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Parenting & Family > Magical Forest

Magical Forest

My cousin works at a place here in Las Vegas called Opportunity Village. Here is how they describe their program:

"Opportunity Village is a not-for-profit organization that serves people in our community with intellectual disabilities, to enhance their lives and the lives of the families who love them. Opportunity Village is dedicated to helping people with severe intellectual and related disabilities become the very best they can be. Through vocational training, community employment, day services, advocacy, arts and social recreation, people with severe disabilities are able to find new friends, realize future career paths, seek independence and community integration and unleash creative passions."

She's employed in their workshop that does small piecework such as assembling packets of condiments for the coffee service at the Las Vegas casino hotels. Betsy's manual dexterity isn't the best, but they always find something she is good at, and she takes great pride in her daily output and every night when she calls me she tells me how many units she completed that day.

One of the biggest fund raisers for Opportunity Village is their annual Magical Forest around Christmas time. Out come the Christmas lights and there are a few carnival rides, including a train. It really is magical. The official opening this year is on Friday, but last night was a special VIP party for the clients - my cousin and the other 3000 folks helped by the various programs. It's also a time for the families to enjoy themselves and become acquainted with the programs available and socialize with other families.

I had trouble getting my photos to come out so nothing to show. Betsy was thrilled to have family come with her, and she introduced us to her friends and staff. I think her favorite part was getting her picture taken with Santa Claus.

Tomorrow she's coming over for dinner and bowling on the Wii, after she watches The Price is Right at her apartment.

Have a great holiday.

posted on Nov 23, 2011 8:39 PM ()


I am sorry there wasn't such a program available when Jay was failing and his old friends couldn't deal with that.
comment by tealstar on Dec 28, 2011 6:17 PM ()
Now that there are so more many elderly people, and extended families are non-existent or disinterested, more programs have come along. I just hope we end up with enough money to get us through our debilitated years.
reply by troutbend on Jan 6, 2012 4:43 PM ()
These are wonderful programs and Betsy is a lucky girl to have you and Gary
around to go with her and to function as well as she does.
comment by elderjane on Nov 26, 2011 1:22 AM ()
She hasn't been calling every night since I got here, and I'm not sure why not. It's kind of nice, but then I don't find out as much about what it going on with her. Guess I'll have to call her tonight.
reply by troutbend on Nov 26, 2011 12:27 PM ()
What a great service it provides. Is this not a great country ?
comment by solitaire on Nov 25, 2011 5:59 AM ()
Yes, sometimes it is a great country.
reply by troutbend on Nov 25, 2011 9:34 PM ()
We have a couple of similar programs here.
Happy Thanksgiving!
comment by greatmartin on Nov 24, 2011 9:31 AM ()
I hope there are a lot of them around the country. What a challenge to have a family member with special needs. We are lucky because my cousin is taken care of by social workers and has that job at Opportunity Village. Our role is just the social part, and that's about all we can handle.
reply by troutbend on Nov 25, 2011 9:36 PM ()
Sounds like a wonderful program. Enjoy your Thanksgiving.
comment by nittineedles on Nov 23, 2011 8:55 PM ()
I don't know how well other cities address the needs of their special citizens, but for all its sins, Las Vegas does an amazing job because of Opportunity Village.
reply by troutbend on Nov 24, 2011 8:58 AM ()

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