who is always pleasant, courteous and dedicated to his job, Rep. Evans said she will put out the word “If you’re in need of great employees, here’s a number,” and will refer them to UCP Heartland’s outstanding Employment Resources program.





Thank You to Everyone Who Joined Us For


Look Into My Eyes

 Eric Brandt, a young man with cerebral palsy, sings about looking past others’ exteriors and seeing them for who they are as people.





Life Without limits

For more than 60 years, UCP Heartland has helped to enhance the quality of life of people with cerebral palsy and other disabilities, their families, and their communities. We believe that individuals with even the most challenging disabilities have the right to quality education and transition services, integrated employment opportunities with competitive wages and career opportunities. We also promote full inclusion in community life by providing resource and referral, advocacy, and community integration services. Please explore our website for more news, and events, and to find more information on services we provide.

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