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Tulsa Organization Goes Digital to Serve Special Needs Students

Posted at 1:32 PM, Apr 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-03 20:43:19-04

TULSA, Okla. — The Pathways building may be closed but educators are still finding a way to connect with their students.

The nonprofit was founded in 2009 with a mission to provide quality Christian-based continued learning and enriching experiences for adults with intellectual disabilities.

Lori Williamson designs the curriculum and classes as the Program Manager for Pathways.

“The students we get to serve are just so amazing," Williamson said. "Just because they have a label put on them doesn't make them any less wonderful or any less deserving of a meaningful life."

Pathways works with over 60 special needs adults. While in the program students can compete in the Special Olympics, participate in the Night to Shine, enjoy daily worship and Bible Study, attend cooking classes, and interact with the public through numerous volunteering opportunities.

“After high school, people don’t think about what happens to adults with intellectual disabilities," Williamson said. "Which is why Pathways is so important because it continues community."

Once gatherings of over ten people were prohibited to slow down the spread of COVID-19, staff at Pathways immediately began brain storming ways to keep the sense of community alive with their students.

"We just want to give them the same opportunities that everyone else has," Williamson said.

The change happened in just days.

"The staff of Pathways just decided that we've got to find a way to continue this community for these individuals because they need it they thrive on human interaction just like we all do," Williamson said. "We made the decision on Thursday and Friday, and we had classes going virtually by Tuesday."

Due to the newness of the Pathway virtual classrooms, they are not charging any families for services the entire month of April.

To support their efforts, all of the donations made to Pathways up until April 12 will be doubled up to $50,000 by a donor who wishes to remain anonymous.

To donate to Pathways, click here.

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