November 11, 2010
Almost ten years ago, when I first saw Rainbow Acres’ rural campus (the Ranch) where adults with developmental disabilities live, work, and socialize, I was struck by two things: the beauty of the rural setting, and the way the staff, residents, and volunteers there interact as equal members of a community. I soon learned that the residents are known as “the Ranchers”, to show that they are contributing members of their rural community and NOT clients in some impersonal institution. I was impressed that the Ranchers were all so engaged, confident…and busy! But, they’re never too busy for a greeting, a chat, a high-five, or maybe a hug.
The Ranch has changed hugely since my first visit, sometimes it seems almost miraculously. The transformation of the Ranch has really been due to the hard work and planning of staff, and many generous donations of Rainbow’s supporters over the past decade. Thanks to a long-term building campaign, the Ranchers now live in gorgeous group houses with lofty common living areas and private bedrooms. They no longer have lunch in the small and very utilitarian cafeteria where I first ate with them, now they have a beautiful new Community Center with a central kitchen and room for activities, performances, and programs.
The buildings are not the only changes over the past several years. They’ve added a computerized medical management system that helps staff keep all the Ranches safe and healthy; they have several horses that the Ranchers take care of; and they’ve added new music therapy and developmental therapy programs.
Whenever I visit the Ranch there’s always so much going on, like people working in the gardens and craft shops, choir practice, or just playing a pick-up game of b-ball!
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
The Ranchers bring the results of this organization out into the community in all they do and their attitudes. Whether travelling to participate in Special Olympics or to perform beautiful music with the Choir, the members of this community make an impression wherever they go. They’re known for their sportsmanship, accomplishments, and open, friendly manners. All of us in the local community, and all the friends of Rainbow, are inspired by the way this organization helps people overcome their challenges.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
The only thing I would change about Rainbow is to expand it! There are so many people out there with special needs who could be living a more fulfilled life. I understand that Rainbow is working on expanding to accommodate more Ranchers in the near future. I’d like to see this organization’s model of service become an example that is followed by more and more communities of this type all over the nation.
How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?
How much of an impact do you think this organization has?
Will you recommend this organization to others?
What is unique about this organization?
They believe that people with developmental disabilities have the ability and right to learn, grow, and achieve throughout their lives, just as any of us do, with the right support.
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
Professional with expertise in this field & I have helped raise funds for this great organization for several years.