Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Donations help agency assist mentally ill

By Natalia Mielczarek • THE TENNESSEAN • December 16, 2008 Season to Give: Part of a continuing series It's not unusual for Barbara Adams to hear her brother laugh and giggle. Until five years ago, it happened rarely, she said. That's because until then, her brother — who's mentally disabled and nonverbal — lived in a large facility for mentally ill where he was mistreated, Adams said. Since William Lucas, 55, moved to a group home run by a nonprofit called Waves Inc., his quality of life has improved drastically, Adams said. She visits Lucas in his Fairview apartment at least twice a week. "He'll give you hugs," Adams said. "He's more outgoing, so we can notice changes. Before he wouldn't do anything with you. He was withdrawn. His caretakers treat him like he's a king. It makes me feel great." Waves Inc., with locations in Fairview and Franklin, offers a wide range of services to people and children with developmental disabilities: from housing with constant supervision and assistance to day activities for adults and an early childhood intervention program. It also links clients with employers and helps them find volunteering opportunities. Waves Inc. is largely funded by the state, said Beth Duning, the agency's director of adult services. "The funding generally isn't enough, so we rely on volunteers and donations," she said. "Without them, the quality of our services would clearly drop. Their quality of life would change." Contact Natalia Mielczarek at 615-259-8079 or nmielczarek@tennessean.com.

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