By Hannah Caver, Staff Writer
TRUSSVILLE — Trussville’s Independence Place plans to perform Beauty and the Beast at Northpark Baptist Church on Thursday, November 18, at 1 p.m.
The performance is free to attend, no reservations are required, and anyone can attend.
Independence Place is a faith-based non-profit organization developed to meet the social and recreational needs of adult individuals with exceptional needs in a way that allows them to experience a life full of purpose and celebration. We serve individuals in Trussville and surrounding areas by providing programs to enhance their quality of life.
Hewitt-Trussville High School Exceptional Needs teacher, Carrie Jones, founded Independence place nine years ago. She saw many of her students leave the school system and lose their connection with the communities, and she wanted those with exceptional needs to have a place after high school.
Program Director of Independence Place, Debbie Little, said she is proud of all the participants in the play because they have taken responsibility for their roles and have done an excellent job preparing for the play.
“They are responsible for learning their line, and they have definitely done that,” Little said. “They have taken their lines home with them, and when they have free time, they’ll go directly to where they keep their materials and start working on them without anyone asking. So they definitely have taken responsibility in it, and they have so great enthusiasm.”
Little explained that the attendees of Independence Place learn to do everything with all their hearts and give all the glory to God. Independence Place wants to help others the way they are supported, and so they participate in service projects for other organizations.
“Carrie Jones worked really hard to make sure that this program is faith-based, so what I can teach is how to do day-to-day living based on God’s word,” Little said. “Also, we work really hard to make sure that we’re also giving back by doing service projects for a variety of other ministries.”
Through the use of sports, games, music/dance activities, arts-and-crafts, horticulture, and community outings, we help our participants achieve a higher level of confidence through their involvement and success in community life. Daily activities are fun, but the ultimate goal of any sport, craft, activity, or community outing is to increase the participant’s social and cognitive skills, enabling them to attain their greatest level of independence within their families, assisted living setting, employment setting, and community/civic involvement.
When these young adults were in high school, they were surrounded by friends and interacted socially on a daily basis. However, it is often more challenging to navigate socially and make meaningful connections when they leave the school system. Many have a difficult time connecting with friends, activities are often unstructured and unplanned; therefore, it is difficult for them to remain socially active or to be involved in their community in a meaningful way.
In the fall of 2012, First Baptist Church partnered with Independence Place and gave them the use of several rooms and facility amenities.
The activities participants of the Independence Place are engaged in are fun and entertaining, but the ultimate goal of any sport, craft, or community outing is to maintain and enhance social skills and cognitive skills, enabling the participants to enjoy life with the greatest level of independence possible.