BROOKSHIRE, Texas – “I work in horticulture, which is the poinsettias and all the other flowers, and then I do some casting, which paints all the comfort bowls, and Santa Claus’, and I am in the cafe on Thursdays, today,” Michelle Wilde said.
Wilde is 33, has an intellectual disability and has a job. In fact, she has three jobs and it’s all thanks to Brookwood Community.
“I have to put, like, the menu items or the menus on the tables and then I walk the customers to their table and I say the specials of the day and I just love my job,” Wilde said. “Just love it. I’m so excited about this job.”
“That was the idea in the beginning, to give them purpose, not just to sit around doing nothing,” Yvonne Streit said.
Streit founded Brookwood in her backyard 36 years ago. Since that time, it has touched likely more than 100,000 lives and gives purpose to hundreds on a daily basis.
“We’re broad spectrum in abilities and disabilities and in financial ability and not financial ability. So we give over $1 million in scholarships every year. That’s pretty big for our community size,” Streit said.
It's also part of the reason why the Brookwood Community Christmas open house is such a big deal. More than one-third of the community's operating budget comes from the crafts they sell, the crafts their citizens make.
“We don’t take government money. We’re dependent upon our enterprises, and our citizens are dependent upon our enterprises,” Streit said.
So, if you find yourself with some time over the next two days, perhaps a trip to Brookwood is the way to fill it. Wilde will be here, ready to help you out.
“I’m, like, super excited about tomorrow because I’m working here tomorrow in horticulture all day,” Wilde said.
“It’s truly an uplifting experience. So that’s what we want to give away your jump start to Christmas and the reason for the season,” Streit said.
“It is a special place. I mean, it means the world to me,” Wilde said.
Brookwood is located at 1752 Farm to Market 1489 in Brookshire.
For more information on the community as a whole and its Christmas open house, check out this link: http://www.brookwoodcommunity.org/blog/event/christmas-open-house-3/