Marbridge Enters 60th Year of Caring for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities

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"You Don't Know Until You Go" invitation seeks to acquaint more people with the community's true longstanding mission

residents in front of their cottage

More than 240 men and women live in the Marbridge community.

JAM Sessions (meaning Just About Marbridge) provide a one-hour overview of the community's mission and occur on the second Thursday of each month.

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The Marbridge Community will mark its 60th year of existence in 2013 with a variety of on-campus events that will commemorate several decades of its history. For 2013, the community has adopted a “You Don’t Know Until You Go” invitation to families with special needs loved ones, as well as interested organizations and business leaders to visit the campus in southwest Austin.

To make visits quick and convenient, Marbridge hosts a one-hour information session and tour on the second Thursday of each month. Called JAM Sessions, meaning “Just About Marbridge,” the presentation provides a short history and an overview of the organization’s mission as well as information about life at Marbridge told by residents, volunteers, board members and staff. To reserve a spot at an upcoming JAM Session, contact Suzanne Johnson at 512-282-1144, or visit http://www.marbridge.org and register via email.

Other planned events for 2013 include a 1950s sockhop, a groovy 1960s outdoor block party and a World of Opportunities Expo that will showcase resources available for families with loved ones that have special needs.

“Until they visit Marbridge, most people have no idea what a dynamic community we are,” said James Stacey, president. “In 2013, we will devote part of our year to celebrating the memories of the past and by honoring our founders, Ed and Marge Bridges.”

The Bridges founded Marbridge on June 1, 1953 to provide an alternative to institutional care for their only child, Jim, who had intellectual disabilities. The original ranch house that provided a home for Jim and six other young men with cognitive challenges still stands in the center of the 200-acre campus today. However, Marbridge has grown far beyond its modest beginnings and now includes three care centers that serve more than 240 adults with a wide range of intellectual and physical disabilities. Nearly 200 people work for Marbridge, making it one of the largest employers in the southwest Austin area.

“Helping adults with intellectual disabilities reach their highest potential is our true mission,” said Stacey. “This is what we want people to come and see. There are plenty of opportunities to learn about our residents and how they are leading lives full of promise and purpose. But until you go, you won’t know. We are inviting people who are interested in the well being of adults with cognitive challenges to come to Marbridge and see how we focus on abilities, not disabilities. In the process, we hope to change attitudes about adults with intellectual disabilities.”

In addition to residential care centers, the campus includes classroom buildings that house Marbridge’s dynamic training program, which integrates education, employment, socialization, recreation and independent living skills. Marbridge also provides life enrichment programs such as art therapy, horticulture therapy and equine therapy.

Additionally Marbridge provides skilled nursing care through its Villa Skilled Nursing Center and The Bridges Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, both of which provide nursing care to the general public, in addition to Marbridge residents.

“We are an excellent nursing care resource for people in the southwest Austin, Manchaca, Buda and Kyle area,” said Stacey. The Bridges includes a 1,200-square-foot rehabilitation center to assist patients recovering from hospital stays involving stroke, heart attack and surgery. With an 8-bed capacity, it provides an upscale, homelike environment in a pastoral setting.

“People who have lived in the Austin area for many years may still think of Marbridge as a retail garden center, which we operated for many decades,” said Stacey, “and many were likely unaware even then of our true mission.”

Today, the space previously occupied by the garden center, which ceased operations in 2006, is utilized for classrooms that provide more than 150 training opportunities to residents each week.

To sign up for notices of 2013 special events on campus, email info (at) marbridge (dot) org or call the main number. You may also learn more about Marbridge on Facebook.
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Marbridge is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing a caring home and training opportunities for adults with intellectual disabilities to enable them to learn, experience and achieve a whole new life. It is located in Manchaca, Texas, a suburb of Austin.

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Michelle Levy
Marbridge
512-282-1144 1006
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Cathy Cabrera

512-922-3339
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