My Aunt was brain damaged as a toddler when she nearly drowned. She came to Rainbow Acres as an older adult and absolutel loved being there. She participated in many activities and was alway so proud of what she accomplished. The staff takes a personal interest in each camper and encourages them to be all they can be and do. She was so happy there and remained until her health required constant care. It meant a great deal to our family to know the quality of life she was able to have at Rainbow Acres!
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!