The Center Community

The Center serves as a community hub for a vibrant and diverse group of individuals. Their goals, hopes, skills, interests, definitions of success, and disabilities vary—as do their plans for independence. Currently, The Center community is made up of over 450 individuals, each with his or her own story. These are just a few.


Donnell is a bright and good-natured young man who is one of the longest-attending clients in our day program. When Donnell was younger, he experienced difficulties communicating as a result of his Cerebral Palsy diagnosis. The inability to express himself was often frustrating, as well as limiting. Donnell began working on his communication skills with the Direct Support Professionals at The Center’s Adult Activity Center (AAC). Through hard work and caring guidance, he was able to improve his speech, allowing him to more clearly share his needs and let his personality shine. Donnell’s mother, Sylvia, credits the AAC with making it easier to talk with her son, bringing them closer together. In his free time, Donnell enjoys listening to music, watching classic television shows like Good Times, and appreciates a really good snack.


Dale has been a resident in our Independent Living program at The Center’s Cullen Residence Hall since 2000. What keeps Dale at The Center, he says, is the level of respect and autonomy he receives. He appreciates that each client is able to maintain as much independence as individually possible while still receiving the support he or she needs. Dale personally finds it helpful to have assistance with meals and other daily tasks so he can concentrate on personal development. The support he has received, he says, has helped him find employment over the years and build his career skills. Today, Dale’s is often the first face anyone sees upon visiting The Center—he works as a receptionist at Cullen Residence Hall, directing calls, assisting visitors, and performing administrative tasks. When he’s not at the front desk, Dale enjoys internet research on trivia-based topics, watching movies, and traveling when he can.


Mona is a client who has been coming to The Center for more than 20 years. A former resident at our Cullen Residence Hall, Mona now lives in the greater Houston community with her two roommates and attends The Center’s Adult Training and Employment Services day program. There she receives vocational training and does packaging and assembly projects for local and national companies. Mona is a very social person, always quick to say hello and enthusiastic about The Center’s parties and special events. She looks forward to her monthly Girl Scout meetings and enjoys going out with her roommate’s family. Mona often engages in conversation about disability because she wants others to know her capabilities—working, cleaning her room, putting away dishes, and going on trips, just to name a few.


When Brittanee graduated high school, she and her parents started the long journey of trying to find the next place for Brittanee to live. The variety in programs and depth of support at The Center were exactly what they were seeking. Brittanee moved into The Center’s Cullen Residence Hall Independent Living Program and gained marketable job skills in our vocational program. She worked with our counseling and job placement teams and applied for community employment. With ongoing mentorship, Brittanee gained employment, first at a local retail store and later at the VA Hospital as a patient transporter. These experiences led Brittanee to gain confidence and come out of her shell, and today she has made a loyal circle of friends. With her potential unlocked and nurtured, she continues to grow and become increasingly independent.


In 1963, Harold’s parents took a small initiative that made a big difference in their son’s life by calling The Center. This led to Harold to find a job in the community and, eventually, a place to call home. In 1993, when his parents passed away, Harold moved into The Center’s Cullen Residence Hall. He continued to work until 2015 when, at the age of 77, he decided to retire to The Center’s Willow River Farms location in Brookshire, Texas. Harold enjoys the more rural lifestyle, but refuses to slow down; he is still working, now as a member of the Farm’s grounds maintenance crew. As Harold always says, “Someone’s got to do it.”


Ron has been a client of The Center for eight years and is currently a participant in our Young at Heart day program for seniors. Ron enjoys the social aspect of The Center, as well as taking part in special activities. His favorite days are those that include outdoor field trips—often to community parks or sometimes to Galveston—as well as a weekly laughter yoga class, where the instructor uses voluntary laughter to encourage movement and positivity. Ron is also an avid bowler, usually playing once a week on a league through his church. Ron also values his down time, and likes to do math problems or crossword puzzles while relaxing on the patio outside his classroom.


When David came to The Center two years ago, he started out in our vocational training program. In the months after he arrived, David had the opportunity to rotate through a variety of packaging, assembly, and shipping tasks and quickly mastered a variety of skills while building social skills. He recently got a job as a patient escort at the VA Medical Center here in Houston. He enjoys meeting and talking to all of the patients he encounters, particularly because his sister is an army veteran. David is thriving in his new position, quickly gaining a reputation as helpful, courteous, and capable. He takes pride in providing great service. When he’s not at work, David enjoys reading crime novels, playing games, and doing outdoor activities.


Roshonda is an energetic and determined person who loves trying new activities. She takes part in The Center’s Adult Training and Employment Services program doing assembly and packaging of various products while learning useful work skills. Roshonda cites the other clients in the program as her favorite aspect of coming to The Center, saying that she loves being able to learn alongside her best friends every day. In her free time, Roshonda enjoys spending time with friends, dancing, doing chores around her home, and watching BET.