STRONGER HOUSTON: 2 Houston non-profits merging to help people with disabilities

The Center for Pursuit is expanding its mission and its campus. The non-profit’s new space on the East End of Houston is providing new opportunities for people living with physical and developmental disabilities.

Sarah Winter is moving towards a new chapter in her life.

“I recently got employed with the Center for Pursuit as a receptionist at their wellness center,” Winter said.

She says her new path has had its physical and emotional challenges.

“So, I was diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome at the age of 14,” Winter said. “I basically had to retrain my brain and learn how to walk again.”

A genetic disorder causing loss of function in body parts and developmental delays.

“A year and a half ago, I was put in a KAFO and that stands for a knee, ankle, or foot orthotic,” she said. “It starts at my lower hip and goes all the way down to my ankle.”

At 28-years-old, this is her first full-time job.

“It felt very, very good,” she explained.

By working on the new campus—she’ll be helping others facing similar hardships.

“The clients are why we are here and they range in age from now youngsters all the way up through 80,” Charles Canton said.

Canton is the CEO of the Center for Pursuit. The non-profit serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“We have needs for residential, for young adults all the way through older adults and a need for training for jobs and to help people find a job and to actually provide services for the younger population as well,” Caton said. “Especially the autistic population.”

That’s where Wendy Dawson comes in—she’s the founder of Social Motion.

“We know through targeted early intervention, specifically focused on social skills that are based on evidence-based strategies that we can absolutely redirect the trajectory of these children’s lives,” Dawson said.

Now two organizations are becoming one.

“We can actually prove to parents what skills these children have. We can prove to the employment services division what these young individuals are able to do,” she said.

Giving adults living with disabilities a chance to follow in Winter’s footsteps.

“It gives me a sense of pride,” she said. “It gives me a sense of confidence, of self-worth.”

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