Today, Tuesday, November 28th is known as Giving Tuesday worldwide. This is the day that has been designated as a global day of remembrance, giving, and support of your favorite charity. Many of you probably already support some great causes each year, but let me tell you about a local organization that I am extremely passionate about .
I am talking about LIFE Village Inc.! LIFE stands for Living Innovations For Exceptional! LIFE Village is a supportive residential community being built for adults with autism and related disorders. The vision for this community is a place where individuals can live, develop a trade, and build life skills and friendships that will last a lifetime. Life-long learning does not need to end when the bus stops coming at age 21.
We are currently fundraising for LIFE Village's phase 1, which will be a community center that will house a day program, workshops, and support groups. Our goal is to raise $500,000 to purchase the land required for this project. Future phases will provide residential housing to support the various levels of care needed to meet the complex needs of these very special adults.
The need for this type of supportive community is huge!! Government agencies are determined to continue the plan of de-institutionalization and that is a good thing! But the rate of autism continues to grow and aging parents are overwhelmed with the responsibilities of caring for their adult children at home. Based on the current rate of autism in North Carolina (1 in 58), we have estimated that the number of persons with autism in the High Country (7 rural counties) is 3,634 people!! Where will these individuals live LIFE with a purpose as adults if we don't start planning for it now??
Please take a few moments to visit our website, www.thelifevillage. net, for more information and the opportunity to help support our cause. You can also send a donation via personal check to: LIFE Village Inc. P.O. Box 8 Boone, NC 28607. We are a 501c3 non-profit and donations are tax deductible. Make sure that you provide a return address or email so that we can get the proper documentation to you.
Although, raising funds is a very important means to reaching our goals, it is only one way of supporting our cause!! We are looking for talented professionals and energetic parents to help move our efforts forward.
One mom's story;
Our daughter, Erin, is 17. She was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as an infant and autism in grade school. Since she was 4 months old, she has had support from early intervention services, the school district, and numerous specialists and therapists. Without this support, Erin would not be walking, talking, learning or as happy as she is today! At school she takes the bus to Walmart to shop,to the mall to walk and to parks to explore the great outdoors. After the age of 21, the bus will stop coming for Erin and all children with special needs transitioning to adulthood. The supports they have had since preschool will come to an end. The friends they made in school will go to college and start new adventures. Other friends will be placed in group homes, institutions or nursing homes. Most adults with autism and related disorders will live with their aging parents who struggle to care for themselves. These parents will be left with 100% of the care of their adult child's medical, financial and social well being.
LIFE Village aims to change that for Erin and many other adults with autism and related disorders and their families in the High Country of N.C. because everyone deserves to live LIFE with a purpose!
OUR MISSION: We are developing a residential, sustainable community in the High Country of North Carolina for adults with autism and related disorders called LIFE Village, Living Innovations For Exceptional. A place where these individuals can live, develop a trade and make lasting friendships.
A place with a Main Hall that will offer day programs with continuing education classes and social events like karaoke or movie nights both for members of the community and individuals in the surrounding counties who ache for a purpose filled LIFE!
Gardens will be on the grounds to facilitate interaction with nature, encourage social interaction, and teach new skills.
A partnership with Appalachian State University will offer members of the LIFE community inclusive opportunities while allowing students a unique, hands-on experience getting to know and working with people with autism. We are searching for land close to Appalachian State University to encourage that partnership with both students and faculty and in close proximity to Watauga Medical Center to care for our members medical and therapeutic needs.
LONG TERM GOAL: LIFE will be built in phases. The first phase is acquiring the land and developing the Main Hall with raised bed gardens while housing KAMPN summer camp. Next will be handicap accessible housing followed by a gym and chapel. Our schematic, developed by Brian Dubberly, beautifully displays our future plans. Check it out above!