Helping people with intellectual disabilities take part in the community

PART OF THE COMMUNITY: A participant in the Irene Wortham Center Adult Day Activities Program enjoys a moment. Program participants have taken part in volunteer activities and explored museums, parks and other areas of Western North Carolina this year.
PART OF THE COMMUNITY: A participant in the Irene Wortham Center Adult Day Activities Program enjoys a moment. Program participants have taken part in volunteer activities and explored museums, parks and other areas of Western North Carolina this year. Photo by Joanna Atwater courtesy of Irene Wortham Center

Editor’s note: As part of Xpress’ Nonprofit Issue, we asked local nonprofits to share a bright moment of 2017.

Irene Wortham Center has been improving the lives of children and adults with intellectual developmental disabilities for over 55 years. This year, our Adult Day Activities Program has been focused on supporting our consumers (the people we serve) to be fully integrated within their community.

So far in 2017, we have offered over 550 opportunities for community integration. The consumers have enjoyed volunteering with various agencies as well as enjoying leisure aspects of their community by exploring museums, parks and other historic areas of Western North Carolina. They also have been able to explore healthy leisure activities by participating in sports, going to the gym and hosting a cooking class every week, where they learn about delicious healthy snacks.

We have supported our consumers in exploring their artistic sides by engaging in arts and craft projects, rhythmic arts, dances and other various artistic activities. The consumers also have had the chance to engage with other members of the community by working with them to develop therapeutic relationships with service animals.

Currently, the consumers at the Adult Day Program are getting in the holiday spirit by working with various agencies to help organize Christmas presents for children and families. The Adult Day Activities Program is very excited for all of these opportunities that they have had to meet new folks and to become a part of the community in which they live.

— R. Matthew Henry,  executive director,
and  Joanna Atwater, Adult Day Activities assistant coordinator, Irene Wortham Center

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