There are many different types of disorders, disabilities, and diseases that affect people and inhibit their ability to do certain things on their own. According to the CDC, 26% of adults (61 million people) in the United States have some kind of disability. When these disabilities require extra help, it is often referred to as having “special needs.” So, what are the different kinds of special needs?
People with special needs often rely on their family and friends for assistance in their daily lives. However, not everyone is trained in the best practices for caring for an individual with special needs. Only being around family and close friends can also limit a person’s exposure to the outside world, new experiences, and interactions with people similar to themselves.
New Transitions Center is a community-based organization focused on enhancing the lives of young adults with special needs and the loved ones who support them in the Roanoke, Texas area. Our model focuses on higher need, medically fragile individuals who we provide with the highest quality of care. We achieve this by maintaining a low staff-to-member ratio, with 1 person on staff for every 4 members. Find out how you can help our mission by donating to our North Texas Giving Day Campaign or by contacting us to join us as a community partner!
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is a phrase that has become increasingly popular as our country works to become better for all who live here. This includes people who have been overlooked, under-resourced, and marginalized throughout history. By promoting DEI, we can work to improve the lives of these individuals and provide them with the necessary tools to thrive. So, what exactly do diversity, equity, and inclusion mean?
DEI is especially prevalent with younger generations who are shaping the future of the country. By celebrating diversity, promoting equity, and creating an inclusive society we can improve the lives of the millions of people who have been overlooked for too long. Everyone benefits when people have the opportunity to live full, meaningful, and enjoyable lives.
New Transitions Center is a community-based organization focused on enhancing the lives of young adults with special needs and the loved ones who support them in the Roanoke, Texas area. The Center supports diversity, equity, and inclusion in our community of young adults with varying degrees of intellectual, developmental, and physical disabilities. Find out how you can help our mission by donating to our North Texas Giving Day Campaign or by contacting us to join us as a community partner!
PROGRAM PILLARS - VOCATIONAL TRAINING (PART 6 OF 6)
The Center does not support vocational placement or formal vocational training, but we do practice skills that are in line with vocational training and promote independence. Some of our daily activities focus on hand-eye coordination and manipulatives to practice sorting and matching objects.
Our Direct Care Coaches teach laundry skills by assisting our members with loading, unloading and folding laundry. They also teach independent prepping, cooking and cleaning skills daily. These skills are encouraged and promoted daily which help our Members engage with their families at home to be more independent.
One of our big goals moving forward is to build a community backyard garden! We have some raised beds and are growing seedlings inside for transfer. We hope to design an adaptive garden for our Members to learn how to support, grow and harvest the plants and flowers in the coming year. You can support our Garden Build Out by supporting our operational funds through North Texas Giving Day! Learn more below.
what is formal vocational training?
Vocational Rehabilitation programs help people with disabilities prepare for, find or retain employment and help youth and students prepare for post-secondary opportunities. The programs also help businesses and employers recruit, retain and accommodate employees with disabilities. Texas Workforce Commission have formal state-funded programs that facilitate job training, placement and retention. You can learn more about these programs by clicking here.
Most of our Members and the population we serve do not qualify for these formal programs but that doesn't mean that they can't learn, practice and demonstrate valuable independent and vocational skills. We focus on skills that our Members benefit from in their daily life, most of which translate into vocational skills despite having the goals of independent employment.
As The Center grows we hope to engage and learn more about how we may adapt and provide more formal vocational training services for our Members, either internally through our community garden and crafts or partnering with our local "Friends of The Center".
program pillars - physical activity (part 5 of 6)
Staying healthy and moving each day is not just important for our Members but also our Team! We enjoy daily physical activities at The Center and some of our favorites are adaptive yoga, dancing and throwing “hoops” or playing catch. For our Members with more physical disabilities we accommodate activities that meet their needs so they are included in the activity and gain the social interaction even if they are unable to full participate. When weather permits, we enjoy visiting and playing at the local parks and going on community walks.
some of our favorite adaptive activities
Our Members love music and dancing! Some of our favorite and frequent "dance classes" or adaptive physical activities are listed below:
Ready Set Go Athletics!
Adaptive PE Classes with Miss Coach (fun fact Miss Coach is the Aunt of our Acting Executive Director, Amber Caldwell and her son Luke is Autistic and assists her in most of the videos!)
Head - Shoulders - Knees & Toes!
Hip - Hop Fairy Tales
ROYGBIV - Colors of The Rainbow
Any of Jack Hartmann's videos really - we are all fans!
Want to join in on the fun - we are always looking for volunteers, learn more by clicking below.
PROGRAM PILLARS - SENSORY & SELF CARE (PART 4 OF 6)
For some of our Members sensory stimuli can be a motivator or an inhibitor for learning and social engaging. For those with more significant special needs lights, noise, technology and sometimes smells and colors can all factor into the ability for the individual to participate or engage in various activities.
We have a “sensory” room that has adaptive lights, beanbag chairs and artwork to reduce sensory stimuli when our Members need that reprieve. Alternatively, we have adaptive equipment to support sensory needs such as icon cards, “switch” tools and tactile boards that facilitate communication.
Personal hygiene is practiced daily when it comes to toileting, eating and cleaning. Some of our Members are focused on teeth brushing and maintaining a clean and organized personal space so these tasks are reinforced by our direct Care Coaches throughout the day 1:1.
SELF AGENCY - WITH SUPPORT
Some of our Members need significant supervision and support with personal hygiene care. These services are provided by our direct Care Coaches whom are sensitive to ensuring dignity, respect and self-agency when supporting our Members. We provide full-toileting support for those Members who need this level of care and have a private designated changing room to support these needs.
The quality of care we provide at The Center is directly related to the skills and expertise of our direct care team. We are committed to recruiting and retaining a strong direct care team that provides the best care for our Members. The overhead to provide this level of care is significant and our donors help ensure that we are able to maintain this level of quality care. To learn more about how you can support The Center and help us reach our operational goals for North Texas Giving Day click below.
program pillars - life skills (Part 3 of 6)
Independent life skills lead to personal agency. Despite our Members having challenges with the ability to do many tasks independently they practice these skills daily with assistance. Most of our Members focus on personal goals related to life skills such as being able to identify key places, signs, shapes and colors, assist with lunch preparation and cleaning, practicing laundry and folding skills.
On a daily basis their personal hygiene goals are supported by our direct Care Coaches and depending on their needs some focus on independence when toileting. The intention is for our Members to experience agency and focus on hand-eye coordination, practice asking or communicating needs and be able to grow more independently despite needing more hands-on support.
passionate about helping people?
Our Direct Care Coaches and volunteers are critical to support the needs of our Members as some require 1:1 support and hand over hand instructions. We are eager to connect with those who are passionate about the population we serve and are always seeking volunteer support. If you are interested in learning more about our available positions or how you can volunteer click below.
program pillars - COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT (Part 2 of 6)
Some of our best memories growing up are riding the school bus and going on a field trip! Our Members, having recently graduated from school miss the daily routine of riding the bus and it is one of their most favorite activities!
Through a generous grant from The Heart Space Initiative, we were awarded $55K for our “Wheels for The Center” to purchase our beloved bus! We can accommodate 14 seated or up to 4 wheelchairs and 6 seated which allows us to safely coordinate outings and field trips for all our Members.
We focus on locations that are nearby and provide safe accommodations to support lunch and hygiene activities. Some of our favorite outings have been to the Aquarium, Petting Zoo and of course Bowling! Community engagement is a critical factor in our ability to enhance advocacy and awareness for local businesses to support special needs. Regular and frequent engagement with our local businesses build a strong supportive community and lead to increasing the comfort level of our Members while in the community.
Members practice safely navigating getting in and off the bus, appropriate behavior while in the community such as properly greeting and interacting with others. They practice personal finance and agency by ordering and purchasing items for The Center’s upcoming projects or for their own lunch "off-campus". Members are strictly supervised while in the community and we tend to have volunteers join us for longer outings to provide more hands-on support.
We believe that an inclusive community is a resilient community and the more that we are able to safely engage with our community the stronger and more secure our Members will be as the community support equity and diversity for differently abled persons.
be a community leader - become a "friend of the center"
We are fortunate to be located near downtown Roanoke, TX - the Unique Dining Capitol of North Texas! The local businesses, restaurants and shops along Oak Street have been super supportive of our growth and welcome our Members into their place of business. This is a true sign of leadership, diversity, equity and inclusiveness and we could not be more grateful as community engagement is such an important part of our mission. We welcome an invite our community partners, leaders and businesses to become a "Friend of The Center" and join us as advocates for Special Needs.
By being a "Friend of The Center" you are publicly supporting The Center. You declare that you welcome and advocate for those with special needs at your place of business and you participate in our community fundraising and partnership activities.
We extend our community partners co-marketing material and join in efforts for fundraising events. We can always use more "Friends" so please join us to make sure our community remains inclusive, diverse, equitable and engaged in advocating for those with special needs.
Learning at The Center is an important part of our mission and we strive to provide an environment that supports continued learning and education for all of our Members.
Our Members are soon to graduate or have recently graduated from High School. Despite no longer being in the school setting they seek and enjoy participating in daily educational activities at The Center. We focus on activities that are relevant to current events, topics of interest or those that are more engaging for the group.
These range from learning about historic persons of interest, national holidays, and cultural traditions as well as fun science experiments! Some of the favorites are those that involve making volcanoes out of baking soda, learning about local bird life, and making bird feeders as well as plant biology and learning how to participate in keeping our garden growing.
Educational topics are peppered throughout our day and integrated within our activities, the focus is to personalize activities that are within the skills set of our members while also pushing to expand their knowledge and interest.
We have several different types of adaptive learning equipment devices to support Members with sight or sensory impairment as well as adaptive iPads to assist with learning activities including a TobiiDynavox that supports eye gazing to facilitate those who are non-verbal.
how we adapt learning activities
We are fortunate at The Center to have passionate and patient direct Care Coaches that work with our Members to facilitate daily learning. Each morning we start our day with a morning set of activities that each Members participates in. Some may require more prompts than others but we work with each Member to choose the "Day of the Week", "Weather" and set the schedule with picture icons. These help visually identify the order of activities and a way for our non-verbal Members to communicate an understanding and plan for the day.
Our adaptive communication equipment is used to facilitate activities throughout the day but specifically related to education our TobiiDynavox is pre-programmed with a myriad of educational programs to promote continued learning. This device is used 1:1 and supports touch or eye-gazing to select options and communicates the chosen responses by verbally repeating the selection.
For our Members with visual impairments we have several sensory and "switch" boards that facilitate self agency to choose preferences, communicate and participate in learning activities that otherwise would be limited to those without limitations.
We try our best to accommodate needs and facilitate continued learning. Our team is always eager to learn new techniques and ways to engage with our Members in creative and fun ways to promote growth.
Are you a special needs teacher?
We are always looking for new educational activities, ideas and to gain skills on how we can best instruct our Members to create an engaging learning environment. If you have skills or ideas to help us grow we are seeking volunteers and also have a Clinical Expert and Advisory Committee if you would like a more formal role in building our educational programming.
Please contact us to learn more at firstname.lastname@example.org
we are ready to grow with you!
The Center is seeking an Executive Director with proven leadership and fundraising skills to help us grow. This position will be responsible for taking what has been built to date to the next level.
Our Acting Executive Director has worked the past few years to design and implement our operational infrastructure, back-end systems, human resources and professional network. The foundation has been built and now that we have our inaugural year under our belt we are ready to grow!
Key Qualifications we are seeking in our Executive Director include:
What are some of the challenges for this position?
Stay, Expand or Move?
The Center's inaugural year was 2020 and we faced many challenges as we reconciled the realities of COVID-19, ultimately reopening in June. Our ability to achieve our original business model was arrested by COVID-19 and our current challenge is growing our program services and revenue within our limited physical space. Our new Executive Director will be involved in leading the decisions for how we sustain our business model within these limitations, expand our current space or if its best to seek a larger new space. Working with the Chairperson and Board of Directors our business model and expansion plan will be a priority for the coming year.
The Center has a small network of donors but the challenge lies in organically growing our donor base, partnering with community leaders and coordinating fundraising efforts. We have not had the luxury of a designated marketing and development coordinator so our Acting Executive Director has been responsible for remotely supporting our fundraising efforts. This is not ideal as we need to have a locally based, community driven fundraising plan of action. That being said The Center has successfully raised over $100K in grants and over $75K in individual gifts since we opened. The tools to successfully fundraise are in place we have a donor CRM, website, social media presence, Google Ads Grant for Charities and a beautiful brand and mission - we just need a dedicated plan of action!
What about the perks?
Being a non-profit leader is not for the faint of heart, it requires integrity, grit, stamina and resiliency to remain dedicated to the mission. The Center has a profound and inspiring mission, it has the support and commitment from the families we serve, our Board and the local community. What we do at The Center matters and is needed. Becoming our Executive Director may not come with a significantly robust paycheck but it will make up for it in purpose-driven work. The fundamental structures for our non-profit operations are in place and for the most part are turn-key. The Executive Director does not need to start from scratch and can build upon this strong foundation. Further our Acting Executive Director will remain as a Board Member to support, mentor and "pass the torch" for continuity. As the organization grows the perks and benefits of being its Executive Director expand.
Sounds good? Are you or someone you know a good fit?
To apply review and Download our Job Description
Submit a Cover Letter, Resume or CV to:
Amber Caldwell - Acting Executive Director at email@example.com
Ever wondered what it would be like to have super powers? Time travel, flying and super strength are all cool ideas but what we think makes a super hero at The Center is passion, empathy and creativity - if you have these super powers we want to get to know you!
hiring superheroes - what we call care coaches!
What is a Care Coach?
Care Coaches are responsible for the day-to-day care of our Members and drive our program activities. If it wasn't for our Care Coaches we couldn't do what we do, they are at the root of our mission. At The Center we provide a safe place for young adults with more severe special needs, those that are more medically fragile and require more hands-on support with daily life skills, learning and community engagement. That is why our Care Coaches are super important to not only The Center but our members and their families.
What makes a Care Coach a Super Hero?
Let's be honest providing care, especially care for those with more significant needs is not for everyone. It requires it's own super powers - the best Care Coaches are those who are filled with:
Passion and Commitment: They find joy in being around those who may not be able to communicate or respond in traditional ways but understand them anyway. They are willing to stand up for and protect the dignity and agency for those who are unable to do so for themselves. Their passion for supporting and protecting those with special needs is not just a job or career but it's a calling.
Empathy and Kindness: The ability to put yourself in our Member's shoes or the shoes of their Parents is directly linked to the kindness and respect that our Care Coaches show each day. Their most important responsibility is to provide care with empathy and kindness to each and every Member.
Patience and Resiliency: The Center is a scrappy non-profit that is growing and has a big mission. Some of our goals will require "all hands on deck" and our Care Coaches are part of that mission. The ability for our Care Coaches to grow with us, show patience as we tackle continued challenges to fundraise, expand our space and build our community are a reflection of our collective resiliency.
Joy and Laughter: We try to not be too serious at The Center - at the end of the day we are here to have fun with our Members, bring joy and laugh together. Some of our favorite activities are playing games, dancing and being silly. Our Care Coaches aren't afraid to make funny voices when reading at story time, get up and dance to the "Tutti-Tot" or pretend air-guitar at music class! That inner child-like joy is truly a superhuman power inside of us all!
What are the perks of becoming a Care Coach at The Center?
The main perk is being part of a small committed team doing some pretty big things! We don't dismiss the importance of providing a safe and warm environment for our Members as The Center is the only option for the families we serve locally but as we grow we strive to provide more resources and benefits to our employment package. The day to day work and responsibilities are shared amongst the small team and each Care Coach is encouraged to suggest new ideas, create activities or new programs and we welcome their solutions! We are building bigger and better together.
If the above inspired you or you know a Superhero that would make a great Care Coach we want to hear from you - click below or share!
We are hiring now for Part Time and Full Time Care Coaches, seeking Summer Volunteers and offer Internships!