Our vision is to enhance the lives of people with disabilities by providing a place to learn, grow, socialize, explore, be independent and have some fun!
Our program is designed to provide a safe and fun environment while enriching our clients lives through music, art, socialization, recreation, community integration and therapy.
At The Garden Foundation, we focus on abilities, not disabilities and encourage everyone to reach their full potential. Everyone is celebrated for who they are, encouraged to thrive and bloom where they are planted.
I was only a year old or so when Lindsay was born. On February 17th, 1989 not only did I get a little sister, I got my life’s purpose.
I tell people, I didn’t quite understand what Down syndrome or a disability really meant at that age. She was my little sister and that’s all I really cared about. We fought over toys like other siblings. I would try to boss her around on which dolls to play with and what her name would be when I would play ‘house’ (honing my leadership skills at a young age :) but her ‘disability’ or ‘different abilities’ as I like to refer to them, never made much of a difference to me.
But now that I think about it, maybe I understood it better as a five year old than many adults do today…
We should ALL be treated exactly as that. People! Not a disability or diagnosis.
Fundamentally we all want the same things out of life. We want to be included, accepted, to have friends, be loved and to have some fun!
We’ve always been a family to embrace Lindsay’s differences and I have grown to be a better person because of her.
My heart has been opened and fulfilled by those with special needs and different abilities while growing up. I’ve always been involved in organizations, volunteering where I can and trying to make a difference. However, I separated that part of my life from my successful professional journey.
But my heart always knew…
Working my way up in the corporate world I had always yearned to start my own non-profit. So that I could marry the love of helping those with special needs and have a career. But Lindsay, after graduating from a school for those with disabilities then attended a day program for about 10 years, while I sat on boards of like organizations and did what I could for this community that I so loved.
It wasn’t until the day we got the call that everything changed.
Lindsay had been terminated from her organization. What?! Why?! How?! Can they do that?!
I cried. I yelled.
Then I decided to do something about it.
After talking with various families of those with special needs, many of them had the same challenges that my family and I were now facing. How can there be a lack of resources in a city of this size?
Well, there are resources. There are really wonderful organizations in Las Vegas that do A LOT of good for A LOT of people.
But none of those were the right fit and offered something for Lindsay or for a large minority of families all looking for something more specific and customized to their loved ones needs.
There are so many people that need a place to grow that encourages their full potential, celebrates who they are, provides the care that they need while letting them ENJOY life! Not just exist.
The more people I talked to, the more my heart said DO. IT.
NOW is the time.
The Garden Foundation was created to bring JOY to my sister and so many of her peers as well as help them to make their own choices and reach their full potential. It’s also to bring resources to the families that need them and to honor my father who’s light and heart was for service and my sister.
I’m grateful you’re here to see what we’re about.
Please reach out to me to connect or share your story. I’d love to meet you!