Eric Gomez, Rotary Club of Lake Houston Area 2022-2023 President, welcomes two guest speakers from the Village Learning Centers. They are director of development, Jessica Morales, and Nicole Wedin, director of vocation programming.  They shared what the non-profit Village Centers is doing to help individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD) in the northeast Houston area.
Do you know anyone who has an intellectual or developmental disability (I/DD)?
The Village Learning Centers mission is to help individuals needing support to reach their maximum potential and level of independence. They provide help without excluding anyone due to a lack of funding.
Village Learning Centers director of development, Jessica Morales, and Nicole Wedin, director of vocation programming, recently spoke to the Rotary Club of Lake Houston Area to provide insight into their non-profit program.
They seek to build positive changes in the lives of people with I/DD and their families in the Lake Houston area community.
Ms. Morales explained the Village was founded as a non-profit in 2000 by two mothers of children with I/DD to develop programs and services for individuals with I/DD. They felt the need because of the lack of programs available in northeast Houston area.
She went on to say The Village typically serves individuals diagnosed with autism, blindness, cerebral palsy, deafness, Down syndrome, emotional disturbance, and seizure disorders who had these conditions at birth or during childhood and it had resulted in three or more life activity areas.
 Unfortunately, the state of Texas ranks next to last (49th) in the nation for providing support to persons with I/DD. Even worse, the waiting list for services can be 17-20 years long.
This lack of state support results in serious challenges for parents seeking affordable, specialized help for their child.
Ms. Wedin said the Village tries to help fill that gap by providing various specialized services to I/DD children. They include: Day Program Center; Residential Facilities for Assisted or Independent Living; Vocational Programing; Home and Community Based Services; Transportation; After School and Respite services.
The vocational program provides I/DD individuals with opportunities to gain job skills training and enter the workforce. She pointed out the Village partners with Houston area employers including ACE Hardware, Reliant Vending, Kohl’s, and Walgreens to provide opportunities for clients (who staff calls “Villagers”) of all capabilities to reach their full potential.
This includes providing one-on-one support to maintain employment and Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) vocational rehabilitation job training.  
The Day Program is located in Kingwood in two of the seven buildings housing the Village’s programs. Each building is set up to meet specific needs. The Day Program operates from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays with direct care and nursing oversight, educational support, social and recreational activities, community outings, and transportation is available.
Village Learning Centers operations are funded with a small state per diem, private pay and donations along with the help of volunteers.
You can help the Village by volunteering, donating items for its thrift store, attending their special events, or becoming a one-time or regular financial donor.
For more information about The Village Learning Centers visit their website at:  
Rotary Club of Lake Houston Area members and guests meet at 11:45 a.m. Wednesdays for their weekly lunch meeting at the Lake Houston Family YMCA, 2420 West Lake Houston Pkwy. in Kingwood.

The Summer Creek Satellite Club meets the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month at 8:30 a.m., at Generation Park 3rd floor Nimble Office Suite, 250 Assay St., Houston.
For more information about Rotary or membership, visit or search for our Facebook page @LakeHoustonAreaRotary.