More than 65 years ago, families looking for quality education for their children with cerebral palsy started Redwood. Today, Redwood does much more—from preschool to therapy to vocational training—for people with a variety of disabilities.

“We kind of do children’s services, therapeutic services, adult services and then our nursing care is integrated throughout,” says Carol Serrone, director of philanthropy for Redwood.

While Redwood no longer offers school (the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act requires public schools to provide education for those with disabilities), it does offer preschool for those with and without disabilities.

“Our classrooms are integrated with typically developing children as well as children with either special needs or developmentally challenged,” says Serrone. Therapy is provided on site, so those who need speech, occupational or physical therapy can receive that throughout the day without having to go someplace else.

Serrone sees integrating children of different abilities as one of the biggest benefits of the program. “They grow up together. Some of the parents might have a hard time getting a child with cerebral palsy to learn to eat but they’re all eating together, so they pick up different things because their peers are doing them, so they kind of move a little faster along,” she says.

Beth Moore, who manages events for Redwood, had her son attend the preschool and saw many benefits for him. “My son came here for preschool and he was a typically developed child, and then when he went to kindergarten there was a child in a wheelchair and it didn’t scare him like it might have upset another kid who wasn’t comfortable with it. He just started playing. It’s good for the child with disabilities and the child without,” she says.

Once the children start school, Redwood offers services only for those with disabilities. The nonprofit provides afterschool programming for students in Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties as well as therapy.

For those 16 and older, Redwood goes into schools to assist with vocational rehabilitation. The nonprofit helps clients find what they’re good at and helps them identify jobs that match well with their skills. Clients have found positions at locations like Kroger, McDonald’s, DHL and the mailroom of a local law firm. For those who aren’t able to work independently in the community, Redwood brings in work from companies like Medpace, which has clients help with putting together materials for clinical trials.

Redwood is also finding new ways to offer its clients work. Its Goods @ the Woods store allows clients to sell snacks to employees and other clients. The design center has clients create T-shirts, business cards, banners, wedding invitations and more for companies and people in the community. They’re involved in every step of the process, learning how to design and print.

In addition to these services, Redwood is also home to the Assistive Technology Resource Center, one of only five in the state.

“It’s kind of like the lending library of gadgets and activities,” says Serrone. “Anyone can come in and find out what’s best for their situation.”

People can try out a variety of tools and toys, from walkers to phones. According to Serrone, this enables people to find what works best for them before they make what can be a very expensive purchase.

The Center is just one more way Redwood is working to assist the community.

“I always like to say Redwood is a story of parents’ love and community support and engagement,” Serrone says. 

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