By: Duane Blankenship | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: April 2009
Executive Director Kim Falcon says that several wonderful programs are going on at A New Leaf.
A New Leaf’s mission is to provide developmentally disabled children and adults with life skills and job training through horticultural therapy, vocational placement and residential services, thus increasing their independence. A New Leaf recognizes the worth and dignity of each individual in its family.
The Oklahoma Association of Persons in Supported Employment (OKAPSE) recently announced that A New Leaf has been named the Vocational Provider of 2009. Linda Laubaugh, A New Leaf’s director of client services, has been named the Professional of the Year. “We are excited about this award, as it comes in the same year we celebrate 30 years of helping families with special needs children,” said Executive Director Kim Falcon.
Falcon exudes excitement when asked about the organization’s accomplishments and program introductions over the past few years. She is equally enthusiastic about new programs on the horizon for 2009 and beyond.
Club 36 derives its name from the service it provides to the family at A New Leaf and to members’ parents, who will still be parenting when their children are 40 and 50 years old. Many of these parents need to be at work by 7 a.m., but school doesn’t start until 7:45. Or maybe they work until 5 p.m., but their children finish school or their jobs at 3 p.m. Where do they go during these times? Who takes care of them? Not everyone has a grandparent who is able to help out.
The family at A New Leaf looks forward to the arrival of spring and GardenFest 2009. (L to R): Lynn Reed, Jeff Neel, Brittany Butler and Tammy Greenwood.
“Parents of special needs children have told us they would like to see a program that provides a safe and educational place during the hours before and after work or school,” said Falcon. “Club 36 will take these children in each morning before parents have to be at work, Monday through Friday, and will keep them after work or school until 6 p.m.”
Club 36 is well organized and offers interactive, supervised activities. After the morning session, participants go to their worksites or to school. After work or school, they come back to A New Leaf for more engaging activities and entertainment. Club members even learn a secret handshake. “Club 36 is an exciting new program that is meeting a huge need in the Broken Arrow area,” said Falcon. Parents may bring their children any single day of the week, or every day of the week. Club 36 is supported by state funds and private donations.
Falcon is also pleased with the organization’s For Life Skills programs, which have been operating for about three years. These programs provide students with daily life skills classes that teach self-satisfaction, and they empower developmentally disabled children and adults to be as independent as individually possible.
Everyone at A New Leaf is getting excited about GardenFest 2009, commemorating the arrival of spring. This celebration is open to vendors and the public. GardenFest is in its eighth year, and is an opportunity to shed your winter gloves and reveal your green thumb as you plan and plant your garden. The event will be held rain or shine and will feature perennials, annuals, tomatoes, herbs and houseplants under a big tent as well as inside the green house. Also available will be a great selection of pots, potting soils, gardening ideas, mulch, fertilizers and more. In short, this is a one-stop shop to get ready for spring plantings. GardenFest takes place Saturday, April 4 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at A New Leaf, located at 2306 S. 1st Pl. in Broken Arrow.
Please visit their website, www.anewleaf.org, for more information about this wonderful non-profit organization and its programs, events and opportunities, and if inclined, how you may make a donation to support its services.
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.