According to The Clubhouse of Special Needs Founder Darlene Hollingsworth,
The Clubhouse for Special Needs [The Clubhouse] was founded 2006. Throughout the past six years, North Texas Giving Day through their on-line giving event has provided the opportunity for people across the globe to help The Clubhouse with their operating expenses as well their expansion program. These funds helped sponsor 4 young people as well as helping the purchase of the land for the future building.
The Clubhouse provides various programs such as After-school, Drop-off//Holiday Clubhouse, and Summer Clubhouse. Since The Clubhouse has a recreational atmosphere, there will ping pong, air hockey, foosball, badminton, table games, lounge area, a library, special events, electronics, basketball, computers, music, crafts, and more. Along with these items, the After School Clubhouse will provide assistance with homework and any tutoring as needed, life skills and job skills and community involvement/service.
Brief history: As a single parent with a special needs child, I founded The Clubhouse for Special Needs. My son, Jonathan, was born with Down syndrome. During those early years I was self-employed and worked out of my home – Typing On Wheels and didn’t need child care services. However, after 14 years, 9-11 hit and I lost my business. Needing to find a 40/hr week job was now necessary but having a special needs 15-year-old with Down Syndrome, I needed someone to watch my son after school. I could not leave him alone for the after school hours.
Childcare ends at age 12 for all children whether able-bodied or not. Working parents with a special needs teenager cannot leave their teen home alone or to roam the streets (which often is the case for the able-bodied). These parents have to either quit their job or hire someone to stay with their teen – one on one. Why “one on one?” Why not – “One on many?”
Until The Clubhouse, there hasn’t been an “after-school” program for the special needs community in Tarrant County, Texas. “The Clubhouse” was a brand new concept. It is geared to provide a safe and fun place for intellectually/physically challenged teenagers and young adults – a place for education, socialization and independence.
- Education: To provide an after-school program whereby the members may have assistance with their schoolwork as well as opportunity for tutoring and special workshops as needed.
- Socialization: To be a safe place to meet and create lasting friendships. Often the special needs individual is not given an opportunity for close friendship.
- Independence: To allow the individual to build self-esteem, a feeling of worth and a sense of contributing to his/her community.
Clubhouse future: The Clubhouse has recently acquired 2.852 acres of land and will be building a 21,000 s.f. facility with a full gymnasium. Building a Better Community! In order to complete this project The Clubhouse needs funding. Share and Give.My son said [in his limited speech], “Mom, I want friends.” Three weeks after The Clubhouse opened, he said [in perfect articulation], “Mom, I have lots of friends.” www.theclubhouse.org
* Graphic and photo provided by The Clubhouse For Special Needs
In 11 years, Communities Foundation of Texas’ North Texas Giving Day has pumped more than $290 million into the North Texas community. In 2019, more than $50 million was raised through more than 169,000 gifts benefiting over 2,988 area nonprofits.