By: Duane Blankenship | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: December 2008
One of the work crews at A New Leaf take a break from filling pots with soil. (Front row, L to R) Carla Helms, Jeff Neel, Lynn Reed and ANL Executive Director Kim Falcon. (Back row, L to R) Chris Anne Coleman, Nick Schettler, Megan Eisenhauer, Bryan Miller, Joey Givardidze and Steven Schott.
Currently 24,000 people with developmental disabilities are living in the greater Tulsa area. A New Leaf, Inc. (ANL) is all about helping these individuals find meaningful and safe vocational experiences and providing staff support in their homes.
Founded in 1979, A New Leaf provides programming in a greenhouse environment, serving as a vocational training center for adults with developmental disabilities. ANL is a 501(c)(3) non-profit facility funded by a state contract with Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Services Division, sales to the public, Tulsa Area United Way and private contributions.
In May of 2009, A New Leaf will celebrate its 30-year anniversary with a spring garden party. Check www.anewleaf.org for upcoming details.
ANL believes that every person is unique and worthy and deserves to be treated with dignity. The organization provides life skills to individuals using horticultural therapy.
Megan Eisenhauer and Bryan Miller amidst the 2008 crop of beautiful poinsettias available at A New Leaf in Broken Arrow.
Based in Broken Arrow, A New Leaf has a total of six greenhouses. They provide job training, placement and supervision on community-based jobs for employers located throughout the metropolitan area. ANL provides a place for adults with developmental disabilities to learn work skills, have a safe work environment, develop their own peer group, and be a productive member of the working society. ANL assists in developing independence and decision-making skills.
A residential respite program was launched by ANL in 2002 to help meet the needs of local parents with developmentally disabled children. According to Kim Falcon, executive director of A New Leaf, “By working with parents, we are able to help find a staff member that the parent is comfortable with to come into their home and assist with the care and supervision of their child or adult child. This program reaches out to help parents from Tulsa to Henryetta to Muskogee.”
Kim also shared her excitement about the recently implemented Planting SEEDS For Life program. “SEEDS is an acronym for Self-worth, Employment, Education, Direction and Support,” she said.
Try putting yourself in the shoes of a parent with a child who has a developmental disability. Your child cannot be left alone, will never learn to drive, will have to be taken everywhere they need to go, and does not have skills to look for or keep a job. Think of the limitations placed upon you as a parent. Can you have a job? Can you work at home? The list goes on. Every day, A New Leaf helps dozens of families maintain a balanced, normalized lifestyle.
On the third Thursday of every month from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m., A New Leaf provides an opportunity for the public to see what goes on behind the scenes at ANL and how parents are assisted. You are invited to a free luncheon, where you can hear success stories and meet the people behind the stories. You will not be asked for money; it is not a fundraising event, but rather a chance to learn about this critically important program that is ongoing in Broken Arrow and surrounding communities. “There is absolutely no pressure,” assures Kim. “It is simply an opportunity to learn.” Please RSVP for the next luncheon by calling (918) 451-1491.
Nothing shares the warmth and joy of the holiday season more richly than the deep colors of live poinsettia plants. Each year ANL sells poinsettias to businesses, churches and individuals. From the traditional to the unusual, this year’s plants are available in a variety of colors and sizes. You may call or stop by ANL. Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Check the website for pictures and an availability list for the 2008 crop.
A New Leaf: They’ve helped people and plants grow since 1979.
Blankenship graduated from the University of Oklahoma and has enjoyed a lifetime career in advertising. He started his own advertising business in 1993 and enjoys creating graphic art and writing. Hobbies include hunting, fishing and pencil drawings. Duane and his wife, Janice, have been married over 50 years and are active in their church and community. He has been a contributing writer for Value News/Values Magazine since 2005.