Donations needed to help Oak Ridge center for the disabled

Donations needed to help Oak Ridge center for the disabled

Posted:
The aging building no longer suits the needs of Emory Valley Center. The aging building no longer suits the needs of Emory Valley Center.
Two-year-old Ali was born addicted to drugs. Two-year-old Ali was born addicted to drugs.
"We've benefited from them coming right to our home, so that's been a huge blessing with our children," Julie Hobbs said. "Standing, rolling over, helping with every developmental stage of a baby's life." "We've benefited from them coming right to our home, so that's been a huge blessing with our children," Julie Hobbs said. "Standing, rolling over, helping with every developmental stage of a baby's life."
The center has helped thousands of mentally, physically, and emotionally disabled children and adults in its 57-year history. The center has helped thousands of mentally, physically, and emotionally disabled children and adults in its 57-year history.
"The community has really pitched in and that is really so wonderful to live in a community that will do this," Dr. Gene Caldwell said. "The community has really pitched in and that is really so wonderful to live in a community that will do this," Dr. Gene Caldwell said.

By LORI TUCKER
6 News Anchor

OAK RIDGE (WATE) - More donations are needed to help Emory Valley Center of Oak Ridge build a new facility.

The center has helped thousands of mentally, physically, and emotionally disabled children and adults in its 57-year history.

The Hobbs family of Knoxville is one busy bunch. There are five children in all.

The youngest boy, five-year-old Lincoln, has special needs.

Soon after he was born with a brain disorder, parents Matthew and Julie Hobbs got help from the services Emory Valley Center provides for developmentally delayed children and adults.

Then, when the Hobbs adopted little Ali, who was born exposed to drugs, they knew where to turn for help.

"We've benefited from them coming right to our home, so that's been a huge blessing with our children," Julie Hobbs said. "Standing, rolling over, helping with every developmental stage of a baby's life."

"We really support the families and what they want for their children to achieve," said Anna of Emory Valley Center.

Ali, who turns two in September, is on track with developmental milestones.

"We're just thankful she's a normal kid right now, seems like," Patrick Hobbs said.

Having an early interventionist come to their home for an hour a week was a big blessing.

But the Hobbs also came to Emory Valley Center for other progressive programs that just don't seem to match the aging building in which they are housed.

The center offers educational, vocational and rehab programs for disabled adults and  preschool children.

Walking down the halls, the signs of wear are evident.

Emory Valley supporters and staff learned a few years ago that Anderson County, which owns the building, could no longer afford maintenance and would tear it down.

County commission offered $160,000 to the center for a vacant lot next door as a site for a new state-of-the-art facility.

But who would pay for that? The state pays for operating costs, which doesn't include structures.

Thanks to several grants, corporate donations and help from the community, a capital fundraising campaign has raised almost 75% of the $3.3 million goal.

Community leader Dottie Thompson, whose disabled adult daughter receives services there, and retired physician and former state legislator Dr. Gene Caldwell are leading the effort.

"This is a great place and a great place for programs and supports and services for over 800 people," Thompson said.

"The community has really pitched in and that is really so wonderful to live in a community that will do this," Caldwell said.

The dream is inching closer to reality and plans are in the works.

"In the new building, we're gonna have an industrial-sized kitchen that we're gonna be able to serve a lot of meals out of," said one worker.

Now, the goal is to close the remaining gap in the fundraising campaign, so that Emory Valley Center can continue to be a real lifeline for disabled adults with nowhere else to go and for families like the Hobbs who have benefited from the home and community services it provides.

"This is really a great thing for Tennessee, for families, and for these children," Julie Hobbs said.

Six thousand people are currently on the waiting list in Tennessee for places like Emory Valley Center.

While it is based in Oak Ridge, it also serves the surrounding community.

If you or your place of business would like to help the center reach its fundraising goal, visit their website.

Supporters hope the building will be complete by December 2014.

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