George W. Childress
I want to be a part of something bigger than myself that impacts lives for the positive. Having a child with special needs has opened my eyes to a world with un-met needs. While many programs exist that foster the development and relationships for children with special needs, the transition to adulthood presents new challenges in this area. The Exceptional Way, LLC will strive to “fill the gap” for adults with special needs to foster relationship development and recreational activities in this expanding population.
My job as an occupational therapist allows me to work closely with a variety of children and families with special needs. Since moving to LaGrange it became apparent that there is a gap and lack of services for these families across the board. When I learned of the Exceptional Way and the purpose that it hopes to provide for the community, I knew I wanted to use my background and skills to serve on this board anyway that I could. It aims to bridge the gap from high school to adulthood for a population that has so much to offer through friendships and community involvement. It makes me very excited for the potential impact that I could get to be a part of to better serve our wonderful growing community.
Twenty years ago, when our son Noah was born we began a journey of raising a special needs child. Noah was born missing part of his corpus callosum which has meant cognitive and developmental delays. There have been lots of challenges for us but so much joy for our family too. Having a son with special needs led me to my job in the Troup County School System as parent mentor in the special education department. I have met so many remarkable people either raising a person with special needs or being a person with special needs. One thing I have learned is the opportunities for people with cognitive and developmental disabilities is limited so it’s always been a goal to start a non- profit that helps supports this population. I am so excited about The Exceptional Way!
As a parent of a special needs child, The Exceptional Way is an answered prayer. After high school, there is a tremendous need for ways that these kids can stay involved in the community and have a sense of belonging. There is also a tremendous gap in our community for that specific need, until now. I’m very honored to work alongside the other board members and staff of The Exceptional Way to provide opportunities for our special needs community.
Laurie Carter Wilder
After high school, many young adults with disabilities are left without meaningful, enriching opportunities for continued growth. With my son, I have seen the need for a program like the Exceptional Way first-hand. Our community craves a place of purpose for these young adults — they have greatness to offer to us, and they deserve greatness from us in return.
Best put into words by Helen Keller, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
As the parent of a special needs child I realize first hand the challenges that special needs children and their families face. I want to be able to provide solutions to these challenges Being a part of the Exceptional Way will allow me to team with others focused on improving life for special people.
Tamikia Newman Brown
Individuals with unique needs have been of significant interest to me since childhood. I was fortunate to grow up around great-aunts, great-uncles and grandparents who were nurturing and resourceful. As they aged in grace and disabilities emerged our roles shifted. I learned to apply that same level of love and care that had been modeled. Compassion transcended to youth and young adults with disabilities with exposure through volunteer and work opportunities. Being an advocate and servant to others continues to prove rewarding.
I wanted to be a part of the Exceptional Way, because it is a very needed program in our community. We have opportunities for those with special needs while they are in school, but we need more options for them once they finish high school. Also, as part of my job as a CPA, I work with nonprofits every day, and I enjoy working with new nonprofits.
As a youth I babysat for a family with a child with special needs. After that experience I knew I wanted to teach students with disabilities. This passion has continued for 40 years in education. The Exceptional Way will enable me to be involved in providing continued success for Students with Special Needs.
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