Glenwood offers services that follow clients through time and adapt to their needs. That’s why their tagline “A Continuum of Care” fits well for this local nonprofit.
Programs at Glenwood, which involve everything from daily living skills training to full-time residential care, assist individuals with autism and other mental health issues. To help educators and staff carry out Glenwood’s mission, United Way of Central Alabama (UWCA) recently provided the organization with a wide variety of art supplies.
Art can relieve stress and anxiety, develop motor skills and encourage a sense of self. Linda Baker, Chief Development Officer at Glenwood, said art is essential to their clients — from two-year-olds to adults. Practicing art became a high priority at Glenwood since the COVID-19 pandemic put clients’ physical and mental health at a higher risk. Glenwood even hired an Arts Center Director who created art-on-the-go projects for clients.
“These art supplies came at a great time when we had to restrict visitation to many programs again,” said Linda. “Art supplies are consumable, so the donations are a huge help. We are very thankful for our relationship with United Way and delighted that the staff donated items to make an impact with those we serve during these trying times.”
That said, art is just one of the numerous Glenwood programs that encourage individuals to thrive. When a doctor diagnoses someone with autism, that person can receive services from Glenwood from an early age, creating a firm foundation for future success.
In 2020, Glenwood served more than 7,000 individuals, including 147 school systems and agencies. Through the COVID-19 pandemic, staff shifted how they host programs for some of these individuals. They held outdoor parades, virtual dance parties for those in residential care and online therapy sessions.
“Our Children’s Center using intensive Applied Behavior Analysis is changing the trajectory of a child’s life, and we hope they won’t need such intensive care as adults who didn’t have those services available,” said Linda. “Our adults with autism are involved in the community. They take pride in having jobs and earning money.”
Glenwood provides a platform for individuals with autism to live up to their fullest potential through an array of comprehensive services. But Linda explained that clients are not the only ones who benefit from Glenwood’s programs. Community members who donate supplies, funds or time gain something valuable out of the exchange.
“I’ve often thought of it as a circle of hope,” said Linda. “There are individuals who have special needs because of autism or other mental health concerns. There are professionals with special skills or expertise who can make a difference. There is a caring community of donors who can provide resources such as money or in-kind gifts. I think donors have needs to help as well, so that’s why it’s a circle. We all help each other. When you help others, you can’t help but feel better, too.”