Hill presented the latest news about the construction of the new Empower Me Center on South Hartmann Drive, which is planned to include more than 37,000 square feet.
Empower Me started 18 years ago as a summer-focused camp serving children and young adults with special needs and their families, but future plans include year-long activities and events, as well as resident cottages for young adults and indoor and outdoor recreation areas specifically designed for young people with disabilities.
According to Hill, the nonprofit organization has served more than 10,000 children in the past, and there are participants from three states and Tennessee counties.
“We are always seeking ways to encourage gardening in our local community,” said Adams, “no matter whether it is the residential home garden, commercial areas, school campuses or a facility such as Empower Me Center, which will bring people into gardening and learning about plants and the environment who otherwise might not have that opportunity.”
Hill said the goal of the Empower Me Center is to first, help the children whose special medical and behavioral needs prevent them from access to other facilities and to have year-round activities.
“We want to meet … each child’s physical, mental and emotional needs,” she said, as she described several of the children and young adults who have continued to return to Empower Me each year.
Some of the disabilities that prevent the young people from attending other day camps or enjoying sports and other activities are cancer, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, post traumatic stress disorder from physical or emotional abuse, microcephaly, schizophrenia and many others.
Empower Me employs occupational and physical therapists, speech language pathologists, special education teachers, social workers, nurses and college students preparing for a career in these fields, so that each young attendee has personal attention and is encouraged to be as independent as possible.
For more information on Empower Me and its future or to volunteer, visit empowermecenter.com, call 615-453-0005 or email [email protected]
The Year-Round Garden Club is a nonprofit organization, and its goals are education and increased public awareness of the benefits of gardening and protection of the environment, as well as the botanical arts. It is a member of the National Federation of Garden Clubs.