“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”  – Audrey Hepburn

When Special Abilities of North Texas moved from our location on Archer Avenue to our new campus on Justin Road, we tripled our square footage, gained numerous classrooms to utilize, and were able to better serve all our Adults Creating Excellence (ACEs). The only thing missing was an outdoor space.

Being able to spend time outside in a safe environment is something that many people take for granted, and frankly, we did too. Just weeks into being in our new building we knew that we needed to find a way to get an outdoor space again. Over the past six months, everything started to come together, and our dream became a reality. On Wednesday, April 18th, we had the pleasure of having an official ribbon cutting ceremony for the Dan and Mary Nelson Greenhouse in our new safe and accessible outdoor area.

Dan Nelson’s company, TBRC Roofing, came to our aid after a hail storm left our Lewisville Campus with roof damage and dozens of leaks. Dan got to know our staff, and most importantly, our ACEs, throughout the time that his company worked on our roof. At the ribbon cutting ceremony, Special Abilities of North Texas’ CEO JaChel Redmond asked Dan to say a few words about why he chose to help. Dan said, “The first time I walked in there, it just made me appreciate everything we have in life… It was a blessing to walk in there and see everybody and have the ability to help.” After learning the needs and goals of the organization, Dan and Mary Nelson made a very generous donation that allowed Special Abilities of North Texas to purchase a greenhouse.

The Dan and Mary Nelson Greenhouse will be used in a variety of ways that will help our ACEs. We now have the ability to grow herbs, vegetables, and flowers year-round. With staff assistance, ACEs will be responsible for following the care guidelines, watering, transplanting, and harvesting. Fruits, vegetables, and herbs can be used in cooking skills classes, sold as fundraisers for Special Abilities, and donated to other deserving nonprofits. Through growing plants in the greenhouse, ACEs of all ability levels will be able to practice and learn new skills that will transfer to other aspects of their lives, including fine and gross motor skills, money management, going shopping in the community, teamwork, responsibility, and vocational skills.

The Dan and Mary Nelson Greenhouse is accompanied by two seating areas with picnic tables, and a concrete walkway connecting them all. There is a ramp that allows our ACEs that use wheelchairs to be able to easily access the outdoor area. The Nelson Brothers Ready-Mix, led Randy and Ronda Owens, donated and laid the concrete for our walkways, ramp, and pads for the greenhouse and seating areas. Premier Pools, owned by Sean and Teri Dodd, built the beautiful fence that encloses the entire space. The fence allows our staff and ACEs to be safe and secure while outside. Special Abilities of North Texas would also like to thank CoServ Electric for their donation that allowed us to complete this project. Thanks to their generosity, we were able to run water and electricity to the greenhouse and will landscape the area.

We are so grateful for all of the support from our community, and we are excited about our future.