The Soaring Eagle Center began as a dream of one mother. Her daughter has an intellectual disability. As her daughter neared the end of high school, she realized that there were no day programs for her daughter to attend in southern Dallas county. With the help of other parents and special education teachers, the Soaring Eagle Center was incorporated as a nonprofit in 2003 and received tax exempt status as a 501(c)3 organization 2004.
The mission of the Soaring Eagle center from the beginning has been to provide life-long solutions for the social, educational, vocational, and residential needs of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Down syndrome, autism, mental retardation are lifelong conditions that require lifelong solutions. Every parent desires the same things for their children: meaningful work, caring friends, and a comfortable living situation. The Soaring Eagle Center’s passion is to work with families to provide these three things for their adult child.
The day program began in the fall of 2005 with three adults. An onsite thrift shop provided funding for the day program as well as a place for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to learn work skills and interact with the community. In addition to the day program, the Soaring Eagle center sponsored Special Olympics teams and regular social events.
Today the SEC Day Program has grown to twenty-seven adults and meets five days a week. The emphasis of the program is on continuing education which encourages growth and community for adults who have completed high school and live at home. We purchased a building in 2016 to accommodate our growing program. The Soaring Eagle Thrift Shop provides opportunities for our adults to develop prevocational skills and/or work for minimum wage.
The Soaring Eagle Center also sponsors sports opportunities and regular social events for any teen or adult with an intellectual and developmental disability who would like to participate.
At times, the Soaring Eagle Center has been incredibly smooth especially in the beginning. We saw God provide in amazing ways as we started the day program and thrift shop.
The greatest challenge we face is funding for our program. We do receive funds from the state but the amount does not begin to cover the cost of running a quality day program. To provide a program with a low staff-to-adult ratio and quality activities, we must fund raise.
Another significant challenge we face as an organization is the lack of awareness and concern for the needs of our population (adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities) among the general population. Adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities want to work and be self-sufficient but the majority cannot because of their disabilities. Parents often do not have the financial resources to provide for the needs of their adult child with an intellectual and developmental disability.
A third challenge we experience with our families is that Texas consistently ranks next to last in states providing services for this population according to the UCP annual survey. To meet the needs of adults with intellectual disabilities living in Texas, state services would have to increase by 300%.
While these challenges at times appear significant, they are overcome by the commitment of people like you who believe in the value and worth of every individual!
Would you join us in supporting the mission of the Soaring Eagle Center?