The Kelleys know how important structure is to their son Michael’s life. But because of A New Leaf, a United Way Partner agency, they also get to see Michael finding his place in a community as well.
At A New Leaf Michael has found a sense of self-worth and gets the structure he needs. “He has his daily schedule like we all do,” says Michael’s father, Chuck Kelley.
A New Leaf supports children and adults with developmental disabilities through residential respite for families and caretakers, living skills classes, vocational training and placement. Michael works in the greenhouse with the plants and finds much satisfaction in his work. He even helped his mother, Debbie Kelley, plant an herb garden at home.
As a senior vice president at ONEOK, Chuck appreciates the lessons Michael is learning by having a job with A New Leaf. “He understands that because he works hard he has money to spend.”
“He’s excited to be at A New Leaf – it’s his family away from family,” says Debbie, because job and gardening skills are not all Michael has learned at A New Leaf. He’s also gained interpersonal skills and true friends. “He has incredible interaction with others who know him and understand him,” says Chuck.
Just like the plants Michael cares for, he’s been nurtured by the staff and volunteers at A New Leaf. His parents find joy in the fact that “he’s got a place that makes sense for him – he’s found a home.”